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Published on : Wednesday, February 10, 2016
Online travel agencies are making it big now days but how does one know whether the agency that you are relying your hard earned money on will help you go through a smooth voyage at the price fixed on the onset of your journey? There are many people who lay their trust on travel agencies and often end up paying much more than what they had settled before taking their trips.
Audrey Kay, 80, and her husband Brian, 84, an elderly couple had planned a trip to Australasia to celebrate their diamond anniversary. The couple hailed from Mawdesley in Lancashire and had chalked their own travel plans with help from an agent called CheapOair.co.uk for booking their flight. The company vouched that they help in travelling for less.
The couple had bought online flight tickets from a budget airline for £143 each but was compelled to make two flight alterations in their flight dates. The company which claimed that they made travel facilities for less charged them £2,000 – seven times the original fares from Mr. and Mrs. Kay.
The couple was unfamiliar with the typical level of fees in the aviation industry and when CheapOair charges £1,049 for amendments Mr. Kay paid the charge. The return flights, operated by Air New Zealand, cost £143 each, totaling £286. A change fee on the route is around £80 per person.
The couple’s passport was stolen when they arrived at Sydney when they arrived from Hong Kong. The British Consulate at Sydney had issued temporary documents for them to continue with their journey. They had to obtain their new passports from Auckland for their trip back home. They had to go through a change of date in order to do so. The couple was charged £950.40 by CheapOair for the changes. The company had also levied “Post Booking Charges” totaling £1,999.40. They were now paying eight times more including the ticket cost £286 for two tickets from the original cost.
On being contacted later the company said that the billing section would deal with the matter and they could offer clarity. But despite several correspondences there was no response from CheapOair. The family members approached one of UK’s leading news daily which demanded clarification from CheapOair on the £2,000 it had charged the elderly couple. The company was forced to return £1,608 which left the couple paying £790.
The company however said that it was a human error and extended their apology. The firm is an offshoot extension of a US based travel agent. In Britain they are known as Dukes Court Travel.
With so many travel agencies mushrooming online offering attractive packages it is difficult for customers to really know who is authentic. The airlines and hotels should be more selective in choosing companies who are selling them to their potential customers or else it would be difficult to single out fraud companies.