Traveller letters: Pitfalls of booking flights with an online travel agent
NO CHECK-IN CHECKS
I booked two tickets with BYOjet for a Ryanair flight from Budapest to Pisa six months in advance. I read the fine print and followed all instructions. Despite printed advice that we could check in 14 days ahead we were unable to do this before we left for our European holiday. BYOjet advice received via phone was to check in at a later date.
We then spent a very stressful two days attempting to check in from Budapest. Ryanair would not accept our (given) email address to check in. We sent emails and text messages to BYOjet (no answer), tried different emails and had an online chat with a Ryanair representative who pointed out we needed the email of the agent who had done the booking which was not the one we had been given. (And of course we have evidence of all of this!)
We arrived at the airport in the very small hours of the morning, worried we wouldn't be able to fly. Happily, we did and Ryanair was a perfectly fine airline. They waived the check-in fee but we did have to pay for baggage since they had no record of extra baggage having been paid for.
Back home now and we are still following up with BYOjet in Australia but it has been a very one-sided affair. Of course it was ultimately not about the extra fees but about a truly awful experience which can ruin a holiday.
Fitzroy North Vic
LETTER OF THE WEEK
It is a rarity these days to find a holiday that ticks all the boxes.
Gate 1 Travel's 13 day Kaleidoscope of Morocco does just that. An interesting and unrushed itinerary took us to the souks, medinas and kasbahs of Rabat, Fez and Casablanca. We saw Roman ruins at Volubis, an idyllic sunset on the Saharan dunes and great vistas of the snow-capped High Atlas mountains. Quality Accor hotels, all breakfasts and several tajine dinners, together with Muhammed, our informative and caring guide, at a price tag of about $100 a day including all gratuities, made for a truly great holiday.
Despite a high risk DEFAT we found Morocco a safe and friendly destination and an ideal alternative to the troubled Middle East.
"You must remember this" from the movie Casablanca, aptly applied to our holiday in this fascinating country.
Lane Cove NSW
In reply to Jennifer Dodd (Traveller Letters Dec 16) there is a travel company in Melbourne called Two's a Crowd that handles solo bookings with little or no single supplement and you always get a single room. I am going to South Africa next year on the recommendation of a cousin who has been travelling with them extensively over the past few years.
I sympathise with Chas Becket over the hard line his insurance company took when their backpack was stolen. However not all insurance companies are so stringent. We had a small bag stolen from the top of our luggage trolley at Venice Airport while we looked at signs above the Vaporetto ticket office. The trolley never even left my grip. Everything was replaced except the €600 cash deposit we received that morning when we left Florence. The really annoying thing was the thieves used our credit card to make purchases at airport shops while we were reporting it to the airport police station.
Hunters Hill NSW
Your writer's (December 17) rejected claim for the loss of a backpack while it was "unsupervised" at her feet is not surprising. When faced with a rejection many claimants just write it off and I believe many travel insurance claims are rejected to test your mettle – will they accept the rejection or take it further? If you believe you are right then fight and the Financial Ombudsman Service is there to help and has many case studies on its website. However unless your travel insurance company is a "signatory to the General Insurance Code of Practice and The Financial Ombudsman Service" – and most big companies are – you may not be able to use their services when your claim is rejected.
Tumbi Umbi NSW
I can more than vouch for the rewarding Rio experiences of Brian Lee (December 17).
Every year, I visit my son in New York. Every year I notice, as I come back through Sydney Airport, how uncouth we often are compared with ordinary Americans.
Similarly, I appreciated at Rio Olympics the Cariocas' good humour and gracious manners. This extended to benign tolerance of my Google Portuguese, and frequent offers of train seats, though I was but a bronzed and spritely 66.
The difference this time was that the Australian uncouth restarted early, in a Rio airport queue at five in the morning. A typically Australian form of braggart roundly abused and threatened me, possibly for standing an inch too close to his oppressed wife, though I couldn't be entirely sure through the queue's heavy fog of sleep deprivation.
The story Traveller letters: Pitfalls of booking flights with an online travel agent first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.