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Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

Washington...
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Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

I had such an atrocious and unacceptable experience with Vayama, despite numerous attempts to work with them to make it right. I'll try to be succinct, but here's the timeline:

March 1, 2017 - I log into Kayak and search for flights, they give me one through 'Vayama' for a decent price which looked good, so I booked my husband and I a round trip flight from DC (IAD) to Rome (FCO), with one stop in London each way. Departing the evening of 11/23, returning Monday 12/4. This was a 'Multiple Airlines' flight, combining Virgin Atlantic with British Airways (since Virgin didn't fly to Rome). Even though I thought I was dealing with Kayak, apparently now my ticket/booking belonged to Vayama. So be it, never heard of them but okay.

July through October, 2017 - I receive four separate notifications from Vayama of flight changes. The first two are innocuous, with adjustments of a few minutes on the departing flight(s). The third and fourth changes a) add a new stop in New York City between London and DC, b) add a ten hour layover in London, c) add a THIRD carrier - Delta Airlines - for the last leg from NY-DC, and d) add an additional overnight eleven hour layover in New York, now getting us back to DC an entire day later.

October 6, 2017 - I write Vayama and tell them this is unacceptable, that carrier adjustments are understandable but that this revised flight plan is absolutely nothing like the flight I purchased many months ago. After trying to give me the runaraound (Virgin won't give us any alternate flights, sorry), I contacted Virgin who told me they certainly WOULD work with them if they called Sales instead of some other department they suspected Vayama was calling. I pasted that email into the thread, and almost three weeks later I had a slightly better flight - still with an additional leg and third carrier, but with only an hour and a half layover in London and a three hour layover in NY. This all took until October 24th to figure out.

October 24, 2017 - I confirm the new flights with Vayama and after this hear nothing more from them.

November 23, 2017 - We fly from DC to Rome without a hitch.

December 4, 2017 - We check in on time at the airport in Rome and are told by British Airways that we are no longer on the 8am flight that we've been confirmed on since March, and that in fact we were apparently on some other flight the day before at 6:30pm. I triple check and I have NOTHING from Vayama about this change (every other time, I received a notification). I also cannot log into my Vayama account from my phone or my husband's (this is not new, as I'd had multiple failed login attempts from a computer browser in the past, where you log in and the progress ball just spins forever and never gives you your account details). I also sat on hold trying to get on the phone with Vayama, but never got through before British Airways 'fixed' our problem.

British Airways sat there for almost 40 minutes trying to figure out what Vayama did to make this mess, and finally reconfigured our flights so that we would now get in to NY at 2:40pm and have a nine hour layover, getting in to DC on a Delta flight at 11pm. I have yet to understand when, how or why this happened, or what the flights looked like before they finally fixed them. So I had to go with the broken Italian that the (very nice) British Airways employees were using to try and explain to me how my flight had changed. I asked how this could have happened and they said 'I have no idea. I've never seen a flight messed up this badly" (now in perfect English). They also suggested once we got to NY, we see if there's a way to get back on our original flight that was supposed to leave at 5pm, or even find another flight.

December 4th, 3pm - We are now ping-ponged incessantly between Delta, Virgin, and British Airways to figure out how we might try to get home at a decent hour. Delta informs us there are seats on a slightly earlier flight that would fly us into Reagan National (DCA) by 9pm. Reagan is closer to our house and this would have been much preferable to arriving to Dulles at 11pm, so we asked to be put on that flight, but they said 'only Virgin can make that change since this is a Virgin Atlantic confirmation number.' So we go upstairs and then get the runaround from Virgin, who says a) it is NOT their flight, it's British Airways' flight (??). So we call British Airways, who also inform us its not their flight either. The Delta people overhear this, and get ON the phone with British Airways to tell them they can clearly see in their system is IS in fact their flight. BA says no its not. Delta says 'f*ck it I'm going to see if we can just override this and get you on this earlier flight. In their system, apparently BA blocked them from doing so.

This entire time, I try three times to get Vayama on the phone, and TWICE we get to the point where I"m reading off my booking ID, and the line mysteriously disconnects (despite having crystal clear reception in the terminal).

I still have yet to determine how or why this happened. I've given up on trying to get a hold of Vayama directly because they apparently enjoy locking me out of my account and hanging up on me instead of addressing me directly. So instead I've been telling everyone I can to never, ever use them.

40 replies to this topic
Wiltshire, United...
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1. Re: Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

Always think hard before deciding not to book with an airline - then book with the airline

For example https://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/ShowTopic-g1-i…

London, United...
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325 reviews
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2. Re: Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzero sympathy.

You brought everything bad that happened upon yourself by choosing not to book direct with an airline, but to ask a third party to log onto a computer and cobble together an itinerary with many different airlines.

You actually did quite well with British Airways helping you as you were not their customer (Vayama was) - but key point is that as long as there are silly people who do/book things like this - and don't bother checking online about e.g. Vayama - then your warning is a waste of time.

Sorry if this sounds harsh, but it's surely common sense to book your tickets with an airline (instant confirmation, notice of changes sent direct to you) instead of putting a 3rd party between you and the airline.

London
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3. Re: Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

tl;dr but yours is another in a long line of whines about Vayama so like them, this one is destined for the (virtual) dustheap.

Washington...
7 posts
1 review
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4. Re: Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

I have to wonder if you folks who consistently get on any and all travel forums to berate anyone who dared use a third party booker for daring to 'not know' about booking with the airline directly understand that some people use third party bookers because that's the only way they can afford to travel? Do you get on city forums where people report criminal activity and say 'SERVES YOU RIGHT FOR NOT LIVING IN A WEALTHY AREA YOU IDIOT!'? I've gotten on airlines' sites and tried to book direct with them before after finding a decent fare on a third party site (probably at least 7-8 times). Not once has it been anything less than 30% higher (sometimes twice as high). My husband and I are 40 and we've only ever traveled overseas twice, because we aren't wealthy. Not ALL third party bookers are terrible, and they offer a service so that more of us can afford to fly. Sure some people are just entitled bargain hunters, but not all of us.

Orbitz, for example, offers the same kind of service but has never once steered us wrong and I've booked with them (for work flights as well as domestic travel) almost exclusively. They just didn't have anything to Rome this time, so I took a chance on another booker. I learned my lesson about THIS booker, but I'm not going to NOT add my voice to the mix just because there's a handful of you know-it-alls who feel the need to lecture anyone else who makes a mistake. Grow up. And have fun with your privileged life of constant travel. I'm happy for you, but leave the rest of us alone.

Leeds, United...
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for Leeds, Bradford
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5. Re: Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

"some people use third party bookers because that's the only way they can afford to travel?"

---

Which is why it is important to research who you use. I certainly can't afford to waste money by booking with a company I've not heard of, or not done any research into.

Washington...
7 posts
1 review
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6. Re: Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

Thanks Dad. I did research Vayama. And like almost every travel company out there, there are always SOME bad reviews. At some point you have to weigh what you can afford vs. your chances of it working out smoothly. Obviously not everyone who uses them has had my experience. I made a bet, and lost. And now I'm making sure that people know my story. Maybe there'd be more of these if people like you weren't getting on and lecturing everyone who posts about them. I'm not sure what your angle is - you just assume everyone is stupid, no one made an educated gamble, or you just don't want these companies to have proper accountability? Or you have a really burning desire to be right?

Vancouver, Canada
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for London
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7. Re: Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

'I log into Kayak and search for flights, they give me one through 'Vayama' for a decent price which looked good,' Oh. If you were offered a turkey for Christmas dinner that 'looked good' but had a best before date of 15 November, would you buy it?

'Even though I thought I was dealing with Kayak' Kayak is a search engine. Third party booking websites, some acceptable and some horrible, pay Kayak large sums of money to be listed/linked at their site.

'apparently now my ticket/booking belonged to Vayama. So be it, never heard of them but okay.' Yes, your ticket is owned by the third party when you ask them to act as your agent. However, having never heard of the company, did you not think five minutes of your time researching them would be helpful? If not, why not?

'some people use third party bookers because that's the only way they can afford to travel' A specious argument; third party booking sites can rarely offer a true savings.

'Not ALL third party bookers are terrible' Correct.

'and they offer a service so that more of us can afford to fly.' No. They offer a service so they can make money by doing something you could do yourself.

'I've gotten on airlines' sites and tried to book direct with them before after finding a decent fare on a third party site (probably at least 7-8 times). Not once has it been anything less than 30% higher (sometimes twice as high).' This is because the third party sites do not have live pricing. The little word 'from' next to those tempting low fares means is a nifty advertising get out that snookers a lot of people into believing what the website claims.

London, United...
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8. Re: Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

+1 to the above. The truth is often unpalatable, however.

Berkshire, England
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9. Re: Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

Stephanie. If you care to look, this forum is awash with posts about third parties and the problems people have had booking with them. So....masses of people do come on here to complain about them! There are more and more posts on here every day with warnings!

You might also be interested to know that one "staff" member of the shonky third party site Bravofly " has over 3,000 posts to their name.....replying to unhappy customers.

London
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10. Re: Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

I'm more than happy to leave you alone. As you will be soon when this drifts down the pages to be superseded by the next one with a 'warning'.. As said before another in a long line who blames everyone but themselves for their misfortune. You either need to travel less if you're so hard up or wise up a tad and use better companies (whether other agents or airlines).

Buy cheap, pay dear but you're right, not my problem thankfully.

Edited: 2:05 pm, December 11, 2017
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