Airline nightmares – the worst of airlines and booking agents
Watch out here comes a rant! If you don’t like reams of negativity, look away now. If you enjoy other people’s pains, indulge yourself!
It’s sometimes good having an online website just to allow us to do this! I’m currently in Shanghai with work (I’ll make another post on this), and am having some pretty bad airline nightmares. Let’s start with the world famous (for all the wrong reasons) easyjet.
Easyjet cancellation and booking changes
Originally, four of us were planning on flying from Marseille to London to watch a football match of the cousin of one of our friends (Romain Padanovi is the star!!). Unfortunately, one of my friends and I couldn’t go due to work commitments, and so I am required to cancel two of the four tickets. The flights originally cost £77 each. Credit where credit is due, easyjet isn’t expensive.
But, it’s easy to see why. I phoned the number on the website (phoning from abroad number so they know it’s expensive) and was placed on hold for around ten minutes. This seemed like a pretty long time (until you read on to the next part!!) and I was eager to resolve my problem.
When I reached someone to speak to, they informed me about all the policies and the additional costs that I would be charged. No cancellation possible. Therefore, I lose £77 for my flight. Oh well, c’est la vie.
However, we have another friend who wants to take the other ticket from us. And, of course, it’s possible to change the name. Hooray!
However, the gentlemen slowly informed me that this would cost £35 each way (so almost the same as the original flight) plus any change in the flight price to today’s price. He also informed me that it was more expensive to do over the phone as I would have to pay an additional admin fee.
This conversation had taken about another 10 minutes (while I’m probably paying several pounds per minute).
“Okay, I said, so I should do it online?”.
“Sorry sir, you can’t. Our systems are down.”
Could you not have told me this 20 minutes ago when I called?!
So, I wait for the systems to come back online several hours later (“please try again in 5 minutes” “please try again in 5 minutes” “please try again in 5 minutes” and I try to change this flight. Total increase in flight price? Any guesses? £191.24. For a £77 flight. Great.
However, in this rant, easyjet probably scores around 9/10 for the quality of the system!!
Ladies and gentlement, let me introduce opodo!
Opodo.com – just wow (not in a good way)
So, for my work trip to Shanghai, I originally booked the following schedule:
LONDON -> SHANGHAI (12th October)
SHANGHAI -> SHENZHEN (20th October)
SHENZHEN -> MARSEILLE (24th October)
This economy round trip cost me £1383.80 with opodo, including a £17.99 charge for “opodo extra”, a service which includes:
I booked this because I was expecting that I may need to change my flights if work schedules changed.
All good so far.
2 days before the flight departs, I log into my Hotmail account to read a casual message from opodo which has informed that my billing address was not accurate and hence they have simply cancelled all my flights. Great, it’s a good job I check my emails regularly huh??
After several hours speaking with customer service (who at this stage were actually fairly helpful), I managed to reinstate my flights and due to a fall in price, the re-booking would only cost me £1050. A massive saving of over £300. Well done opodo. Thanks.
However, the day before my flight, I attempt to print out my e-ticket and am informed that it simply doesn’t exist. A little strange. PANIC!!!
Another hour on the phone and I’m informed that they tried to re-book, but the price had increased to £1400 so they weren’t able to book the flights! Amazing! Not even an email this time.
So, after much stress, they manage to resolve the situation, charging me an extra £400. Okay, except for a little extra charge, some phone bills and a few hours wasted, we are back at square one.
So off I fly to China.
Today, my work schedule changed. This is where things really get interesting. I phone the foreign phone line (international calling rates apply) to attempt to change my booking. At least I know I’m not going to get charged because of the opodo extra. Firstly, I spend over 56 minutes on hold. Not a great start when you are ringing from China.
Next, they inform me that I would incur a £125 admin charge for this flight because these were the airline charges for my flight (interestingly, I was informed of this before they knew who my flight was with) and that this was outside of opodo extra policy.
The flight I wanted to change as part of this trip (Shanghai -> Shenzhen) cost around £60 originally, so this modification would cost double to cost of the flight. So, I asked if I could just book a new flight but was told that they would cancel the final leg of my journey if I did not check in for this flight. What a crazy rule!!
Okay, suck it up and pay. There isn’t another choice. “OK sir, we’ll look for a new flight now. Please be aware you will have to pay the difference in any flight price”. No worries I thought. Its only £75 for the flight on skyscanner, so an extra £15 isn’t that bad.
After another age on hold, the lady returns. OK sir, I have found a replacement flight. It leaves 18:05 on the day you wish. So, you will be required to pay the £125 admin fee, and the difference in the flight price, which is….
…wait for it….
“Hahaha. Good one. How much is it really?”
“Sorry Sir, but this is the only flight available”.
“So I can’t cancel and I can’t just miss my flight, so this is the only alternative”.
“I’m afraid so”
“I’ll call you back!!”
My £60, 2 hour internal flight is going to now cost a total of £60 + £125 + £535.
China Eastern Airlines
So, I phone China Eastern Airlines. And, I have something nice to say.
Bring bring, bring (yep, only 3 rings), a very friendly lady answers and informs me that, for €100 admin fee (which is a little different to the £125 quoted by opodo), I could change my flight to another flight 10 minutes after that suggested by opodo. Sorted in under 3 mintues.
Needless to say, I won’t be using opodo again.
Thank you for listening to my rant!
Now, let’s hear yours? Any horror stories with airlines or booking agents? Can you make my story look like child’s play?