Etihad/Travel Agency - ticket refund

Hi Guys,

I booked tickets for my parents to go to India in 2020 March - obviously due to Covid they could not fly. The travel agency said that they can supply us with credit vouchers which can be used up to 2022. We just tried calling to see if they could book the tickets and this is what they have said:

1. Etihad is not flying to Chennai at present (not sure why) - however the trvael agency cannot change the destination of the tickets.
2. The only airline option they can give is Virgin/Vistara combination to Chennai (even that they need to get confirmation from airline if it can be done)
3. If we want full refund they will take out £75 per booking as admin fees  (we have 2 bookings for them both as they were returning on different dates) so this will be £150 in total- but we are not cancelling due to change of circumstances, we are asking as we do not want to fly with virgin and this other unknown airline- the baggage allowance is less and they are not going to go to India frequently so the baggage allowance is important to them. 
4. If the fare for the ticket given is less then we will not be given difference refunded however if new ticket is more we need to pay extra

I'm just wondering what are our rights in this case - my parents want to fly with Etihad - if this is not possible as there are no flights then they want to go with Emirates or BA or Qatar etc - they don't want to feel forced to using an airline of the travel agency's choice considering they are paying for the flights. Any advice would be much appreciated.

Replies

  • rigolithrigolith Forumite
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    What does the terms and conditions say about say?
  • Caz3121Caz3121 Forumite
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    1) Many airlines have suspended or cancelled routes during the pandemic however there are flights on the Etihad website for sale between Abu Dhabi and Chennai but not every day of the week
    2) as above there should be options on Etihad is they are flexible with days of travel
    3) Third parties do charge admin fees to process refunds, whoever booked the flights will have agreed to them. Not the third parties fault the airline cancelled and they don't work for free
    4) Pretty standard for changes....need to do the sums on whether a refund less fees and repurchase (direct from airline) is better option
  • edited 15 September 2021 at 7:09AM
    lon_85lon_85 Forumite
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    edited 15 September 2021 at 7:09AM
    3) if the airline we originally booked is no longer flying then that means the travel agency cannot provide us the service that we originally paid for therefore isnt the terms and conditions null and void?

    - I'm not sure why they are saying no flights on Etihad- they said it's not flying to Chennai only other parts of India at the moment - I did check website for lhr to maa and couldn't see any flights -  hence they said we have to use virgin/ vistara...the other option as you mentioned there are flights from Abu Dhabi is to get flight to AD and then book another flight from AD to Chennai - it will work out more so probably we will have to pay increase in flight price but can check if that is possible 

    Will check terms and conditions- I understand there is always a charge for cancellation but this is an unusual circumstance- we didn't fly because we changed our mind it was a global pandemic and we were forced to not travel as everything was shut down - the 3rd party needs to be understanding of this.
  • edited 15 September 2021 at 7:53AM
    Caz3121Caz3121 Forumite
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    edited 15 September 2021 at 7:53AM
    lon_85 said:
    3) if the airline we originally booked is no longer flying then that means the travel agency cannot provide us the service that we originally paid for therefore isnt the terms and conditions null and void?

    - I'm not sure why they are saying no flights on Etihad- they said it's not flying to Chennai only other parts of India at the moment - I did check website for lhr to maa and couldn't see any flights -  hence they said we have to use virgin/ vistara...the other option as you mentioned there are flights from Abu Dhabi is to get flight to AD and then book another flight from AD to Chennai - it will work out more so probably we will have to pay increase in flight price but can check if that is possible 

    Will check terms and conditions- I understand there is always a charge for cancellation but this is an unusual circumstance- we didn't fly because we changed our mind it was a global pandemic and we were forced to not travel as everything was shut down - the 3rd party needs to be understanding of this.
    Not providing a service would apply if you had requested that they book a flight for you and they were unable to provide a ticket.
    They did provide the service by providing a ticket however the flight was subsequently cancelled by the airline (not the third parties fault)
    Looking at the Etihad website for LHR-MAA flights are for sale (via AUH) eg 16th-26th September 
    Heathrow Airport(LHR)
    Chennai Airport(MAA)
    Duration: 23 hrs 35 mins1 Stop(AUH)
    • EY18Operated by Etihad
    • EY268Operated by Etihad
    Returning02:15, on 26 September 2021
    Chennai Airport(MAA)
    Heathrow Airport(LHR)
    Duration: 14 hrs 1 Stop(AUH)
    • EY269Operated by Etihad
    • EY19Operated by Etihad
    maybe the replacement dates you requested were for days when the flights don't operate
    The third party will have to pay staff to work on obtaining refunds from the airline, their work=fees is part of their operating model...not your fault that this work needs to be done but not theirs either. Had you booked directly with the airline these third party fees would not be applicable but I guess you chose a third party to make a saving on the purchase - usually the model is that you save a few £ on the ticket price but everything else that involves them doing something is chargeable.
  • lon_85lon_85 Forumite
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    @Caz3121 - that makes sense - yes I guess they can't do much from their end if the airline is not flying on the dates we wanted...will check if my parents can maybe adjust the dates - I'm going to check on etihad website again and just play around with the dates - they are both retired so they don't have any particular restrictions. They said they are happy to go on vistara/virgin now if there is no option - also there is 6 hr layover on the one the agent suggested but they are ok to go ahead considering the options available. I will try to see if the Etihad option could still be viable otherwise they may need to go with the Virgin/vistara option - thanks for your advice  :)
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