Thursday, September 24, 2009

Air ticket booking woes

An expensive birthday present I gave myself this year.

Departure of AUD200 booking fees with Flight Centre.

Having been disconnected with the 'real' world for what feel like an eternity (after Princess was born and I stopped working), it has made me totally naive and gullible like a 15 year-old (I mean the brain function not my looks obviously).

I let my guard down when people are friendly and helpful. I used to be suspicious about people's intentions as soon as they act nice. What to do? I was in this 'people eat people, dog eat dog, people not people, people are ghost' (direct translate in Chinese) world. The protective sensors/radar were very strong in the blood-y (not trying to swear here, direct traslate from Chinese 血淋淋) world.

How hard is it to go into travel agents or use the internet nowadays to book a ticket? You would say, aiyoo peanuts lah.

My case of looking for flights back to Brunei:-

Case 1: Internet booking
Search for fare with Royal Brunei Airlines online. The result is 'No fares found'. Eh? WTH??
Search with travel agent and travel site like Expedia online. The results came back AUD4xxx and above but when tried to reserve, no seats available on my chosen dates. Oh well, tough luck.

Case 2: Travel agents
So I thought I would try my luck with going in person into travel agents. Jetset and Harvey gave me some numbers AUD$1,2XX. But when I ask them to do me a quote, the reply being, 'oh I can't seem to be able to quote, the system wouldn't allow me to and the flights looked pretty full.' Huh, like that also can?? WTH?? Don't want any business issit?

So enter Flight Centre (another branch from previously, obviously), wow, extremely nice and friendly staff, able to quote me AUD$1,5XX but heck, system say tickets had been sold out at that price. The next available price is AUD2,225 per ONE ADULT. I pondered for a while and thinking someone else is picking up the tab and the staff seemed nice and sincere, I made a booking.

And was told after confirmation of booking that I need to pay a booking fee. WTH?? By now, my energy has been drained and the brain fuzzy with all those episodes. Without thinking, I paid the fee.

Received feedback today that those tickets I booked were too expensive. Need to find alternative. What? Singapore Airlines all booked out the week and after??? WTH?? Then Big King tried calling directly to RBA today, we were told we've been taken for a ride! WTH?? The quote from RBA is only AUD2,8XX for THREE persons (2 adults and a child).

Now the reason I didn't call RBA in the first place is because the lines are FOREVER engaged. You can't even get through. When the call is finally connected, you were forever being put on hold. It's a miracle Big King got through to an agent this morning.

Obviously I cancelled Flight Centre booking straightaway and lost my booking fee which is non-refundable but transferable. I don't think I'll be doing anymore business with them even if I have money to burn, hah.

A very expensive lesson learned.

Sigh..the world is still ugly.......

Looks like a case for Office of Fair Trading.

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