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NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

London, England...
posts: 9
NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

Bought two tickets to fly to Brazil from Flight Centre in London.

Don't usually buy from travel agents as you pay commission on sales, preferring to buy online, but we did on this occasion due to various connecting flights.

On transit we were stopped from boarding our flight to Brazil. My husband is British but me being Australian needed a visa. Dream holiday costing £2500, cancelled!

Contacted our travel agent, only to be asked 'what passport do you have?' Now I appreciate it is our responsibility to ensure we have appropriate documentation for travel, but is it too much to expect that an agent gives you basic information regarding your flight before you buy such a costly holiday? Isn't that what you are paying commission for?

The best bit....after raising our concerns with Flight Centre customer services, we received a letter negating any responsibility on their part (no surprises there) and then going on to say: sorry your trip to Mexico hadn't worked out???

Flight Centre travel agents, since when is Brazil part of Mexico. didn't you even bother reading our email?

Liverpool, UK
posts: 11,514
reviews: 23
1. Re: NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

I'm afraid this is wholly down to you as the passenger is responsible for ensuring they have all the necessary documentation such as visas.

Bearing in mind the multitude of nationalities and visa requirements, which do change, it 's not feasible for TAs to give advice - every booking I've ever made with airlines or TAs make it clear it's my responsibility.

The nightmare was not Flight Centre but you failing to check what you needed in terms of visas especially when travelling on different passports.

Edited: 4:22 am, May 07, 2013
London UK
posts: 56
2. Re: NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

Sorry that this happened but Flight Centre only sell you a product (flights). It is your own responsibility to ensure that you are able to use the product; ie. that you have a visa to go on the trip. Didn't you look up the visa regulations at any time during the trip planning?

When did this happen? Have you tried to see if you can reschedule the flights at all? That might be possible depending on the knind of tickets you bought although you might have to pay some kind of fee to do it.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 18,579
reviews: 5
3. Re: NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

One Google Search, two clicks to the Flight Centre T+C's - flightcentre.co.uk/policies/terms-and-condit…

"19. Passport, Visa and Immigration Requirements

Your specific passport and visa requirements, and other immigration requirements, are your responsibility and you should confirm these with the relevant Embassies and/or Consulates. We do not accept any responsibility if you cannot travel because you have not complied with any passport, visa or immigration requirements. Please allow adequate time to obtain any such advice or documents."

In other words, you booked a trip and didn't bother to check whether you had entry status .

ALL, YOUR, OWN, FAULT!

UK
posts: 43,978
reviews: 89
4. Re: NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

<<Now I appreciate it is our responsibility to ensure we have appropriate documentation for travel>>

It seems you DON'T appreciate it is YOUR responsibility, since you followed that with "...but ....." :-)

<<is it too much to expect that an agent gives you basic information regarding your flight before you buy such a costly holiday?>>

Yes it is too much too expect. They give you a warning that you should check out what visas and documentation is needed. And one very good reason for that is, once they give even basic information, then they will be on the hook legally should they be wrong, or you misunderstand, or there be a grey area.

<< Isn't that what you are paying commission for?>>

No, its not. They would (I guess) probably say they are cheaper, or more flexible, or something like that. I don't know, I don't use them. But, despite not using them, I'd be certain that "we will fix you via issues" is NOT one of the things they would say you are paying commission for.

Edited: 4:41 am, May 07, 2013
London, England...
posts: 9
5. Re: NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

Thank you kindly for your answers. It was only after we purchased the flights and in transit when we realised these 'conditions' existed at the end of our e-tickets.

I have found three international cases - UK, US and Australia that travel agents have a duty to advise PRIOR purchasing any tickets that the passenger needs to check documentation and visa requirements.

After purchasing non-refundable tickets, a small terms and conditions clause is just not enough to negate responsibility.

We tried to reschedule, we tried to come to an agreement with Flight Centre. But their response was 'sorry your trip to Mexico didn't work out.'

Edinburgh, United...
posts: 8,599
reviews: 15
6. Re: NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

"After purchasing non-refundable tickets, a small terms and conditions clause is just not enough to negate responsibility. "

Your opinion. I would have thought it would be common sense to check in advance that you have the necessary documents to travel.

London, England...
posts: 9
7. Re: NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

yes, it is a harsh harsh lesson learnt :-(

I thought a reschedule of some sort would at least be a fair compromise, not losing out completely and not being able to afford to go on holiday for the rest of the year.

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Air Travel
posts: 18,579
reviews: 5
8. Re: NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

>> I have found three international cases - UK, US and Australia that travel agents have a duty to advise PRIOR purchasing any tickets that the passenger needs to check documentation and visa requirements. <<

Oh deary me, you still don't get it do you.

When you buy tickets, you click a little button that says "I accept the terms and conditions". In other words, you have to read those T+C's BEFORE purchasing. You obviously didn't did you, because otherwise you wouldn't have said .... >>After purchasing non-refundable tickets, a small terms and conditions clause is just not enough to negate responsibility.<<

Melbourne
posts: 1,407
reviews: 7
9. Re: NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

"After purchasing non-refundable tickets, a small terms and conditions clause is just not enough to negate responsibility."

Purchasing ANY type of ticket involves you signing something, or ticking a box, that says you have read and agreed to the T&Cs attached to it.

You have no one to blame but yourself that you didn't actually read them or bother looking into the visa and passport requirements to travel to Brazil.

It also makes no difference that you claim to have found other information online. Read the FC T&Cs and you'll see what you agreed to - that visa requirements are your responsibility.

Sydney, Australia
Destination Expert
for Sydney, Bargain Travel, Food and Travel
posts: 18,948
reviews: 58
10. Re: NIGHTMARE buying flights from Flight Centre :-(

>>>After purchasing non-refundable tickets, a small terms and conditions clause is just not enough to negate responsibility<<<

Now the entire scenario is hinging on the size of the font? The clarity in which the T&C is displayed is not determined by size.