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Thread: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

  1. #1
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    Default Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    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!"
    "Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real" -Ansel Adams

  2. #2

    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    ^^ So now you know liao lor:

    Buy single, go. Buy single, back. No hassle. I thought they always recommend STA Travels for UK-bound students? Buying through STA Travels would be cheaper since you are on student pass.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Quote Originally Posted by leejay View Post
    ^^ So now you know liao lor:

    Buy single, go. Buy single, back. No hassle. I thought they always recommend STA Travels for UK-bound students? Buying through STA Travels would be cheaper since you are on student pass.
    Yeah, now I know. Who recommends STA travels? Never heard of it.
    "Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real" -Ansel Adams

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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Your ticket will die die expire on the 21 Aug 2008, your free change only entitles you to change once, the return date, within the valid period(12mths). What made you think that you can change beyond the 12mths valid period in the first place?
    Last edited by TMC; 22nd May 2008 at 04:59 PM.

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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Quote Originally Posted by TMC View Post
    Your ticket will die die expire on the 21 Aug 2008, your free change only entitles you to change once, the return date, within the valid period(12mths). What made you think that you can change beyond the 12mths valid period in the first place?
    Well, the thing was I wanted open date tickets and I went down to the airline office to purchase the tickets. When I bought it, I didn't know that it had a 12 mths validity. If I wanted 12 mths validity, I would have bought online (online, they specify the validity period), which is much cheaper than going personally to the office to buy.

    Maybe I didn't make myself clear enough for the staff who attended to my purchase. Sigh!
    "Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real" -Ansel Adams

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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Quote Originally Posted by blive View Post
    Well, the thing was I wanted open date tickets and I went down to the airline office to purchase the tickets. When I bought it, I didn't know that it had a 12 mths validity. If I wanted 12 mths validity, I would have bought online (online, they specify the validity period), which is much cheaper than going personally to the office to buy.

    Maybe I didn't make myself clear enough for the staff who attended to my purchase. Sigh!
    Your ticket should come with a terms and conditions page stating the validity dates, u can read again. They should not be rude to you but then it also depends on how did the telephone conversation go. Anyway, hope u find yr return tickets soon...

  7. #7

    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    alamak, next time, buy singapore --> uk

    then keep buying round trips for uk, it does make more sense because firstly, air fares aren't that different under conversion if you find a good travel agency which has good rates (and offers) for flights. also, it is more likely that you will be able to get a "shorter validity" ticket, which costs less when you return to singapore for visits while studying here.

    if you buy from uk next time, let me know, i'll pass you the number of this rather reliable travel agency.. the pricing is usually quite good, especially if you fly sq. and they throw in a free ticket to any location in SEA during the period of your return. (well not entirely free, you just pay the taxes, it *is* still cheaper than budget airlines)

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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    next time read the fine prints.

  9. #9

    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Thank god I don't fly any more. After all my own travel nightmares people still tell me that overseas is a good thing. I bet those aren't the ones who kena station out there....

    There are a lot of oddities that can trip you up. I have ever been in a situation where I'd already used up one leg of an air ticket (going to destination). Economy class of course. Needed to change the departure date, was told no seats available on this special class of ticket. (Economy .. and Special Economy? not like I get it either). So need to upgrade again. Cost of upgrading was so expensive that it actually worked out to be cheaper to buy a whole new one way outta there. (also note that each day of lodging + food is not cheap). Unfortunately, original ticket said absolutely no refunds under any circumstances. LL. No choice.

    At least the customer service I dealt with was pleasant and helpful and offered me options (none of which I could use though) and it is not their fault that the airline's rules worked out that way. No excuse for rudeness.

    Maybe next time buy one way better - more flexibility..

    Or better....like myself.........NO MORE FLYING. Damn happy sia.

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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Quote Originally Posted by night86mare View Post
    alamak, next time, buy singapore --> uk

    then keep buying round trips for uk, it does make more sense because firstly, air fares aren't that different under conversion if you find a good travel agency which has good rates (and offers) for flights. also, it is more likely that you will be able to get a "shorter validity" ticket, which costs less when you return to singapore for visits while studying here.

    if you buy from uk next time, let me know, i'll pass you the number of this rather reliable travel agency.. the pricing is usually quite good, especially if you fly sq. and they throw in a free ticket to any location in SEA during the period of your return. (well not entirely free, you just pay the taxes, it *is* still cheaper than budget airlines)
    PM you already...Thanks. I like the SQ service now. Definitely single trip tickets from now on for such long term trips.

    Quote Originally Posted by Jix View Post
    next time read the fine prints.
    What fine print? I scrutinise the conditions on my e-ticket and online account, but there isn't any mention of the validity...sigh! I must have missed that particular terms.
    "Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real" -Ansel Adams

  11. #11

    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    it's not really the airline's fault
    it's pretty standard that validity of the air ticket is either 3 months 6 months or 12 months and when you purchase the ticket you should inquire on this specifically.
    There should be terms relating to validity on the e-ticket or your flight account. I've flown different airlines numerous times and they are quite detailed, although the details can be hidden away sometimes

    Quote Originally Posted by blive View Post
    PM you already...Thanks. I like the SQ service now. Definitely single trip tickets from now on for such long term trips.



    What fine print? I scrutinise the conditions on my e-ticket and online account, but there isn't any mention of the validity...sigh! I must have missed that particular terms.

  12. #12
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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Some experience from myself, thankfully with a happy ending.

    When I visited Singapore earlier this year, I bought my tickets online. By playing around with the dates and reading the terms and conditions, I found out two types of tickets for same departure date, same destination :

    1. Cheaper ticket requires you to return within 1 month. Change fee : US$200
    2. More expensive ticket requires you to return within 6 months. Costs US$150 more. Change fee : $0.

    There's probably a 1 year validity ticket but I did not check on it.

    I bought the more expensive ticket, but did not print out the terms and conditions. I foolishly thought it will be in my e-ticket (it was not) and did not check.

    When I tried to change my return date (calling SIA from Singapore) I was told that I need to pay a change fee.

    Took deep breath. Politely and calmly reply that the ticket has no return date change fee. Was told that their record does not show that. Started looking through my paperwork. Couldn't find anything in the printout saying no return date change free of charge. Starting to worry a little.

    Told lady to please check on the ticket. She said someone would call me back.

    Two hours later, another person called me back and changed my return date, no mention of change fees. Everything is settled, but I am rather disappointed at SIA fumbling the ball in the beginning.

    Lesson learnt : print out the terms and conditions of your e-ticket.

    Edit : The terms and condition is in a separate window opened when you click on the link BEFORE you purchase the ticket. Might be accessible from other areas as well. Have I mentioned that I really, really dislike SIA's website? Off topic rant : why is it that so many Singapore websites don't work with Firefox?

    Here's a screenshot on the link to click on for fare rules / terms and conditions.

    Last edited by lennyl; 23rd May 2008 at 02:50 AM.

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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Quote Originally Posted by mattlock View Post
    it's not really the airline's fault
    it's pretty standard that validity of the air ticket is either 3 months 6 months or 12 months and when you purchase the ticket you should inquire on this specifically.
    There should be terms relating to validity on the e-ticket or your flight account. I've flown different airlines numerous times and they are quite detailed, although the details can be hidden away sometimes
    Yes, i enquired that I needed something longer than the 12 mths validity. I didn't get any impression that my ticket was only valid for 12 months.

    Unfortunately, my e-ticket terms and conditions didn't have that.

    Quote Originally Posted by lennyl View Post

    Lesson learnt : print out the terms and conditions of your e-ticket.

    Edit : The terms and condition is in a separate window opened when you click on the link BEFORE you purchase the ticket. Might be accessible from other areas as well. Have I mentioned that I really, really dislike SIA's website? Off topic rant : why is it that so many Singapore websites don't work with Firefox?
    Good for you to be able to resolve the issue calmly. Kudos then to SIA.

    Unfortunately, the airline I used is a different matter altogether. I couldn't book the tickets online as those are pretty specific about the validity period. I couldn't book as well as I am booking ahead. As i purchased the tickets over the counter, I only have the printout that they gave me. It was never stated on the print-out about the validity at all.
    "Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real" -Ansel Adams

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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Quote Originally Posted by blive View Post
    As i purchased the tickets over the counter, I only have the printout that they gave me. It was never stated on the print-out about the validity at all.
    It's a shame about your experience. I can't think of anything to help you with (I'm guessing they will not refund the unused portion of the trip, or allow you to donate to someone else - airlines are remarkably intolerant about that) but you have my sympathies.

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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Quote Originally Posted by lennyl View Post
    It's a shame about your experience. I can't think of anything to help you with (I'm guessing they will not refund the unused portion of the trip, or allow you to donate to someone else - airlines are remarkably intolerant about that) but you have my sympathies.
    Thanks......

    I would have liked an extension to allow me to fly back, but its just not possible with the airline. calls to Australia staff is always answered in a rude manner. I don't think we were angry or anything, in fact we sounded quite helpless.

    Its ok, a lesson learnt. Things will turn out better this way.
    "Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real" -Ansel Adams

  16. #16

    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Quote Originally Posted by blive View Post
    Yeah, now I know. Who recommends STA travels? Never heard of it.
    Surprised leh. Didn't British Council provide you with this agency before you go?

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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Quote Originally Posted by leejay View Post
    Surprised leh. Didn't British Council provide you with this agency before you go?
    Nope. I was at the British council event last year when the UK university accepted my application. I think there was a booth there, but I didn't know that the British Council recommend STA travels.
    "Photography is an austere and blazing poetry of the real" -Ansel Adams

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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Strange that the ticket validity is not on the e-ticket. I used to work for a travel agency, are you able to show me a copy of the e-ticket?
    Don't Dance with the Devil in the Pale Moonlight...

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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    Quote Originally Posted by LynneSaur View Post
    Strange that the ticket validity is not on the e-ticket. I used to work for a travel agency, are you able to show me a copy of the e-ticket?
    Erm, asking me or the TS? I believe blive did not get an e-ticket.

    I just looked at my e-ticket. It has a ticket validity on it.

    NOT VALID BEFORE 1/ 2/ 3/ 4/
    NOT VALID AFTER 1/23SEP 2/23SEP 3/ 4/

    My trouble came from the fact that there is no fare conditions (e.g. that I could change the date of the return date within the valid period for no fee). I'd imagine that the airline should have a record, but apparently the person who answered my call was unfamiliar with it.

  20. #20
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    Default Re: Air ticket woes! Sigh!

    From the little travel I have done. I think there are different types of air tickets. It depends on the price you pay.
    Some allow you to change your date of flight.

    Some are strictly "ultimate low budget" type and no changes are allowed.

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