Flight Centre - Avoid them like the plague
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rudolfl





PostPosted: 16 Feb 15 20:02
Post subject: Flight Centre - Avoid them like the plague
Organisation name: Flight Centre
Issue type: Comment

Hi,

Firstly, bad experience can not be reflected on all FC outlets. I, for example, always had good experience with them (not always the best price, though).

Normally travel agent will try to find you a best deal. Given you have more than one flight, Qantas likely will not take you all the way, so you will have to jump airlines. If you stick with same airline/affiliate for all (or most) flights, you get a much better price.
As for sits -- may be flight is fully booked and there was not seats avaialable? Anyway, a quick call to airline should fix it easily.

Rudolf
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1961Classic
I'm a NGE Premium Subscriber




PostPosted: 10 Jan 15 09:48
Post subject: Flight Centre - Avoid them like the plague
Organisation name: Flight Centre: Avoid them like the plague
Issue type: Complaint

Musty7070.... That is really unfortunate re your children being in seperate areas of the plane, however, if I may offer a possible solution. I have had similar issues before with. Or sitting with friends and we have approached the persons sitting next to them and asked if they would mind swapping seats so that you can sit with your children. Most people I found are only to eager to please unless of course if it will break up their family/travel companions...it is worth a shot though!

You could also call the airline and explain the situation and that your children suffer with travel sickness this I am sure they, and the person sitting next to them will be only to pleased to accomodate where they can! If no luck there try getting to airport very early and explain to the person checking you in at the counter your issue and again generally they are very helpful like this. They could even make an announcement at the boarding gates and often I hear them offer some reward to passengers that give up their seats like a free upgrade...all worth a try if your complaint to FC before you travel fails.

I agree with previous comment re points v monies saved...I recently tried to book an award flight for one half of my international leg and found it would cost me an extra $200 AUD for a return ticket v one way plus 37.000 FF points! I am paying the $200 of course and saving my FF points. that said I recognise the value of your gold status is worth the most to you...have you put your complaint in writing to FC and cc to QF, and also the airline you are traveling on? This may also help...the last thing I would try is to talk to your travel insurer they could possibly lean on FC to fix the problem if there is a risk you can't travel because of a sick child...wink wink...
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Cas98





PostPosted: 16 Dec 14 16:44
Post subject: Flight Centre - Avoid them like the plague
Organisation name: n/a
Issue type: Comment

In 2008, my Dad and I went to the USA via Narita in Japan. Brisbane to Narita to Detroit to Cleveland and back through the same stops. 6 flights and insurance. ALL through Flight Centre.

Last year, I arranged a round the world trip. Brisbane to Manila, to Singapore, to Germany, to Ghana to Dallas Texas and back to Brisbane. A total of 10 flights plus insurance. And ALL booked through Flight Centre.

And I have booked my flights and insurance for my trip next April to the Philippines along with insurance all through FC again.

At NO time did I receive any kind of customer service below exceptional. Both times, the travel agent was as nice as anyone can be, and helpful.

You may have had a bad experience, but that one agent is not the norm for this company (and NO, I do NOT work for FC).
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musty7070





PostPosted: 07 Dec 14 19:26
Post subject: Flight Centre - Avoid them like the plague
Organisation name: Flight Centre
Issue type: Complaint

Man, that is tough and I am sorry to hear that you have also been hit by a poor travel agent. Flight Centre has had our business on a number of trips before, however Flight Centre will not have our business in future trips. Flight Centre's actions have really taken the excitement on what should be an excellent trip, and left us with worries that there are other hidden 'mistakes' by them they have not yet found, or they have found and are not advising us of. Like really, who would book a family on a plane and split them up so they are not sitting next to each other - only Flight Centre I expect.

Take care computerflyer, and I wish you a good Christmas.
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computerflyer





PostPosted: 07 Dec 14 11:32
Post subject: Flight Centre - Avoid them like the plague
Organisation name: Flight Centre
Issue type: Comment

Not sure if you will see the dark humour, but some decades ago as a young man I booked a trip to the USA using Qantas Travel. It turned out they booked a US domestic commuter flight with an Air Uganda flight number, which I only discovered trying to "make the connection" in Philadelphia. In those days there was no internet and international calls in an urgent situation were not on, so I had to scramble and it was a few $100 out of pocket.

On return to Australia I asked for compensation for the out of pocket. Their reply was that if I wanted compensation they would "have to" recompute the ticket to reflect the segments I used, and the net outcome was I would owe them money! As a young person I was not yet worldly enough to stand up to that rubbish and I never used a travel agent for personal travel since.
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musty7070





PostPosted: 07 Dec 14 08:12
Post subject: Flight Centre - Avoid them like the plague
Organisation name: Flight Centre
Issue type: Complaint

Thankyou Computerflyer for your considered feedback.

A few points of clarification. I agree that the vast majority of travellers are not pedophiles and are generally good people, and I am not being paranoid in this context. I will be anxious for two reasons; my children are sitting next to total strangers rather than sitting with the rest of the family, and also I am inherently responsible for their welfare and behaviour. They are good kids, however what happens when the fall asleep on the shoulder of some random like they did with me last flight we did? My son gets motion sickness and the last time we travelled he sat with a sick-bag close by and continually reminded me that he wanted to be sick. I will be sitting there worrying about my children, which I believe is natural, rather than enjoying my holiday.

As for the frequent flyers, that was a stated requirement. I do appreciate what you say, however the points would have elevated me to Gold class and also provided us with sufficient points for interstate trips. Regardless, people use agencies like Flight Centre primarily for convenience and also the expectation that they will seamlessly organise your trip without errors with the specifications you have provided them. The more frustrating issue is the lack of communication from Flight Centre since the issues arose. I expect they have no answers and simply do not want to advise us of this.

Thanks for the well wishes computerflyer, and we will be endeavouring to make lemonade rather than have just water and lemons - like any average family would do in these circumstances. The service has just not been good enough, and I am simply warning others of the trials we have endured.
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computerflyer





PostPosted: 07 Dec 14 07:42
Post subject: Flight Centre - Avoid them like the plague
Organisation name: Flight Centre
Issue type: Complaint

Without defence of what seems at best a serious customer engagement failure from the agent, if it helps you wind down:

a) "We are sitting next to total strangers" on a flight suggests a degree of paranoia. The _vast_ majority of travelers, including men, are not pedophiles or problem people and are happy to sit by well behaved younger travelers, leaving each other alone. Such is travel by common carrier.

b) in spite of your preference for QF, which they should have honoured, the reality is QF long haul tickets are often $100s~$1,000s more than the low priced fares available. FC may have saved you far more money than the FF miles would ever be worth, assuming you could redeem them for your sought after destinations.

You probably understand this, but for others who may be reading and have yet to meet reality, QF miles can have almost zero real value against just buying a sale priced ticket on some routes because of having to pay surcharges for an award, can be all but impossible to book at classic award levels on certain routes, and otherwise (product/gift card redemption or "anytime" bookings) are worth about $0.004 to $0.005 each, about the same as most credit card points.

c> since you are stuck with the arrangements, even though they are not what you asked for, you may or may not have come out ahead financially. For peace of mind compare fares using QF versus UA or others. My experiences with QF finally encouraged me to try UA (who have been stepping up smartly of late, at least cross-pond) for my US travel, and my experience was good enough so my family are now UA customers for travel to North America. Their new 777s on the route are fully competitive in coach, their economy plus seating is a well priced option and makes a difference after many hours, and is OK if not top end in business and first; where their old 747s were almost an embarrassment to modern expectations.

d> Immediately join the FF program for the airline you are flying, or one of their affiliates, so you will get some miles that you might be able to use for something.

You may have lemonade or not.

I repeat this is not in defence of FC Caloundra as they seem to have failed big time and seem to have had a bit of dismissive arrogance. And on that basis your gripe seems totally justified, assuming there is not more to the story.

Hope you have a great trip and focus on that rather than your bad experience with FC.
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musty7070





PostPosted: 06 Dec 14 11:16
Post subject: Flight Centre - Avoid them like the plague
Organisation name: Flight Centre
Issue type: Complaint

Greetings,

Unfortunately for us, we decided to use Flight Centre to organise our travel for a major trip to USA and Canada, using Caloundra City as the agency booked. To say that our trip has been poorly and unprofessionally planned is an understatement.

We started our booking back in Aug 14 with Caloundra City. Our stipulations clearly provided to them during initial conversations included that we wanted to fly with Qantas or affiliated airline to receive the frequent flyer points. Because of the volume of travel we would be doing, we expected that the points would accrue enough for the family to take an additional holiday interstate throughout the year, and also elevate me to gold class. Therefore, these points were very important to us and we specifically stated as such.

To cut a long story short, they booked us on a non-affiliated airline, therefore no frequent flyers and they failed to organise our ski insurance in collaboration with our travel insurance - resulting in us having to go out independently and organise our own insurance. We also realised the week before the travel when we got our e-tickets that (aside from the frequent flyer points not being annotated to our flights as requested), they had also not organised our seats when we did the original bookings. As a result, they tried to cover it up by booking them when we advised them of the shortfall. However, now my family is not sitting together on multiple international flights - we are sitting next to total strangers. It bothers me that my 10 year old daughter and my 13 year old son will be sitting next to total strangers for multiple flights up to 12 hours long.

The real clincher is that they advised us they had sent multiple hard copies of our tickets and vouchers in the mail, yet they never came. When I pressed the issue, the store manager acknowledged the agents had lied to my wife and they had not sent the tickets. The managers response for the inability to place us on an airline that provided frequent flyers was that if I wanted to I could pay an extra $4000 to fly Qantas and get the points if it meant so much to me, and $300 voucher for our 'troubles'.

Customer relations is unresponsive. They declare that customer satisfaction is a high priority and someone will contact you within three days. It is now past that for me and I am still waiting for a reply.

In one way, I am dreading the upcoming travel. I know that I will be on edge and concerned for the welfare of my children for the whole set of flights where they are in another part of the plane. They have certainly wrecked a very expensive and hard worked for trip for an average Aussie family.
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