Just an account of the recent woes I had with my air tickets back to Singapore. What else do you all think I could do?
"When we wanted to booked our flights to the UK from Singapore in May 07 last year, we looked around for open date tickets. The online tickets were much cheaper with discounts, but they only had 6 mths or 12 mths validity. That wouldn't work for us, as we were flying in Aug 07, and we wouldn't know when we would be coming back. We needed longer validity. So we went to the airline office in Orchard road a few times to explain to them about our situation and purchase our tickets. The airline computer system only allows us to purchase and book dates up to 12 months ahead. Therefore, we booked our return date on 1 Jun 08, while paying for higher tier tickets, which would allow one free change to a later return date. We also had to pay for service charges, as we were booking through the counter.
We purchased our tickets and flew off on the 22 Aug 07, thinking everything was fine.
When we decided to change our return date to 18 Sep 08 , we made a few calls to the UK Airline office as well as to the Australian office last week (all calls to Singapore office is routed to Australia). The Australian staff told us that the latest we could fly back to Singapore is 21 Aug 08! This is because tickets are valid for only 12 months at the most (We are supposed to know that. Its an international travel rule). Therefore, they now expect us to purchase single trip tickets, if we want to fly back to Singapore on 18 Sep 08. Requests to extend the ticket validity were also rudely and quickly rejected.
We were confused, as this wasn't explained to us at the time of purchase, nor was it written down on our e-tickets or on our online airline Frequent Flyer account. If we had wanted a 12 mth validity, we would have booked online for discount tickets. Instead, the whole family went down specially to Airline Travel Centre several times to enquire and ended up paying for higher-priced tickets, and what's more, service charges!
I decided then to send an email on 15 May to request for an appeal to allow us to extend ticket validity. Their first email response came back on 17 May telling me to call their office for bookings....I responded to them immediately to explain my situation again, and they have since not replied to me.
Our Godma even tried calling the Singapore office and she managed to get through after 3 calls, and tried to help us to resolve the situation. We are even willing to pay for tier difference and penalty, as we wouldn't like to see the tickets go to waste. However, the lady who answered her call was extremely rude. No surprises about the response.
So we tried calling the UK airline office again. Apparently, now, because of our emails and phone calls, its all over their system that "the customer" has been informed about the last date validity on 21 Aug 08, and any further requests would be denied. At least the lady at the UK airline office was apologetic and polite, unlike the staff in the Australian office who answered our calls.
Sigh! Yes, we were informed last week when we called to change the return date, and not at the time of purchase. It seems like they think we are the kind of people who would buy the return ticket, instead of single trip tickets, and then try to "circumvent" their system by arguing our way through, trying to extend ticket validity. Hmm, we could have bought cheaper single trips tickets from other airlines, and then source for cheaper return tickets when we are here.
It's just such a waste of resources. We can't leave any earlier due to my dissertation and our upcoming trip to US in Sep 08. So I guess we will need to purchase single trip tickets now. Would I go and purchase the same airline tickets now, which amount to GBP 600 more than the cheapest I could find online (for 2 adults, 1 child & 1 infant)? Even if they are the cheapest I could find? Nah!"