Travel agency Webjet faces backlash as Australian customers battle for flight credits

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Excited Australians have seen their dream post-pandemic holiday left in tatters after falling victim to the mistakes of an online travel agency.

Australian-born Webjet is facing backlash after customers said they hadn’t received the credit needed to book new holidays and, in some cases, hadn’t flown the flights that they had paid.

Sharleene Demmery-Moir hopes to travel to New Zealand in September with her daughter and granddaughters.

Sharleene Demmery-Moir. (A current affair)

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The Perth grandmother originally booked flights through Webjet in 2019, but when her flights were canceled due to the pandemic, she was given flight credit to use in the future.

Demmery-Moir is now trying to book her vacation, but continues to run into turbulence.

“I have a thousand dollar credit to use to go to New Zealand that runs out tomorrow and I’ve been trying to get it since late May,” Demmery-Moir said.

Webjet. (A current affair)

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Demmery-Moir was unable to tell anyone about Webjet despite several attempts.

“I called them a few times, texted them and sat in line for 504 minutes,” Demmery-Moir said.

Finlay Burnett and his partner, Dawson Bown, are also crossing the gap via Webjet, but have run into their own issues.

Dawson Bown and Finlay Burnett. (A current affair)

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After initially booking their flights in September 2021, the couple paid an additional $1,200 to have their flights moved from July to August this year.

After receiving no further communication from Webjet about their flights, the couple sought to make contact with the customer service team.

“We’ve called almost every day of the week, been on hold for five, six hours sometimes and still haven’t been able to reach anyone,” Burnett said.

It wasn’t until Bown received an email from Webjet that they realized they had run out of flights.

“I got another email saying the flight was already booked and our flights were never changed and they just took our money,” Bown said.

Rochelle and Michael Bartlett. (A current affair)

Rochelle and Michael Bartlett are also battling over lost money, who have booked flights to Canada for themselves and their three children to visit family.

After buying flights in November last year through Webjet, Mr Bartlett asked a question in May about his daughter’s flight date being postponed for a week.

It was then that a Webjet staff member informed him that the first leg of his family’s flight had been canceled some time ago.

The Bartletts were given the option of requesting flight credit through Webjet or rebooking for the next available flight using the same airline six months later.

Mr. Bartlett opted to book the later flights, a decision that cost him an additional $6,000 on top of what he had already paid for the original flights.

“We have never had this experience before in our lives and I would do anything I could to spare anyone the pain of what we had to go through because of it,” Mr Bartlett said.

Australian traveler co-founder, Quentin Long. (A current affair)

Australian Traveler Co founder Quentin Long said that while customers are hurting right now, so is Webjet.

“They’ve lost in the last two years over $230 million,” Long said.

Long said the COVID-19 pandemic has changed the way travel agencies operate.

“The travel industry is really good at working in one direction, but when people have to cancel like we did during the pandemic, it doesn’t work very well in the opposite direction,” Long said.

Long said that while third-party websites have their place in the industry, bookings get complicated in the event of a flight cancellation.

“The weakness is that you don’t have a direct relationship with the supplier and that’s exacerbated when you have to go get credit or try to book something,” Long said.

“I hope Webjet gets its staff up to speed, its customer service up to par and starts dealing with these things because the industry really needs travelers.”

Statement from Webjet CEO David Galt:

We sincerely apologize to anyone experiencing long wait times to reach us as this is not the level of service we intend to provide and normally provide to our customers. Throughout the pandemic, we have not terminated or terminated any customer service staff. To date, we have nearly doubled the size of our service teams across messaging, telephone and ticketing to meet the more complex needs of our traveling customers as the world reopens and we continue to hire additional staff to further improve our service capability. our clients.

Airlines control the terms and conditions of airline credits, including expiration, class of service, route applicability, change fees, and refunds. Webjet responds to customer questions and requests to change their departure date as a priority (the nearest first). Webjet does not charge any refund, change or cancellation fees and only charges the appropriate fees dictated by the airline.

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