Wedding Finance

Potential travelers are still trying to recover trips deleted at the start of the pandemic

Flight Center spokesman Haydn Long said age“BYOjet and Aunt Betty are low-cost online travel agents that wouldn’t normally have a large ‘human’ workforce. Flight Centre, on the other hand, has a large number of people, which is why it has generally been able to resolve issues more quickly.

He said the booking giant had refunded $1.5 billion to customers in Australia and helped tens of thousands of people rearrange their plans, and was hiring around 300 staff a month to resolve the backlog in deals.

Flight Center general manager Graham Turner.Credit:Madeleine Begley

“In any event, BYOjet and Aunt Betty are working hard to resolve any issues that customers have had and apologize for any delays that occur,” he said.

It’s a similar story for Sydney’s Northern Beaches mum Stacey Mount.

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Mount booked flights in 2019 to attend a wedding in Thailand in April 2020. She was offered credit because Thai Airways was bankrupt. She declined, opting for a refund instead. But after having no luck getting a refund from BYOJet, I accepted a credit.

After sending 40 emails, and about eight in the past two months, she still hasn’t received one. Now in the process of changing bookings for the wedding, which is rearranged for next year, she is upset as she could use the credit but cannot get in touch with anyone to secure it.

She said she felt the online booking service, also owned by Flight Centre, was “chaining [her] along” and “completely ignoring [her] questions asking for a credit”.

“I told them several times that I didn’t want to get a refund from Thai Airways and would like to know my credit options, but they completely ignore it and only talk about contacting Thai Airways,” he said. she declared. “I will never book through a travel agent again – it’s theft. It makes you feel like it’s their tactic not to have to refund you.

Long said Flight Center would get BYOJet and Aunt Betty to contact the two customers and they don’t hold customer funds (Flight Center is required to transfer them almost immediately to the airlines to secure the booking) or refunds once. that they have been returned to the airline’s booker.

In May, Flight Center warned investors of a higher-than-expected loss in fiscal 2022 due to sluggish leisure travel sales, but it says corporate bookings have rebounded to lows. almost pre-COVID levels.

Consumer Advocate Adam Glezer.

Consumer Advocate Adam Glezer.Credit:Eddie Jim

The company forecast a loss of between $195 million and $225 million for the year, but is expected to be profitable in the five months to June 30. Its stock price fell more than 6% on the news.

Adam Glezer, consumer advocate and founder of Consumer Champion, said beyond dealing directly with the company, consumers had few options.

“I’ve spoken to a lot of people who have had issues with various companies, who have gone through regulators like Consumer Affairs, Fair Trading, etc., and come to nothing,” he said. declared.

“What I’ve discovered is that there are two different types of businesses: those that bend over backwards for customers and those that would avoid doing the right thing for customers at all costs.”

Emma Weatherley and her family.

Emma Weatherley and her family.Credit:Age/SMH

Shortly after the pandemic began in April 2020, Brisbane civil servant Emma Weatherley, who suffers from muscular dystrophy, begged the travel giant to repay the $18,508 she spent on a dream trip to the United States which did not take place.

Although part of her trip was reimbursed and she was granted travel credits, she said she only moved forward with the company after media requests.

“There were a lot of emails back and forth, and I found there was no way for me to escalate the issue or talk to anyone else, and they ‘just said that was the situation and there was no opportunity for negotiation or discussion,” she said.

“You shouldn’t have to fight publicly.”

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