Flight Centre experience :(

Status
Not open for further replies.

dougieboy

Intern
Joined
Apr 19, 2011
Messages
97
Points
170
I took advantage of buying a prem economy ticket on special in May for travel BNE-JFK, instead of usually booking the ticket online through the Qantas website. I had to cancel the ticket on the 20th July, and was advised intially 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, I gave FC a call and was advised it can take up to 12 weeks to refund! Gave qantas a call and they confirmed the funds were released back to the company on the 27th July (5 business days). The qantas rep took the time to explain had I booked with them I would have received the funds 2-5 working days in my bank account less the cancel fee. I appreciate that a few weeks for processing time for each company is fair and reasonable, however when FC agent tells you the funds are still with Qantas and not on the desk of the accounts payable department clerk, and the cancellation charge is $500, I'll book direct with the airline next time. Oh and I'm still waiting for my refund, and received no calls from agent as to where its at.

Have never used flight centre before, and I don't think I ever will again. The cancellation fee seems a bit high too, I bought a T ticket on premium economy and I can't see how it would cost that much ($300 in the t&c's for QF, the rest as FC), but again, I was told the entire lot was for the qantas cancellation charge. Wondered if I was just lied to by the FC agent. I booked and paid tickets on AA for US domestic flights and was able to obtain a 12 month credit (mix of first and economy bookings).

Keen to hear other people's experiences when cancelling their ticket please with FC. Maybe, hopefully its just a once off?
 
AMX001595_Travel-Insider_1100x260

Globetrotter

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
320
Points
5
I took advantage of buying a prem economy ticket on special in May for travel BNE-JFK, instead of usually booking the ticket online through the Qantas website. I had to cancel the ticket on the 20th July, and was advised intially 2 weeks. After 2 weeks, I gave FC a call and was advised it can take up to 12 weeks to refund! Gave qantas a call and they confirmed the funds were released back to the company on the 27th July (5 business days). The qantas rep took the time to explain had I booked with them I would have received the funds 2-5 working days in my bank account less the cancel fee. I appreciate that a few weeks for processing time for each company is fair and reasonable, however when FC agent tells you the funds are still with Qantas and not on the desk of the accounts payable department clerk, and the cancellation charge is $500, I'll book direct with the airline next time. Oh and I'm still waiting for my refund, and received no calls from agent as to where its at.

Have never used flight centre before, and I don't think I ever will again. The cancellation fee seems a bit high too, I bought a T ticket on premium economy and I can't see how it would cost that much ($300 in the t&c's for QF, the rest as FC), but again, I was told the entire lot was for the qantas cancellation charge. Wondered if I was just lied to by the FC agent. I booked and paid tickets on AA for US domestic flights and was able to obtain a 12 month credit (mix of first and economy bookings).

Keen to hear other people's experiences when cancelling their ticket please with FC. Maybe, hopefully its just a once off?

You live and you learn! I worked for FCL many years ago and hated the company culture and could not wait to leave. They will do everything in their power to rip customers and corporate clients off to ensure staff receive maximum commission payments. Flight Centre seldom are the cheapest yet they'll bend over backwards to get your business by price matching - "lowest fares guaranteed" my foot. Airlines used to complain to me in corporate meetings about FCL inflating nett fares above RRP for SME clients, this was in response to FCL corporate clients phoning the airline direct questioning why their special corporate fares cost more via FCL than regular J fares through independent travel agencies. Whilst we all know RRP is only recommended prices, we're all brainwashed with their "we won't be beaten on price" marketing campaign so assume FCL will always offer the lowest price. Simply not true.

Your refund delay is probably due to their lengthy internal processes to ensure the 'profit' from your booking is applied to the relevent cost code so that it is offset against the staff member or department who was originally paid the commission.

I agree, don't use them again.
 

NM

Enthusiast
Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
16,389
Points
1,295
Qantas
LT Gold
Virgin
Red
Ouch! That is a very hard way to find out that some travel agents do not provide any additional value, and in many case can be adding significant cost when compared with dealing directly with the airlines.

A good travel agent is a great asset. A poor travel agent is a big liability. Dishonesty from a travel agent is unacceptable in my opinion.
 

blu

Active Member
Joined
Oct 8, 2004
Messages
803
Points
270
I noticed they were listed in the 10 Worst Performing shares, in last Fridays SMH Business section.
 

dougieboy

Intern
Joined
Apr 19, 2011
Messages
97
Points
170
Thanks Globetrotter for the insider info. If it's a commission thing then I can understand it can take 4-6 weeks time lag, but if I have to wait the 12 weeks I'm sure it will breed contempt from this consumer. It's the honesty thing that gets me, FC should have been upfront and tell the reason like you stated, instead of palming it off as QF has still got the funds. At least I'm not in the dark about it anymore. "Lowest standards guarenteed!" You betcha. Oh and the fare paid was $4,157 incl credit charge fee. Qantas dropped the fare a few weeks later so guess who felt like the village idiot lol. Live and learn indeed.
 

Katie

Established Member
Joined
Sep 21, 2009
Messages
1,701
Points
580
We changed routing on flights to the US in 2010 that had been booked with FCL. We were flying Y+, at time of booking not available ex-BNE. But about 4-6weeks before, Y+ seating was avail on QF15/16 (& as a bonus, in Skybeds!!). We re-routed, at a change cost of something like $300-$400pp. Worth it for securing the Skybeds. BUT completely excessive otherwise.

If you're looking to book through a TA again, I have a recommendation. ;)
 
Now with contactless delivery, shop online to get drinks delivered to your door or pick up in-store in 30 minutes. Lowest Liquor Price Guarantee. Biggest Range.

AFF Supporters can remove this and all advertisements

Globetrotter

Member
Joined
Dec 29, 2008
Messages
320
Points
5
Thanks Globetrotter for the insider info. If it's a commission thing then I can understand it can take 4-6 weeks time lag, but if I have to wait the 12 weeks I'm sure it will breed contempt from this consumer. It's the honesty thing that gets me, FC should have been upfront and tell the reason like you stated, instead of palming it off as QF has still got the funds. At least I'm not in the dark about it anymore. "Lowest standards guarenteed!" You betcha. Oh and the fare paid was $4,157 incl credit charge fee. Qantas dropped the fare a few weeks later so guess who felt like the village idiot lol. Live and learn indeed.

In the old days airlines indeed took up to 12 weeks to process refunds but that was back when everything was done manually (paper tickets, IATA weekly reports and so on). Automation has come a long way since and refunds are now processed within days, not weeks, depending on the efficiency of the airline of course. I cancelled an international ticket last week that I booked direct with Qantas and the refund appeared on my credit card statement in 2 days. If you book travel via an agent you will always incur their change and cancellation fees ontop of what the airlines impose. Sometimes you have to way up whether saving a few bob booking via an agent versus direct is really worth it in the event of an unfortunate change or cancellation to your booking once ticketed. I too took advantage of the recent qantas J international sale and could of saved $100 if booked via travel.com.au but when I read their fees for changes and cancellations it wasn't worth it.

Back to FCL. Their staff always provide exceptional service (remember a sale makes up a good chuck of their wages). But once you cough up your no longer important and certainly anything you ask for after this point is not a priority unless there is an upsell opportunity in it for them.
 

airbridge

Intern
Joined
Mar 15, 2010
Messages
94
Points
0
I recently used a travel agent who went broke and I then found out they didn't pay for my travel insurance. I'm now claiming it from a special fund setup for this type of thing.

No reason to use travel agents. Not needed any more and can't be trusted. I suspect many more will go broke and if they fail to pay airline you're in big trouble.
 

Must...Fly!

Established Member
Joined
Jan 12, 2010
Messages
4,626
Points
700
Qantas
Bronze
Virgin
Platinum
No reason to use travel agents. Not needed any more and can't be trusted. I suspect many more will go broke and if they fail to pay airline you're in big trouble.
Many people have many valid and varying reasons for using TAs And also you have made a very large generalisation about the industry which contains many legitimate, knowledgeable people doing very good work.
 

Timba-Jet

Active Member
Joined
Apr 19, 2009
Messages
770
Points
305
Many people have many valid and varying reasons for using TAs And also you have made a very large generalisation about the industry which contains many legitimate, knowledgeable people doing very good work.

Nicely put. I don't use a TA, partly because I enjoy doing the research and planning myself. But for many people they don't have the time or would be happy to pay a bit extra for a TA to do the hard work and take care of things.

It all comes down to finding a good TA and also understanding their acres fees (if any).
 

eosphoros

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2011
Messages
293
Points
10
No reason to use travel agents. Not needed any more and can't be trusted. I suspect many more will go broke and if they fail to pay airline you're in big trouble.

I do most of my booking direct, however, there are times that a specific fare I want is not accessible directly, and so, I have to book it with a travel agent. This has only happened twice and I have just popped down to the local Flight Centre with the exact flights that I want. Haven't tried any local independent TA's yet but next time I need a complex fare booked, I think I will! FC quoted me double the price listed in the fare rules for cancellation and rebooking fees! At least the agent I was dealing with was quite up front about it, saying that their ticketing centre takes that extra cut!
 

ftm

Active Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
633
Solutions
1
Points
10
Just wondering what people's thoughts are on what the reasonable cancellation fee by FC would be?

Yes, the QF fee is $300, but if FC only charged $300 then they would get no payment at all for their work booking and refunding the ticket...



Sent from my HTC Velocity 4G using AustFreqFly
 

eosphoros

Member
Joined
Jul 5, 2011
Messages
293
Points
10
FC quoted me $500 for cancellation, $110 for change. I would be more okay with half that: $400 for cancellation, $85 for change.
 

NM

Enthusiast
Moderator
Joined
Aug 27, 2004
Messages
16,389
Points
1,295
Qantas
LT Gold
Virgin
Red
Just wondering what people's thoughts are on what the reasonable cancellation fee by FC would be?

Yes, the QF fee is $300, but if FC only charged $300 then they would get no payment at all for their work booking and refunding the ticket...



Sent from my HTC Velocity 4G using AustFreqFly
What work did they do for you? Make an on-line booking for you? That would be about 5 mins work, so worth maybe $5-$10. I would think the extra time they had been investing my money before refunding would be their "fee".
 

ftm

Active Member
Joined
Feb 19, 2011
Messages
633
Solutions
1
Points
10
$10 is probably a little unrepresentative of the time spent by the TA, given it also has to cover the time spent booking, researching etc at the front end of the process.

Qantas have effectively provided no service, or product, but $300 seems to be okay for them to charge?



Sent from my GT-P7510 using AustFreqFly
 

Berlin

Established Member
Joined
Mar 31, 2011
Messages
1,699
Points
470
Travel agents= Dinosaurs, destined to (finally!) get extinct. If fare rules on international flights were not damn non-transparent to the layman and complicated (and mostly also left over from the dinosaur days -telexes anyone?), they'd be gone already.

I do understand that some very busy people value the time savings and are willing to pay for it but that's rather a niche market in my eyes. I also understand that there are a lot of idiots out there who need "help" with booking a domestic flight. But hey, each to their own!
 

mannej

Senior Member
Joined
Mar 16, 2009
Messages
9,841
Solutions
4
Points
985
Travel agents= Dinosaurs, destined to (finally!) get extinct. If fare rules on international flights were not damn non-transparent to the layman and complicated (and mostly also left over from the dinosaur days -telexes anyone?), they'd be gone already.

I do understand that some very busy people value the time savings and are willing to pay for it but that's rather a niche market in my eyes. I also understand that there are a lot of idiots out there who need "help" with booking a domestic flight. But hey, each to their own!

Just because someone is not computer literate, it doesn't make them an idiot.

There are those who believe a good travel agent is worth their weight in gold.
 

harvyk

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 15, 2009
Messages
6,811
Points
980
Qantas
Gold
As someone who used to use FC frequently, I have found my experiences to be very mixed, and very dependent on the specific person.

A good FC TA will get you the best seats on the plane (prior to being able to do it online), the best hotels in the area's you need to be in, will be knowledgeable about an area or alternatively say upfront if they are not, and most important of all, the absolute best price.

A bad FC TA will be the exact opposite, the worst hotels in the area's you'd normally avoid like the plague (lets just say, it was a couple of scary nights and leave it at that, about the only redeeming feature was if I needed my midnight cocaine fix, I didn't need to travel far), pretend to be knowledgeable about an area where in fact they are simply making BS up on the spot, and will then quote a price for their "service" which you'll only stop laughing at when you realise they are serious.

The problem is FC seems to be a natural entry point into the industry, and they don't appear to have overly high standards on who they will hire. Which means that you'll get both good and bad ones there.
I would still use them, but I would both already have a quote in hand, and it would be to simply link flights together on a more complex itinerary. I would not be overly reliant on their "advice".
 

Oneworldplus2

Established Member
Joined
Mar 15, 2008
Messages
2,939
Points
525
$10 is probably a little unrepresentative of the time spent by the TA, given it also has to cover the time spent booking, researching etc at the front end of the process.

Qantas have effectively provided no service, or product, but $300 seems to be okay for them to charge?



Sent from my GT-P7510 using AustFreqFly

I knew a girl who worked at FC and she said that some agents get commissions as low as 0.50c - $5 range for a simple SYD-BNE QF Flight. Cut throat industry. I try to purchase direct from airlines websites, however, l never have difficult routings.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top