Three readers have had unpleasant surprises after trying to save money by booking flights through online travel agency Mytrip.com.
FK of Wigan wrote in on behalf of a Sudanese mother and her child who had saved for years to return to their homeland for a visit:
“The final leg between Muscat and Khartoum was cancelled by the airline soon after booking. Mytrip has given information about alternative flights but refuses to book these without a £138 admin fee which they cannot afford.”
MT of London was told by Mytrip his flight had been rescheduled by the airline and he had five days to confirm whether he still wanted to fly:
“Two hours later, without waiting to hear from me, it sent me a new e-ticket for a time that was not suitable. The airline wants me to pay a fee for changing the booking, even though it was not me who changed the times. Mytrip has not replied to my emails and is impossible to reach by phone.”
DH of Bristol mistyped one letter of a surname when booking flights through Mytrip:
“The airline said it would be happy to correct the name for €15 per ticket but was unable to do so as I booked through Mytrip. Mytrip told me it was impossible to do so 24 hours after a booking, because of airline policy. If I cancelled, there would be a fee of £50 per ticket and no refund.
The airline then gave me a number for Mytrip to call to get the amendment done, but Mytrip said I would have to pay a non-refundable request fee of £19 even if the correction was refused and, if it was accepted, I’d be liable for the airline’s name-change fee plus Mytrip’s fee of £50 per ticket.
I can buy two new replacement tickets with the correct name for £120 currently.”
Mytrip is part of Etraveli. Earlier this year I exposed the hair-raising fees and extras charged by its sister company Gotogate, including an escalating fee for after-sales service.
You have to read the terms and conditions carefully to discover the hidden horrors behind Mytrip’s bargain prices.
There in the small print is the warning that passengers will be charged a fee for alterations to a flight even if the change is made by the airline.
After the Observer contacted the firm it agreed to waive the £138 rebooking charge for the Sudanese mother and child as a “goodwill gesture”, and discovered that “human error” had issued MT with the new ticket without his agreement. It has now booked him on a new flight without extra charge.
As for DH, it told me the situation has been “resolved without charge”. What that means is that it has added a note to the ticket to inform check-in staff of the misspelled name and DH will have to take his chances.
In the cut-throat world of price comparison websites, travel agencies compete to grab top spot with the cheapest headline prices. This is funded by hidden fees that do not show on the displayed ticket cost.
Mytrip told me that it would not abolish its charges because of costs for manual labour, reissuing tickets and several other services.
This, added to the fact that airlines often refuse to deal direct with passengers who have booked through third parties, means you may find it better to book tickets through the airline, however alluring the bargains offered by agents.
If you need help email Anna Tims at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Your Problems, The Observer, Kings Place, 90 York Way, London N1 9GU. Include an address and phone number. Submission and publication are subject to our terms and conditions