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Justfly left me in Vientiane, Laos without ticket flight to get home in the USA.

Discussion in 'Travel agencies' started by Edouard, Mar 20, 2017.

  1. Edouard

    Joined:
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    October 29, 2016, I bought a flight ticket with the Justfly agency for going to Laos on 11/29/16 and then return to Minneapolis on 27/12/2016. The flight should take Delta airline, then Korean airline, and then also Lao airline to arrive in Vientiane Laos. For the return, it was scheduled to take: Lao airline, Korean airline and then American airline to get Minneapolis. The first day of my departure, Delta Airline canceled my flight from Minneapolis St Paul to New York because it was snowing in New York. At the exit of the airplane, I asked Delta employees if there is a replacement flight for me to get New York before 12:00 AM and they told me to review with Justfly.com

    I spent the entire night of 11/29/16 making calls to Justfly without any result. Justfly’s customer service representatives told me to call Korean Airline because this ticket is supposedly firm or canceled so Justfly is not responsible for the problem that has occurred to me. It's up to me to call and negotiate with Korean airline. After hours of calls to Justfly and Korean airline company, I then got a Korean agent. She helped me to call Justfly in conference call, then convinced a manager who is working for Justfly to book another flight from MSP via Paris (France) - Hanoi (Vietnam) - to arrive to my destination of Vientiane (Laos). What costed me is a day of delay compared to what was originally planned.

    .
    On my return, I unfortunately missed my flight because of scheduled time which was not clear on my reservation. The schedule is marked as military time, but is time using in North America. On the reservation voucher, it was marked 12:30 AM instead of 00:30 AM. If it is marked 00:30 AM on my flight reservation, I would not miss my flight, but it was typing 12:30 AM. When I showed up at the airport at 10:00 AM, Lao airline employees told me that my plane had already left in the morning at 00.30AM

    I asked the Lao airline company if they could find another place for me to join Seoul, South Korea, a manager of the Lao airline company did not refuse me but if she allowed me a place, I could not catch the plane that will take off from Seoul to Minneapolis at 10:40 AM.

    The rest, do you see my drama? I spent almost three days making calls to Justfly and Korean airline without result. Whenever I call Justfly agency in the United States, either the communication is cut or the agent could not do anything for me because there is no flight available for me. The only way they can do for me is to buy another ticket with them. Otherwise, I have to wait until the ended of January 2017 or more. Do you see the difference between buying a new ticket with them, seat places are available immediately overnight or the next days, but when it comes to finding another flight with the ticket I bought with them, there are no seat available until the ended of January 2017.

    .
    I have a job waiting for me in Minnesota, so I cannot wait a month or until the end of the month to return to the United States. To keep my job, then I bought another ticket with the money of my pocket. This ticket costs me $ 1,680.95 to get home in Minnesota. With the expenses I made in Vientiane for the Bus and taxi round trips and also calls that I made to Justfly and Korean air line in three days to get a flight, it costed me a little more than $300.00



    Now I want Jusfly to refund me half of my ticket that I bought with them $1,376.08 and then the whole price of the ticket I bought with the money from my pocket to get home from Laos as well as the fees of expenditure of $300.00 In all, I want Just Fly to pay me $ 2,668.94 ($668.04+$1,680.95+$300.00) to cover my expenses.

    Today, we’re March 20, 2017, Justfly doesn’t respond anything about my claim to me although I have filed a complaint with the Attorney General of Minnesota and another complaint with BBB, Oakland, CA. Both agencies have sent letters to Justfly, but no one of them has received a response yet.

    Does anyone have an idea for me what to do, I’d thank and appreciate.


    Thanks,

    Edouard
     
    #1
  2. technomage1

    Staff Member Forum Director

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    What a mess all around.

    First, we do not recommend using online travel agencies because if a problem does occur then they - as you found out - are unresponsive. Brick and mortar TAs or direct booking with the airlines are comparable in price if not cheaper. Something to kep in mind your next trip.

    Second, let's talk about time. Military time is based in a 24 hour clock starting at midnight. So midnight is 0000 (or 2400, though it is never referred to as such by convention), noon is 1200. AM and PM are not used. Civilian time equivalent would be 12:00 AM (midnight) and 12:00 PM (noon) respectively.

    Your flight departure was at 0030 military time or 12:30 AM. Flights leaving 1/2 hour after noon would be at 12:30 PM or 1230. Why they used the AM and a colon in 00:30 AM I don't know (perhaps an effort to be clearer), but the 00:30 part indicates correctly a flight leaving 1/2 hour after midnight and would be crystal clear to anyone used to using military time or a 24 hour clock (which some places do). Your ticket was therefore correct and unfortunately this means you were a no show.

    I would suggest writing to justify using our first executive contact in the company contacts above and explaining the issue you had departing and throwing yourself at their mercy for the return flight fiasco. They're not going to refund your money or pay for your return you had to book, but may offer something like a credit back.

    Wait a week, if the executive doesn't respond move to the next one. Don't start with the CEO and don't write them all at once. You may not get a response due to your AG and BBB complaints - companies tend only to respond to those when filed and shut off communication with the consumer, but its worth a try.

    Good luck.
     
    #2
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2017
  3. Neil

    Neil Moderator
    Staff Member Advocate

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    #3
    krisseye and honestpointofview like this.
  4. Grandma

    Joined:
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    A couple of remarks:
    Lao airlines uses very straightforward 24 hour clock:
    http://www.laoairlines.com/image/modBannerAds/file_3857_S 2017.pdf
    If you try to book, it spells out again:
    For example: Departure 00:50 (VTE) - Arrival: 07:05 (ICN)
    Regardless what kind of travel agency you use (though I would not recommend any on-line one), it is recommended to check your flights on the airlines own page. (For check-in, for baggage allowance etc.)

    You bought a cheap non-refundable, non-changeable ticket. As a courtesy, Lao airline offered you another ticket in your fare class. Probably Korean Airline did not have ticket in your fare class.
     
    #4
    jsn55, Neil and krisseye like this.
  5. Kahhss

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    Edouard,

    Ugh. There are two problems here.

    The first is that JustFly has a well deserved bad reputation. They're non responsive on the best of days. So even if you were actually due compensation it would be like pulling teeth to get it. Moreover you purchased a non-refundable and non-changeable ticket through them - the cheapest, least flexible ticket you can purchase.

    The second is that you missed your flight. Whether it's 0:30 or 12:30 AM, that's the same time and I don't think that it was the fault of the ticket or the carrier. It's sad to say but you showed up to the airport 10 hours late and that's your error. With many carriers if you're a no-show you forfeit the value of the ticket. It's not a credit minus change fees. It's gone. A good TA would go to bat for you to try to get you some credit on the unused portion. Unfortunately, JustFly is not that kind of TA. In fact, they're not a TA. They're a ticket consolidator. So no, they probably didn't have any more tickets to fly until January 2017.

    So it's an unfortunate circumstance and I hate giving bad news but you're not owed anything. There is no chance that JustFly is going to refund you $2,668.94 because you missed your flight. If JustFly responds to the AG or the BBB they're simply going to say you were a no-show for your flight and now you want them to pay it.

    Feel free to follow Technomage's advice - it can't hurt to ask - but I would not hold out much hope for it. This is probably just going to be a very expensive lesson. I'm sorry we can't suggest any other course of action but I don't see another way forward.
     
    #5
    Neil, honestpointofview and krisseye like this.
  6. Edouard

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    • Q. Last year, I bought two round-trip tickets to Kenya from JustFly, an online service that finds inexpensive flights. A few days before my 5-year-old daughter and I were about to fly out in December, I learned that our return tickets had inexplicably been canceled. I spent the next two weeks in Nairobi frantically trying to rebook our tickets, spending hour upon hour on expensive international calls trying to get help from JustFly.

      Agents there said I needed to contact United, the airline we were flying on. United agents said I needed to contact JustFly.

      Round I went, day after day, racking up nearly $400 in phone bills. Instead of enjoying what was intended as a vacation to see family and attend my brother’s wedding, I was in a state of panic.

      Continue reading the main story
      The Haggler[/paste:font]
      Helping aggrieved consumers for more than six-tenths of a decade.
      See More »


      Finally, I was forced to buy two new tickets, for a total of $2,000, a week later than our originally scheduled return. I lost a week’s worth of pay — I’m a nurse — and my daughter missed a week’s worth of school, which drew a rebuke from her superintendent.

      After many calls, United sent me a check for $750, the cost of our original homebound tickets, and JustFly sent me a check for $1,100. That doesn’t quite add up to $2,000, of course, and I don’t expect I’ll be made whole for this ordeal, which was emotional as well as financial. But at minimum, I’d like people to know what happened.

      Carol Kamau Macungie, Pa.

      A. Some background about JustFly. It states on its very professional-looking site, in its “About Us” section, that it is “second to none when it comes to issuing low-cost tickets efficiently in a user-friendly environment.”

      Many customers offer a different, less flattering, description. The Better Business Bureau in Canada, where JustFly is based, posted an alert about the company, citing a pattern of complaints that include “failure to provide promised assistance or support for products or services.” Worse, the company failed to respond to the B.B.B. to address these issues. And to add a hint of mystery, a news report about the B.B.B. alert, published in a Canadian newspaper last year, said that efforts to contact the owners of JustFly had been unsuccessful. It was even unclear where the company was based.

      The Haggler loves the elusive ones, he really does. He started by calling the company’s 800 number and speaking to a woman who claimed she was at the company’s headquarters in Prince Edward Island. Unfortunately, she was unable to connect the Haggler to anyone other than an unnamed supervisor, who could return a call in “two to three hours.”

      This offered a brief and unpleasant glimpse into Ms. Kamau’s experience (seriously, two hours?). The Haggler declined the offer and enlisted the assistance of an ace researcher at The New York Times, Kitty Bennett, who quickly found United States business registrations for JustFly in various states, all of which listed the company’s address as Rocky Hill, Conn. According to the filing in Massachusetts, the president, treasurer and director of the company is Douglas Helal. According to Ms. Bennett, there is only one Douglas Helal in the United States.

      Efforts to reach Mr. Helal, with messages left on a JustFly phone number with a Connecticut area code, and his email address at WFSB, a Rocky Hill television news station where he is listed as a digital sales manager, yielded nothing. Well, not quite nothing. (The station has no connection to JustFly.) Someone identified as Peter Ford, part of “JustFly Customer Care,” wrote to the Haggler and asked if he could help. (He had evidently received the Haggler’s email from Mr. Helal.) The Haggler forwarded Ms. Kamau’s letter. Mr. Ford then wrote to Ms. Kamau, asking for more details.

      Then things got interesting. On Monday, a man named Nick Hart called the Haggler. He said that he was the chief financial officer of a company called Momentum Ventures, based in Montreal, which owns JustFly. It turns out that while Mr. Helal is, indeed, the president of JustFly, he is an employee, hired primarily to give Momentum an agent in the United States.

      Under the “Our Strategy” section of Momentum’s self-congratulatory website it says, “We tackle every business decision with enthusiasm and we live the work that we do.” This enthusiasm does not seem to extend to customer service.

      Mr. Hart put up a spirited, even defiant defense of JustFly. This included a request that the Haggler cease “harassing” Mr. Helal, which seems an unfair description of what was merely an effort to get a comment from someone who the Haggler assumed ran the company. On a more conciliatory note, Mr. Hart said that JustFly needed to hire more phone representatives because it was more popular than originally expected.

      “We’re trying to ramp up the number of agents,” he said.

      That is a fine start. As for how Ms. Kamau ended up with a canceled return flight from Kenya, Mr. Ford, the JustFly customer service agent, said in an email that was not JustFly’s fault. So whose fault was it? Swiss International Air Lines, he wrote, which handled a portion of that return flight.

      The airline investigated the issue for a couple of days and on Thursday wrote to say “You’ve got to be kidding.” Actually, a public relations representative was more diplomatic. She just stated that the culprit was a travel agency, which, citing privacy issues, she would not name.

      The Haggler could spend the next three months untangling precisely what went wrong with Ms. Kamau’s return ticket. But that would make him sad. Suffice it to say, JustFly asked Ms. Kamau to send receipts detailing her expenses during her extra week in Kenya, which she did. This included a $1,400 bill for housing and food, though not her lost wages or phone bills.

      For days, Mr. Ford said JustFly was mulling over whether to reimburse Ms. Kamau. For days, he deflected the Haggler’s nudges for a decision. He also declined to answer this still unresolved question: “Where is JustFly based?”

      As of press time, Ms. Kamau had heard nothing from the company. The Haggler is left to assume that JustFly and Momentum believe that they live in a post-consequences corporate world, a realm where so many people jump on low fares and become new customers that an unflattering performance in this space doesn’t really matter.

      An update next time. For now, bargain-hunting fliers, consider yourself warned.



    Finally, I was forced to buy two new tickets, for a total of $2,000, a week later than our originally scheduled return. I lost a week’s worth of pay — I’m a nurse — and my daughter missed a week’s worth of school, which drew a rebuke from her superintendent.

    After many calls, United sent me a check for $750, the cost of our original homebound tickets, and JustFly sent me a check for $1,100. That doesn’t quite add up to $2,000, of course, and I don’t expect I’ll be made whole for this ordeal, which was emotional as well as financial. But at minimum, I’d like people to know what happened.

    Carol Kamau Macungie, Pa.

    A. Some background about JustFly. It states on its very professional-looking site, in its “About Us” section, that it is “second to none when it comes to issuing low-cost tickets efficiently in a user-friendly environment.”

    Many customers offer a different, less flattering, description. The Better Business Bureau in Canada, where JustFly is based, posted an alert about the company, citing a pattern of complaints that include “failure to provide promised assistance or support for products or services.” Worse, the company failed to respond to the B.B.B. to address these issues. And to add a hint of mystery, a news report about the B.B.B. alert, published in a Canadian newspaper last year, said that efforts to contact the owners of JustFly had been unsuccessful. It was even unclear where the company was based.

    The Haggler loves the elusive ones, he really does. He started by calling the company’s 800 number and speaking to a woman who claimed she was at the company’s headquarters in Prince Edward Island. Unfortunately, she was unable to connect the Haggler to anyone other than an unnamed supervisor, who could return a call in “two to three hours.”

    This offered a brief and unpleasant glimpse into Ms. Kamau’s experience (seriously, two hours?). The Haggler declined the offer and enlisted the assistance of an ace researcher at The New York Times, Kitty Bennett, who quickly found United States business registrations for JustFly in various states, all of which listed the company’s address as Rocky Hill, Conn. According to the filing in Massachusetts, the president, treasurer and director of the company is Douglas Helal. According to Ms. Bennett, there is only one Douglas Helal in the United States.

    Efforts to reach Mr. Helal, with messages left on a JustFly phone number with a Connecticut area code, and his email address at WFSB, a Rocky Hill television news station where he is listed as a digital sales manager, yielded nothing. Well, not quite nothing. (The station has no connection to JustFly.) Someone identified as Peter Ford, part of “JustFly Customer Care,” wrote to the Haggler and asked if he could help. (He had evidently received the Haggler’s email from Mr. Helal.) The Haggler forwarded Ms. Kamau’s letter. Mr. Ford then wrote to Ms. Kamau, asking for more details.

    Then things got interesting. On Monday, a man named Nick Hart called the Haggler. He said that he was the chief financial officer of a company called Momentum Ventures, based in Montreal, which owns JustFly. It turns out that while Mr. Helal is, indeed, the president of JustFly, he is an employee, hired primarily to give Momentum an agent in the United States.

    Under the “Our Strategy” section of Momentum’s self-congratulatory website it says, “We tackle every business decision with enthusiasm and we live the work that we do.” This enthusiasm does not seem to extend to customer service.

    Mr. Hart put up a spirited, even defiant defense of JustFly. This included a request that the Haggler cease “harassing” Mr. Helal, which seems an unfair description of what was merely an effort to get a comment from someone who the Haggler assumed ran the company. On a more conciliatory note, Mr. Hart said that JustFly needed to hire more phone representatives because it was more popular than originally expected.

    “We’re trying to ramp up the number of agents,” he said.

    That is a fine start. As for how Ms. Kamau ended up with a canceled return flight from Kenya, Mr. Ford, the JustFly customer service agent, said in an email that was not JustFly’s fault. So whose fault was it? Swiss International Air Lines, he wrote, which handled a portion of that return flight.

    The airline investigated the issue for a couple of days and on Thursday wrote to say “You’ve got to be kidding.” Actually, a public relations representative was more diplomatic. She just stated that the culprit was a travel agency, which, citing privacy issues, she would not name.

    The Haggler could spend the next three months untangling precisely what went wrong with Ms. Kamau’s return ticket. But that would make him sad. Suffice it to say, JustFly asked Ms. Kamau to send receipts detailing her expenses during her extra week in Kenya, which she did. This included a $1,400 bill for housing and food, though not her lost wages or phone bills.

    For days, Mr. Ford said JustFly was mulling over whether to reimburse Ms. Kamau. For days, he deflected the Haggler’s nudges for a decision. He also declined to answer this still unresolved question: “Where is JustFly based?”

    As of press time, Ms. Kamau had heard nothing from the company. The Haggler is left to assume that JustFly and Momentum believe that they live in a post-consequences corporate world, a realm where so many people jump on low fares and become new customers that an unflattering performance in this space doesn’t really matter.

    An update next time. For now, bargain-hunting fliers, consider yourself warned.
     
    #6
  7. Hamid

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    O sorry about that man
     
    #7
  8. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    If people just did some research BEFORE they booked with these companies they would put these companies out of business. But alas, people look for cheap and this is what happens.
     
    #8
    jsn55 likes this.
  9. George M

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    @Neil I agree wholeheartedly with what you wrote (I think) but it appears that your thumbs are too big to be writing messages on your phone. "putbtuese?!"
     
    #9
  10. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    Where is predictive text when you need it?
    Thanks, fixed.
     
    #10
  11. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

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    This post seems like a little novel with stuff cut and pasted into the middle, I couldn't get through it. But the bottom line is that travellers need to stop using the internet to book travel. Anyone can - and they do - post anything on the internet. There's little regulation and their first expenditure is on a slick website. They write their own reviews, they're answerable to nobody. A very wise woman once told me "Never buy a ticket on an airline you never heard of". Just stay away from this, it's a sure loser.
     
    #11
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