Flight Booking warning

Aug 10th, 2005, 10:32 AM
  #1  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 3
Flight Booking warning

This is a warning about two travel organisations in the UK.
I researched cheap flights to Turkey in April and thought I had come with the ideal bargain - £508 including meals and taxes for 2 return tickets from London to Dalaman. Although I used www.skydeals.co.uk the ticket was being offered by a company called GOLDTRAIL LTD. I booked the ticked in April and the flight was for July 25th 2005. I paid in full online.

On the Wednesday before the Monday flight - I was called by Skydeal and told that the flight hda been cancelled by the plane operator - Monach - and would I take an alternative 14 hours later - I refused since I was only going for a week and losing an entire day seemed unreasonable. I asked for time to consider my options. I phoned Monarch who told me that there never was a flight at the time I had been quoted and that they had not in fact cancelled any flight !

On calling Skydeals back and confronting them with this information they denied any knowledge - but came up with an 'alternative' flight that was at exactly the same time and would cost £110 more.

Given that there were only a few days to go to the flight I was forced to pay the £110 more.

Well done Skydeals and Goldtrail Ltd - I invite you to draw your own conclusions..
russab is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 10:55 AM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 33,514
I don't have much opinion on this as I'm not familiar with the companies, but wonder if they are small consolidators, perhaps? I think anytime you book with companies like that, you run risks that the flight may have changes or be cancelled compared to what you booked.

First, that sounds like a small airline to begin with, and they change a lot. Second, it is difficult for any agency to keep up with constant changes in flight schedules of airlines. Third, personnel in all companies, including airlines, don't always tell you accurate information (meaning the person who claimed they never had such a flight could well have been wrong, also). They could have mixed up the schedule with the other airline you were offered, though, that's possible.

Airlines don't usually keep schedules anymore from when they are announced three months ahead of time, not even major ones. Even large travel online agencies do not often get schedule changes from airlines the minute they happen, it can take even a couple weeks to show up on their website.

For example, I booked on Travelocity a BA flight from London to Seville which did exist, but BA had changed it to about 8 hrs later, not a trivial amount. Being somewhat compulsive, I had noticed schedule differences in a couple different sites I was checking (Travelocity vs. BA vs. BA's codeshare Iberia), so went out of my way to call up BA to verify such a flight existed that was listed on Travelocity's web site when Iberia didn't show it. They swore it did. So BA said it existed, and it was on Travelocity. Of course, a week or two later, I got a notice that the flight had changed to 8 hrs later which got me into Seville at night and gave me an 8 hr airport layover.

I got it changed through a lot of persistence, but my point is, BA did not have accurate information, and of course the stuff they fed to Travelocity was not accurate and even had a slight lag between BA and Travelocity. So, your companies may be crooks or not, but those kinds of bookings through 3rd parties are risky in terms of changes.
Christina is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 11:08 AM
  #3  
 
Join Date: Jan 2003
Posts: 8,617
I can't help but notice that several times on this forum, recently, there have been explicit or implicit negative issues relating to using Travelocity.
It's my impression, not a scientific survey, that whenever possible it's best to book directly with the airline, and it's also my impression that many 'bargain' fares that appear on Expedia or Travelocity end up being available through the airlines themselves. Possible exceptions might include those convoluted flights involving changes of planes or even changes or airlines in European hubs.

Anyway, there's no guarantee that an airline itself can't give out bad, outdated, or false information, but I always feel I MIGHT have more recourse if I'd booked directly with the airline.
One thing I have experience with--once the airline changes its ETA or ETD by a significant amount of time, the "no cancellations, no changes without penalty" proviso to the customer becomes a LOT more flexible. When I booked flights (twice) and ended up with a schedule change, arriving 1-2 hours later than originally offered, I was able to cancel or change the date without penalty.

russab, sorry about your additional expense, that eats into a travel budget, and you didn't have a lot of lead time when the change came up.
elaine is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 12:30 PM
  #4  
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Posts: 23,074
Monarch is an established and pretty large airlines with both scheduled and charter operations. Their flights to Turkey are operated under charter rules, but I don't know exactly how that may affect the consumer.

Anyways, to me it seem like the agent you used is dishonest.
rkkwan is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 12:46 PM
  #5  
 
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Elaine, if you're referring to my post, my complaint and problem was really with British Airways, not Travelocity. BA was the one who told me the schedule was accurate when it wasn't, and BA was the one who didn't update their flight times for about two weeks after the actual carrier had changed the flight (which was Iberia, it was a BA codeshare). Travelocity didn't really do anything wrong, they just had posted the erroneous information BA had given them (it was just outdated, actually, but outdated on BA's one site and by their own agents).

Travelocity was very helpful in getting BA to reschedule me to the flight I wanted rather than the one that BA wanted to put me on automatically. A Travelocity customer service agent went out of his way to call BA up personally at a different number than normal where he knew he'd get a specialist and got them to change their "automatic rescheduling". The same thing would have happened if I'd scheduled directly with BA, as they were the ones who had it wrong. In fact, the reason I chose Travelocity was because I had a completely different carrier on my return flight, and I couldn't have booked the whole ticket through BA.

Actually, I have stopped using Travelocity as much just because they re-did their web site and I don't find it as easy to use or helpful as before. But, I have never had a bad problem with them in terms of customer service or them getting something wrong that was their fault.

Christina is offline  
Aug 10th, 2005, 12:50 PM
  #6  
 
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I guess I had misunderstood your experience, but I have read a few negatives about Travelocity here recently. I still feel that I am more likely to have recourse with the airline (or hotel) than if I book through a third party, especially once I am traveling and something goes wrong or changes with the arrangements. Not guaranteed, I just feel more comfortable.
elaine is offline  
Aug 17th, 2005, 10:49 AM
  #7  
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Join Date: Aug 2005
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Thanks for all the replies. It doesnt get my money back but it is some comfort to know that other people are not content to be pushed around either. I have used the bulletins boards to publicise my experience because there is not other effective complaint mechanism. The company I dealt with had a very effective call centre complaint blockig routine and I just gave up.

russab is offline  

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