Help! A British Travel Agency Has Our $3,891 and We Want It Back.

In August 2020 we booked a trip to Iceland via Jetline Vacations for $3,891. This is a deal I found in an email offer I signed up to receive through Travelzoo. Shortly thereafter, Iceland banned foreign tourists from entering the country, so we contacted Jetline to ask for a refund. After weeks of no contact, I ended up filing a dispute with my credit card issuer. That seemed to scare them, and then Jetline contacted them and said they would give them two years of credit. We ended up booking her trip to Portugal for April 2022 and was apprehensive as Jetline did not send us any confirmation details. We filed a complaint and waited several weeks for a response, eventually being told that we owe $800 for the fare increase. We refused to pay until we checked the paperwork, but when we received the paperwork, we found out that our flight had already been cancelled. We contacted Jetline and tried to book a third trip and encountered similar issues. I want my money back! can you help? Meghan Markle and Jay Clifton, Virginia.

The entire travel industry has been shaken by the pandemic, so it’s understandable. jet lineA London-based travel agent with a strong online presence will ignore your request until your credit card issuer intervenes, then refuse to issue a refund, book another package instead, and later Raise prices and ignore you for months at a time. just kidding! This is terrible.

I contacted Jetline. It is also known by its British name Jetline Holidays. Finally, I spoke with its director of operations, Mr. Richard Levy. He refunded your money and asked me to provide his $200 credit for another trip. (PS: You declined as strongly as possible.)

“The most important thing is to make sure the client is satisfied. . “You know when the blood starts boiling? ‘I wonder why someone didn’t nip this problem in the bud years ago and keep customers happy.'” He said of customer service. Told me the team had made some mistakes and needed retraining.

To be fair, he called me back later with compelling evidence that your story contained inaccuracies. For example, after he booked a trip to Portugal, he emailed me internal records stating that Jetline promptly sent the booking information, including flight and hotel paperwork. You later confirmed this.

But your story of running away from Jetline customer service certainly rings true. It took my own blood boiling for five days to get an answer from them, but I finally got to Mr. Levy. First, the website doesn’t list a customer service email for him, so I called his London phone number and asked his customer service agent named ‘Trevor’ (a pseudonym he confirmed) to tell me I said he was a journalist. He said he couldn’t take calls from his “lawyer” and he instructed me to send an email to the address he gave me on the phone. I have CCed several staff members with whom you interacted in the document you sent me, including a manager named Rose.

In response, Rose wrote that Jetline had “strongly tried to rebook the customer’s trip” and continued, “Despite our policy of asking customers to bear any additional costs, Unfortunately, customers seem reluctant to pay the difference.” We understand their concerns and are committed to finding mutually beneficial solutions. Her claim that the reservation manager contacted you “multiple times” contradicts your description, so I CC Steven Roberts, the company’s managing director, with a few additional questions. I wrote

That and when my follow up email went unanswered, I found another number for Jetline posted online by a disgruntled customer who eventually got a refund. So he ended up having two more customers visit his service agent and was put on hold for quite some time, eventually leading him to a representative on a third number who was eventually handed over to Mr. Levy. I was.

In that first conversation, Mr. Levy said he had just been shown my original email. It took me five days to get to him, but I still needed some help. travel zoo.

Travelzoo is an intermediary that reviews and publishes travel transactions on its website or sends them to members in promotional emails. (Companies pay a fee to list their offers.)

I wrote to Travelzoo because you said you had heard about a package tour with Travelzoo, and I was promptly contacted by Leah Saran, the company’s global head of brand and content. She noted that you filed a complaint with Travelzoo in February (as you told me). At the time, Travelzoo contacted Jetline and was told the issue was being resolved, she added. But this time, a Travelzoo colleague reached out to Roberts directly, which brought the complaint to her attention, she said. A comparison of notes revealed that Travelzoo’s contact with Jetline took less than an hour before I spoke with Mr. Levy. “I know that there is still no solution and I am happy to work again towards a positive solution,” Saran wrote.

Problem solved. But a common question in this column is whether your experience was a one-off or should you avoid Jetline despite the attractive prices of packages to Europe and other countries? about it.

Saran said Travelzoo stands behind the jetline. “Compared to other travel agencies, we do not receive as many member complaints,” she wrote. “On the other hand, we have received feedback from many members that they were satisfied with the trips they booked.”

But as you yourself pointed out, reviews online list a lot of complaints about jetlines. Year and newand even with some poor coverage of them in the midst of a pandemic. It’s hard to know how much inventory to put into these — 2020 and 2021 have been chaotic, despite my quips — and Jetline’s performance has been bleak. trust pilotone of the sites that Travelzoo monitors to evaluate packages advertised.

That brings me back to the consistent theme of this column: the thorny problem of intermediaries. We recommend booking travel services directly through airlines, hotels and car rental companies, unless there are clear advantages. Doing this can certainly take a little extra time, but it will save you a lot of effort if something goes wrong or your plans change. My inbox is littered with “I called company A and they said it was a problem with company B. I called company B and they sent me back to company A.” . (And that’s when the company is legit. Don’t get me started on what happens when people book flights through companies with names like

But there are exceptions, one of which is that online travel agencies, both large (such as Expedia) and small (Jetline), are not only convenient to book, but also affordable if you book everything separately. Being able to put together a package that is cheaper than what you pay for. . Local trip advisors can also provide valuable, customized advice.

There are other times when you need (or at least benefit from) the use of an intermediary, such as when you use points to book a flight through a credit card rewards site. But be aware that every time you introduce another company into the booking process, everything can become more difficult if something goes wrong. And in travel, things often go wrong.

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