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Avoid travel traps

You don’t want to read about travel horror stories - but checking the fine print first can make for a more relaxing holiday.

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Business class?

A member booked a holiday for two on Hawaiian Airlines to Hawaii using Flight Centre. They paid an extra $1375 to fly business class. Unfortunately, at the airport they were told they had to fly cattle class because that’s what they’d been booked in – not business class.

When they got back, Flight Centre offered them a refund for the difference between business and economy class and the issue was resolved.

A “five-night” holiday?

An Upper Hutt family booked and paid $6500 for a “five-night” package holiday to Rarotonga. Then they realised that their itinerary was only for a four-night stay, plus a 6pm checkout from their hotel to catch a 1:45am flight.

They contacted their travel agent (Flight Centre), who added an extra night’s accommodation. But their flights weren’t changed to match – and so they were stranded and had to pay $3700 to fly back to New Zealand.

Flight Centre apologised and repaid the family’s emergency fares.

Read the terms and conditions

Another member got caught out buying a holiday through travel website eDreams New Zealand. He bought airfares including baggage on the eDreams New Zealand website before finding out from the airline (Virgin) that his airfares weren’t available with checked baggage.

On our advice, the member got his ASB Visa credit card transactions reversed and hopes to book flights soon for a February holiday.

Always check a travel site’s terms and conditions. eDreams is a Spanish company and according to its website your contract with it comes under the jurisdiction of the courts of Barcelona. So for any serious problem you could be up for a trip to a Barcelona court to be heard!

We say

When buying a holiday through a third party such as a travel agent or a website, check the terms and conditions of the actual travel operator (the airline or accommodation provider). Booking directly with the airline or accommodation can sometimes mean more peace of mind.

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