a travel agent is a better bet than booking online if you wish to
avoid problems when arranging travel or while travelling.
Seven out of 10 Australians run into difficulties when travelling or
preparing to travel, a survey by consumer group Choice has revealed.
Over a quarter of those problems concern booking online – with
hidden fees topping the list of peeves. http://www.tourismlegal.com.au/
The Choice (consumer review magazine) research was based on
responses from a nationally representative sample of 1100 Australian
travellers aged 18–75 who had travelled for leisure domestically
(ever) and internationally (in the past 12 months).
Most commonly encountered travel problems were:
•Booking online (26%)
•Transport (taxis, buses, trains) (19%)
•Booking with a travel agent (18%)
•Mobile phones (17%)
•Car hire (14%)
For those who struck problems with booking online, 57% complained
about hidden fees. Nearly 30% also struck difficulty fixing mistakes
online and/or encountered technical website issues.
Booking with a travel agent caused problems for less than two out of
10 travellers, ranking it only as the fourth most common problem
travellers encountered. Of those with gripes who booked through
agents, 34% said they had difficulty fixing mistakes, 29% objected
to hidden fees. Another 19% said they didn’t get quite what they
paid for, such as preferred room types.
Choice reminded its readers that “the compulsory licensing scheme
for travel agents was abolished and replaced with a voluntary
accreditation scheme called ATAS on 1 July 2014. The scheme provides
some protections and recourse, such as full and partial refunds, if
you are wronged.”
Choice advises consumers to do their research and find a reputable
agent. “Agents with accreditation, such as ATAS accreditation, are
required to meet minimal professional standards family and friends
can also be a great source for recommendations.”
Of the 24% of respondents to the Choice survey who said they had
struck some sort of problem with their flight, about half (51% )
said flights were either delayed or cancelled.
Choice advices travellers to obtain travel insurance that covers
delays and cancellations. AFTA advises the same.
Is a budget airline really cheap??? Care required as marketing often
creates an illusion!
Which low-cost carriers have
the cheapest fares, many travellers wonder. The cheapest low-cost
airlines in the world are mainly in Asia, with first place going to
Malaysian airline Firefly.
Firefly’s total average fare, including checked baggage fee, is only
AUD 43.92 which is less than half of the price of the cheapest
European airline, Pegasus. That’s according to research by the
flight search engine WhichAirline.com
Firefly is followed, according to average ticket price, by SpiceJet
(AUD 75.25) and Onur Air (AUD 80.24). While many would expect
AirAsia to be the cheapest, it only comes in at fourth place with
AUD 86.62. Popular Asian airline tigerair is ninth with AUD 104.50.
In the world comparison, Pegasus comes in at seventh place, Ryanair
at 19th place only.
Ryanair is the cheapest in Europe, right? Well, not quite. Ryanair
has many hidden fees, which make a big impact on the final cost. In
fact, when all costs are counted, five other airlines come out
cheaper in Europe: Pegasus Airlines, Air Lituanica, Vueling,
germanwings and Wizz Air.
Which is the cheapest of them all in Europe?
In its research, WhichAirline.com compiled two lists to compare the
cheapest airlines: the first based on average basic prices of
tickets (without fees) and second based on the prices of tickets
including checked baggage fee for a 20 kg bag. http://www.miceasiaexhibition.com/
The common perception that Ryanair is the cheapest airline is
erroneous, the research shows. Ryanair comes second (after Pegasus
Airlines) when comparing the basic fare without fees. When the total
fare is counted, including checked baggage fee for a 20 kg bag, the
cheapest carrier is Pegasus Airlines with a total average price of
AUD 93.12, followed by Air Lituanica (AUD 117.21) and Vueling (AUD
140). Ryanair comes in at sixth place with AUD 145.
Only four out of 34 European low-cost airlines came out with an
average fare including fees under EUR 100 (AUD 144). Apart from
those mentioned above is germanwings with AUD 142.61. On the other
end of the list, some airlines have relatively high prices. The
average flight with fees operated by Smart Wings costs AUD 310.52,
making it three times more expensive than Pegasus and more than
twice the price of Ryanair.
Be careful where you click…
Low-cost airlines make a lot of money on their various fees, and
their creativity seems to be endless, WhichAirline.com advises. The
company’s research indicates that consumers self-booking their own
travel face a minefield of hidden fees. Flights that seem cheaper to
book direct can end up costing more than if booked through a savvy
travel agent who knows the ropes.
When booking flights with Ryanair, for instance, WhichAirline.com
says consumers should be very careful in every step of the booking
procedure.“Ryanair hides some of the fees very smartly (e.g. travel
insurance),” the site warns.
“Travelling low-cost can be a minefield with all the companies
trying to ‘offer’ you extras. These optional features can cost you a
fortune and their real value is questionable. Priority boarding for
example will not make your journey shorter. You will spend the same
time waiting for your flight, just more of it in the aircraft itself
instead at the gate. And finally, try to fit everything into hand
baggage and pay with a debit card, as payment with credit cards
often leads to extra transaction fees.”
We are a bricks and clicks travel
business. You can call us, visit us, or deal with us by email. As
you know from our website we have been dealing with Russian travel
programmes for 25+ years. We can organise any internal airfares in
Russia with safety.
Recently others had a different
experience dealing with a Russian online (ONLY) system.
Consumers putting their trust
in online flight agencies sometimes receive a rude shock. It can
happen when the screen goes blank, or when they think they have
booked but find they haven’t.
A more serious glitch has just occurred in Russia. Many Russians who
reserved their post-New Year travel through the Russian discount
online travel agent (OTA) website Eviterra.com found to their shock
that their tickets had been cancelled without refund, the
English-language daily Moscow Times newspaper reported.
The flights were still operating but the tickets they had bought had
been voided. TAT-banner250X250px
A statement carried on the Eviterra.com website on Sunday said that
more than 6000 tickets had been voided because of a “financial
conflict” with the Russian travel agency through which it booked the
flights, Avia Centre, the Russian News Service reported.
Eviterra founder Nikolai Zayarny reportedly told the Roem.ru website
that Avia Centre began voiding tickets over a dispute about
Eviterra’s lack of promptness in settling bills for 10 days worth of
A page on a social contact network, apparently a bit like Facebook,
was set up. One consumer using it said his tickets to Thailand worth
nearly USD 7000 had been annulled and he anticipated further losses
on non-refundable hotel reservations.
By Monday, however, Eviterra was said to have posted a new
announcement on its website – stating that negotiations with Avia
Center over the dispute were underway and all tickets for flights
scheduled to depart on Monday through Saturday were valid once
“As for the departures that are scheduled to take place after
January 12, the negotiations are still going on, and we will without
fail inform all our passengers,” the statement said, according to
the Moscow Times.
The company also pledged to honour the return tickets of travellers
who had already departed, regardless of their return date.
The whole episode sounds nerve-racking and consumers must feel they
have been used as pawns.
Russia’s Federal Tourism Agency has opened a telephone hotline for
Eviterra customers, the Russian News Service reported.