Cancelled ticket - StudentUniverse/Arkia

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Aug 22, 2019
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#1
Looking for some insight here.

In May, I arranged for a ticket for my daughter to travel from London to Tel Aviv on 8/26 (one way). It was a stand alone ticket purchased so that if other plans changed, her other travel legs (or this) were independent of each other. The ticket was purchased via StudentUniverse on Arkia Airlines.

At the beginning of July, the airlines informed me (both directly and via the agent) that the flight was cancelled. I was offered the option of a refund or accepting an alternative flight on British Airways for the same day. I accepted the replacement itinerary offered (through the agent so that all parties were aware).

I expected that the change would be addressed withing 24-48 hours (I can check my chat with StudentUniverse, but I believe they even mentioned that timetable).

After pressing (email and FB messaging), the response that I received from StudentUniverse was that the carrier controlled the ticket, and that we had to wait for them to apply the change offered. The final message from early July was that the carrier would supply the updated ticket about a week before the flight.

Well, here we are within the week of the flight, and, as yet, no new ticket info has been supplied. I have contacted StudentUniverse multiple times since Tuesday with the same basic response - we have contacted the carrier and are awaiting an update from them. StudentUniverse will send it as soon as they get it.

I have also sent an email directly to Arkia with all of the details that I have, but, as yet, have received no response.

Perhaps I'm being overly nervous, but I'm not convinced that the agent is really trying to resolve this with the carrier. They seem awfully passive about the situation. I would have thought that they'd keep addressing the carrier to keep to its commitment rather than waiting - especially since the delivery timetable for resolution has passed.

I realize that I could buy a new ticket (and may have to if they strand my daughter through their waiting).

BTW, I chose StudentUniverse as I've used them in the past and found them to be helpful when issues arose (flight cancellation day of - they were able to get a new itinerary created that met our needs and were very diligent about it).

Right now, this dad is worried about his daughter on the ground in London who needs to be back to school on time in Israel next week. Any thoughts on how to address this situation before it becomes (more) critical.
 
Aug 22, 2019
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#3
Have you called them? We don’t have any contact information for this company and our process to obtain that information would not be complete before your daughter leaves.

I would try and get hold of them immediately and ask where the ticket is.

Have you called?

Phone Number:

+1 800 272 9676 (Toll-free within the US and Canada)
+0 808 234 4107 (Toll-free within the UK)
+1 617 321 3100 (From outside the US, Canada or UK)
+86 400 652 5060 (Chinese agents, toll-free within mainland China) or +1 617 321 3159 (Chinese agents, within the US and Canada)
WeChat Service Account: StudentUniverse服务号 (ID: SU_service, Chinese agents)
Online monitoring on Facebook and Twitter (Online hours 7AM-10:30PM ET Monday - Friday, 6AM-10:30PM ET on w
Thanks for the swift reply.

I've contacted them on multiple occasions using email and FB messaging in order to keep a paper trail. The story remains the same - the carrier (Arkia) owns the ticket and responsibility for changing the itinerary that they offered. StudentUniverse has "contacted" the carrier and is waiting for their answer. No matter what I tell them, they continue to punt to Arkia.

I'll probably escalate to the the listed emails on the elliott.org site (https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/studentuniverse/ ), but have hesitated calling as I know that I'd end up on hold and there would likely be no better chance of resolution (do you think otherwise?) and no paper trail.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#4
At this point you need to make a phone call. You have no time to wait for an email. I highly recommend getting in touch with the executives of you do not have a confirmation. BA might not honor the discounted fare this company sells. If you have to buy a walk up ticket at the airport for your daughter you could pay a lot more than what they were charging. I suggest you go online to BA and see how much that flight costs right now so you are prepared.

This company is part of FlightCentre which is a legitimate Canadian Agency.
 
Likes: VoR61
Aug 22, 2019
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#5
At this point you need to make a phone call. You have no time to wait for an email. I highly recommend getting in touch with the executives of you do not have a confirmation. BA might not honor the discounted fare this company sells. If you have to buy a walk up ticket at the airport for your daughter you could pay a lot more than what they were charging. I suggest you go online to BA and see how much that flight costs right now so you are prepared.

This company is part of FlightCentre which is a legitimate Canadian Agency.
Thanks again.

Just emailed to escalate, and will be calling momentarily.

Already reviewed ticket prices, and will continue to monitor. There are multiple carriers that fly the route directly on Monday, so she won't be stuck, but I want to give the carrier/agency the opportunity to address so I don't run into a potential refund scenario if they deliver after I've purchased a new ticket...
 
Likes: VoR61
Aug 22, 2019
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#6
Update:

Spoke to Derrick who sent my query off to the "Queue Team" to call the airline - he noted the urgency of the situation. Beyond that, he continued to point at the carrier for resolution - they have not answered the multiple emails sent to them...

I will be calling again later to follow-up...
 
Likes: VoR61
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
Well this is stressful.

Arkia does not have a large fleet so route cancellations happen with them.

Since the flight was leaving from London it is under EU regulations but since the notification was months in advance all they have to offer is refund or reroute. The regulations do not specify reroute on another airline.
 
Likes: VoR61
Aug 22, 2019
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#11
Well this is stressful.

Arkia does not have a large fleet so route cancellations happen with them.

Since the flight was leaving from London it is under EU regulations but since the notification was months in advance all they have to offer is refund or reroute. The regulations do not specify reroute on another airline.
Yup, I know all of that, and in retrospect, I should have taken the refund and booked a new flight. I took everyone (Arkia and StudentUniverse) at their words that the promised re-booking would occur (and in a timely manner). It's looking less and less likely that this will happen - but who knows.

I am on the phone with them again. first words out of the rep's mouth - we sent you an email about this being non-refundable. I set her straight about the story pretty quick - she's now checking the email trail...
 
Aug 22, 2019
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#12
I must say, with the additional noise that I made today, StudentUniverse has stepped up in a big way.

With Arkia ignoring all queries from them, a CS manager called me (out of the blue - first time in this experience that they called me).

He indicated that they could not get any response from Arkia, and apologized for not addressing the issue in a more prompt manner. They were going to purchase a new ticket for my daughter. They were not willing to use BA as originally committed by Arkia as the current tkt price was ~$1400. Instead, the offered El Al (currently ~$900). For comparison's sake, I spent ~$360 on the Arkia ticket. They have asked that I file a chargeback with my credit card on the original ticket. Once I get the money back, they have requested that I send them the money in order to get them something back. Now that the issue is addressed, I am happy to comply.

In the past, StudentUniverse has been very helpful when issues have arisen (weather cancellation on an international route requiring a complete reschedule). I would have liked them to step up faster, but, yet again, they have supported their customer.

Arkia, on the other hand, is an embarrassment. As yet, they've avoided responses to either myself or StudentUniverse ever since their original promises. I guess that they simply have no care for their customers OR their agents.
 
Aug 22, 2019
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#15
Do you think making the phone calls is what finally moved them? I’m glad you finally have a reply. Do that dispute right away.
As it came from a manager, I have a sneaking suspicion that the email follow-up to the EVP of CS describing the situation and the substance of the calls may have prompted the action.

I think that all of the noise contributed, so thanks for pushing me to call.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#16
FOR OUR OTHER READERS If you find yourself in a position like this, get a supervisor on the line. If that doesn't solve the problem, get an executive. Don't keep dialing the call center and talking with agents that are powerless to help. You need someone with the power to solve your problem. Maintain your polite, firm and appreciative demeanor and keep going until you find someone to help you. I'm glad that this situation looks to be pretty-much solved.
 
Likes: ADM
Aug 22, 2019
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#17
Well this gets more strange.

Arkia started responding to me on FB messaging yesterday telling me to contact my agent. I was not pleased with that, but after some back and forth this AM (date of flight - my daughter is on the way to the airport right now), they inform me that they provided the new ticket info to StudentUniverse last week (8/21). After a little more back and forth, they forwarded me the email this AM. It appears that they did indeed re-book her.

Well, StudentUniverse did step up, but it appears that they shot themselves in the foot along the way...
 
Aug 22, 2019
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#19
Already forwarded them the email.

If all is true per Arkia, my CC dispute will fail (as it should). That will just increase StudentUniverse's loss - but it will be on them.

That said, I emailed and messaged Arkia on 8/20, so they could have sent me the info directly. They chose not to until today...
 
Likes: Neil Maley