I’m off to the USA soon – mainly to catch up with people, do a little photography – or what I call my October break,
However, I’d had my fair share of fun sorting out a ticket – mainly as prices have been fluctuating wildly (even though there’s a sale in progress), and the final insult which I got today when booked the ticket.
The travel agent in question? TravelBag
In good faith, I’d been poking around Kayak for decent fares to the USA (as British Airways and American were showing silly £660 return fares). And I found a tasty route in my searches.
Well, tasty as tasty gets for me.
Tasty! (I’ve redacted the dates out of this…).
Simple enough – Out to Madrid on a BA A321, A330 to Chicago. On the way back, A340-500 to Madrid and BA clapped out 767 to London.
Then the clanger drop once I clicked book.
Pardon me? Within 72 hours to ticket and confirm a booking?
A bit of investigation – because getting through to their on-line support team is akin to getting the holy grail (goes to answer phone… and at 13p a minute plus network access charges) – and I discovered that my credit card company had declined the transaction.
Which… is downright suspicious. My provider – MBNA – can be cautious, but rejecting a transaction outright when I had plenty of credit isn’t like them.
The agent then promptly cut me off when they tried to search for the ticket.
Hmm. Suspicious. I slept on it for a night and try again the next day.
Next day, I gave the credit card company a ring – to put it bluntly, I was concerned. Turned out there was no hit on the MasterCard 3D Secure system, and the transaction should had been authorised, with blame being on TravelBag.
Now I was seriously concerned.
Another futile effort of contacting TravelBag, and I finally got a human. Whilst they didn’t admit their payment systems weren’t responding, they did admit they could no longer see the fare I wanted.
The agent tried to sell me a direct fare (initially on Virgin, then on American… but in the end – I was sick of the amazing smell of crap that was coming my way).
In the end who do I book with? British Airways directly. A case of a Diamond Club discount and the cheap fares appearing finally.
As for TravelBag… would I give them any business again… or recommend them to anyone?
That’s a big fat NO – in this writer’s opinion.
No chance I’ll book with them again.
TravelBag are too unreliable, and they love to take their time to communicate with the customer. Backed up with zero response from online requests and possible mis-sale of fares… I can’t recommend them to anyone.
A lot of online travel agents are fine, and happily syndicate their fares to the masses… however this needs to be matched with the actual availability and the ability to deliver a ticket.
And TravelBag failed miserably in this .
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