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Grandparents Holiday Of A Lifetime Turned Into Nightmare Of A Lifetime


misselle
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As you can see by the title I am asking on behalf of my grandparents for help as their recent holiday to Florida which they have been saving for many years to take turned into a complete nightmare. I will say sorry in advance for the long post but it’s a large mess

24th Jan 2009 Via Holiday Genie for two weeks in Florida flying from Edinburgh to JKF then to Orlando paying £75 deposit per person for my Gran and Granddad, their Daughter and her Husband And their kids of 8, 13, and 15.

 

·3 days later a phone call asking for the full price of the flights to be paid before delta issue tickets. £2,856 paid.

 

April 2009 rest of holiday paid total of £4,046.

 

08.04.09 flight and accommodation details received, then a few days’ later phone call- flights changed to Edinburgh to Paris to Atlanta to Orlando, unhappy but agree to changes.

23.06.09 new flight details received

 

07.08.09 due to unforeseen circumstances had to ask to cancel a ticket.

09.08.09 email received- no scheduled airlines allow you to make a name change. If tickets have been issued airline will refund airport tax if cancel if not it’s a different story.

 

11.08.09 email received- delta will refund only £60 as they are different to UK airlines

 

17.08.09 emailed received confirming accommodation and transfer details

 

09/10/09- arrive at Edinburgh airport at 3am for the 6.10 flight told at check in flights had not been confirmed even thought seats had been pre-booked. They couldn’t confirm them on the flight from Atlanta to Orlando so refused them to fly.

 

They were told that they could be re-routed via Edinburgh to Newark to Orlando but not until 12.15pm that day. No vouchers or food or drink supplied for the delay

 

They arrived in NEWARK at 3.15pm American time and the connecting flight was at 4.30pm. When they arrived at immigration told computers crashed and were held up

 

Then told too late for the flight. Told they would get another flight the NEXT day but that the party of 3 adults and 3 kids would have to be split up on separate flights. The youngest Child of 8 became very distressed at eventually continental airline gave them a hotel voucher for the 3 kids and their mother.

 

My grandparents had to pay for their own room and paid $170.99

 

They then had to spend money on food and drink as they were only given vouchers for $6 each for breakfast and $12 each for dinner.

 

They arrived in Orlando over 24hours later than they should have missed a day of their holiday and the pre-booked park tickets they had bought

 

They then had to spend almost the full two weeks contacting holiday genie to confirmation of their return flights, $35 was spent on phone cards ringing holiday Genie and half days were wasted waiting for return phone calls

Only two days before they were due to fly did they finally receive the flight details but only after contacting delta directly? Which if they hadn’t they would have missed their flights as Holiday Genie had supplied incorrect flight times.

 

There were also numerous problems with the hotel mainly being that it was flea ridden.

 

Basically I want to complain about this and I would like a refund for them of a substantial amount of this dreadful holiday.

 

Any advice on how to proceed would be greatly appreciated

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First, did your family have holiday insurance? If so, they can claim the cancellation on that if it was as a result of an insured 'loss' eg. medical etc.

 

Re. the spoiled holiday, you need to write to Holiday Genie firstly, detailing the problems that your family encountered, providing details of the expenses incurred, the inconvenience suffered & requesting a full refund of your expenses plus a substantial offer of compensation for the inconvenience. Unfortunately because they booked as a 'package deal' HG cannot be responsible for change of flights/missed flights nor are they responsible for the computer crash at immigration. Re. the unacceptable hotel, did they complain at the time? If so, you may have a case for compensation there.

 

Holiday Genie are part of ABTA so if you have no joy with them directly, you could try ABTA.

 

It's a shame they had such a rotten travel experience on what was supposed to be a 'special' trip but alas, we all suffer it from time to time. :(.

 

IMO the moral of the story is don't use package deals. It is so easy nowadays to book flights & accommodation on the internet as an independent traveller (particularly to USA), you then have slightly more control over your arrangements (eg. you could change an unsuitable hotel etc.) & you can very often can pick up really good deals/offers that compare favourably with anything offered by a package company.

Any knowledge I possess or advice I proffer is based solely on my experiences in the University of Life. Please make your own assessment of legality, risks & costs before taking any action.

 

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At the risk of throwing a dampener on this, I'm not sure that there is much compensation to be obtained, if any, and I'll try to break it down:

24th Jan 2009 Via Holiday Genie for two weeks in Florida flying from Edinburgh to JKF then to Orlando paying £75 deposit per person for my Gran and Granddad, their Daughter and her Husband And their kids of 8, 13, and 15.

 

·3 days later a phone call asking for the full price of the flights to be paid before delta issue tickets. £2,856 paid.

 

April 2009 rest of holiday paid total of £4,046.

 

08.04.09 flight and accommodation details received, then a few days’ later phone call- flights changed to Edinburgh to Paris to Atlanta to Orlando, unhappy but agree to changes.

"agree to changes" is the key word. They agreed. Full stop.
07.08.09 due to unforeseen circumstances had to ask to cancel a ticket.

09.08.09 email received- no scheduled airlines allow you to make a name change. If tickets have been issued airline will refund airport tax if cancel if not it’s a different story.

Why it had to be cancelled is key. If it was for medical reasons, unforeseen circumstances as covered by the travel insurance, then it can be reclaimed that way. If not, there is a decreasing scale of of how much refunds can be given, the closer to the holiday the smaller the amount, and I think that at about 56 days is when you'll get practically nothing. It is to be noted that if it weren't a package holiday, they would have had a better chance at a refund from the airline directly, but as part of a package there is less leeway for it to be resold, hence the descending scale of refund I mentioned above.
09/10/09- arrive at Edinburgh airport at 3am for the 6.10 flight told at check in flights had not been confirmed even thought seats had been pre-booked.
Whose responsability was it to confirm? I always thought it was down to the passengers to confirm, although I am happy to be corrected if I am wrong. Might be a good idea to check what it says on the booking forms. IF it wasn't theirs, then there is a recourse there as someone else dropped the ball.
They arrived in NEWARK at 3.15pm American time and the connecting flight was at 4.30pm. When they arrived at immigration told computers crashed and were held up

 

Then told too late for the flight. Told they would get another flight the NEXT day but that the party of 3 adults and 3 kids would have to be split up on separate flights. The youngest Child of 8 became very distressed at eventually continental airline gave them a hotel voucher for the 3 kids and their mother.

 

My grandparents had to pay for their own room and paid $170.99

 

They then had to spend money on food and drink as they were only given vouchers for $6 each for breakfast and $12 each for dinner.

 

They arrived in Orlando over 24hours later than they should have missed a day of their holiday and the pre-booked park tickets they had bought

Absolutely nothing to do with the travel agent, I'm afraid. You migth be able to reclaim under the holiday insurance though, again check their terms, it's been a while since I have gone through those but I'm reasonably sure that it should be covered under unexpected travel delays.
They then had to spend almost the full two weeks contacting holiday genie to confirmation of their return flights, $35 was spent on phone cards ringing holiday Genie and half days were wasted waiting for return phone calls
Hmmm. No offence, but there are e-mails, mobile phones, faxes etc... It's going to be a tough call convincing anyone that they spent most of their time making phone calls. I would however agree the $35 should be reimbursed to them, but I hope that can prove they spent that amount.

 

As for the hotel difficulties, I hope they took picutres and made their complaints while they were there, or they won't get very far, I'm sorry to say.

 

So, long and short of it is that whilst they obviously didn't get the great time they were hoping for, I think a lot of it is going to be down to an unfortunate series of events that something that can imputed wholly to the one agency and they can hardly be made to carry the can for the lot.

 

From what I can see, their liability:

may be for the flights if it were up to them to confirm them and they didn't.

is for the cost of phone calls.

may be for the problems with the hotel, but it needs to be substantiated.

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Unfortunately because they booked as a 'package deal' HG cannot be responsible for change of flights/missed flights nor are they responsible for the computer crash at immigration. Re. the unacceptable hotel, did they complain at the time? If so, you may have a case for compensation there.

 

It's a shame they had such a rotten travel experience on what was supposed to be a 'special' trip but alas, we all suffer it from time to time. :(.

 

At the risk of throwing a dampener on this, I'm not sure that there is much compensation to be obtained....

 

From what I can see, their liability:

may be for the flights if it were up to them to confirm them and they didn't.

is for the cost of phone calls.

may be for the problems with the hotel, but it needs to be substantiated.

 

 

I agree bookie.

Any knowledge I possess or advice I proffer is based solely on my experiences in the University of Life. Please make your own assessment of legality, risks & costs before taking any action.

 

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I have some more details for the above, My grandparents confirmed the flights from Edinburgh two days before flying and where told everything was fine and their pre-booked seat numbers were fine. When at the airport in Edinburgh basicaly they were told that the airline hadnt booked them on a leg of their journey so couldnt fly. Their big anoyance is the delay wasnt their faults they did everything required to fly. The overnight one was the worst as my grandad has a weak heart so the stress didnt do him much good and then to be told they would only be given a holiday voucher for a hotel room for my aunt and her kids near killed him. He has been left very much out of pocket because of the whole experience

 

 

With regards to the return flights, the hotel faxed, emailed and telephoned Holiday Genie on behlaf of my grandparents aswel as my grandad doing it and no phone calls or emails or faxed were returned as promised.

 

The phonecards were used in the hotel and the hotel have provided with an itemised call list from their room to show who the calls were made to and for how long and how much they cost.

 

With the problems with the hotel also, they were moved room after complaining and have lots of photos to show the poor state of the hotel plus all the marks over the kids bodies from the flea bits they recieved and believe me there were alot of bites.

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Re-reading this misselle, there are a couple of points that I think you need to investigate further it you hope to pursue this successfully. See below.

 

07.08.09 due to unforeseen circumstances had to ask to cancel a ticket.

09.08.09 email received- no scheduled airlines allow you to make a name change. If tickets have been issued airline will refund airport tax if cancel if not it’s a different story.

 

11.08.09 email received- delta will refund only £60 as they are different to UK airlines

 

There have been cases recently where airlines have maintained that they will not refund airport tax; however they are wrong as the tax is not paid until you take the flight, therefore you are entitled to the refund of it. Unfortunately they are entitled to charge an 'admin' fee for refunding your ticket & certainly in the case of the cheapo airlines, you may find that the admin fee is almost the same as the tax so even if you claim it you gain nothingin £s. (I would claim it just to give them the grief of the paperwork but then I'm an awkward so&so). In your case, if it was Delta, you may find you would get that tax back - suspect HG are just trying it on.

09/10/09- arrive at Edinburgh airport at 3am for the 6.10 flight told at check in flights had not been confirmed even thought seats had been pre-booked. They couldn’t confirm them on the flight from Atlanta to Orlando so refused them to fly.

 

Then told too late for the flight. Told they would get another flight the NEXT day but that the party of 3 adults and 3 kids would have to be split up on separate flights. The youngest Child of 8 became very distressed at eventually continental airline gave them a hotel voucher for the 3 kids and their mother.

 

My grandparents had to pay for their own room and paid $170.99

 

Firstly, you have to find out whether this was a HG mess up or a Delta one & then go for the company responsible. Suggest you ask Delta (in writing!) to confirm how/when the tickets were booked/reserved.

 

Secondly, there is EU legislation now makes it compulsory for airlines (doesn't matter if they are US as long as the flight originated in the EU) to provide minimum standards of 'compensation' for delayed flights etc. at the time. The regulation is EC No 261/2004.

Of particular not is:

Passengers denied boarding against their will should be

able either to cancel their flights, with reimbursement of

their tickets, or to continue them under satisfactory

conditions, and should be adequately cared for while

awaiting a later flight.

 

and

 

Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall

be offered free of charge:

(a) meals and refreshments in a reasonable relation to the

waiting time;

(b) hotel accommodation in cases

— where a stay of one or more nights becomes necessary,

or

— where a stay additional to that intended by the

passenger becomes necessary;

© transport between the airport and place of accommodation

(hotel or other).

2. In addition, passengers shall be offered free of charge two

telephone calls, telex or fax messages, or e-mails.

3. In applying this Article, the operating air carrier shall pay

particular attention to the needs of persons with reduced mobility

and any persons accompanying them, as well as to the

needs of unaccompanied children.

 

You need to read the whole of the Regs to see which may be applicable to your family.

l

 

. When at the airport in Edinburgh basicaly they were told that the airline hadnt booked them on a leg of their journey so couldnt fly. Their big anoyance is the delay wasnt their faults they did everything required to fly. The overnight one was the worst as my grandad has a weak heart so the stress didnt do him much good and then to be told they would only be given a holiday voucher for a hotel room for my aunt and her kids near killed him.

 

With regards to the return flights, the hotel faxed, emailed and telephoned Holiday Genie on behlaf of my grandparents aswel as my grandad doing it and no phone calls or emails or faxed were returned as promised.

 

See above re. flights

 

With the problems with the hotel also, they were moved room after complaining and have lots of photos to show the poor state of the hotel plus all the marks over the kids bodies from the flea bits they recieved and believe me there were alot of bites.

 

You need to pursue this one with HG - this is definitely their responsibility.

 

I have flown with Delta many, many times - I used to live in the US - & would be surprised if they were responsible for the problems over the flight as they usually lean over backwards to accommodate, feed & upgrade when it is their fault. I suspect you may find that this is HG trying a cover up for blunders but you won't know for certain until you make the appropriate enquiries.

Edited by foolishgirl
addition

Any knowledge I possess or advice I proffer is based solely on my experiences in the University of Life. Please make your own assessment of legality, risks & costs before taking any action.

 

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