Cape Town – The year 2017 saw a few travellers finding
themselves in travel nightmares – all of which have taught us valuable lessons
to become savvier travellers in 2018.
From flight bookings that went haywire and resulted in
customers forking out even more to get to their destinations, to accommodation
bookings that could make a person never want to leave their homes ever again,
here are 5 local travel dramas - that happened to our readers – to learn from
for smooth travel in 2018.
Don’t make spelling errors
Did you ever have all your flight documents in place but
failed to double-check your personal information or flight details on your
ticket, resulting in extra charges or even a missing your flight?
It can be extremely frustrating when petty mistakes are made
when it comes to travelling – especially when extra costs are incurred.
A Traveller24 reader was furious when she had to pay
“R300” to Mango airlines just to change the spelling of her aunt’s surname,
just so she could board her flight on time.
SEE: Flight bookings 101: Pensioner suffers
costly mistake of spelling error on online booking
While the reader thinks “it’s absolutely ridiculous” to pay
to make the name change, Mango airlines states the costs involved to make such
an amendment on its website, under the “Change
According to its policy, the low-cost carrier could not
verify the booking with the credit card number with which the ticket was
Mango states on its website that flyers may use the
airline’s website or mobi-app “to amend their flight details” and warns that
“each booking amendment will incur an administration fee”.
“This fee is in addition to applicable fare changes and
takes effect upon clicking the ‘Update Now’ button,” says the airline.
here to see Mango’s and other airlines’ policies regarding flight detail
bookings: Check the grading
There's nothing worse than reaching your holiday
accommodation to find a lack of basic amenities and all-round poor service.
With the abundance of accommodation options available online
it's difficult to confirm which are honest in their descriptions and safe. This
brings to light the importance of industry regulations and standards.
Grading Council of South Africa (TGCSA) is one of the bodies that establishes
a "recognisable and credible globally benchmarked system of quality
assurance" for accommodation, with online reviews also taken into account
for a cohesive reflection of what the properties are really like. Share-accommodation
sites like Airbnb also have strict codes of conduct that hosts need to adhere
to before being accepted.
SEE: New hospitality data grading to raise the
benchmark of SA's tourism offering
of how professionalism can slip when not held to any industry standard is
the accommodation nightmare shared by a reader with Traveller24 who states that
hospitality and service was lacking from the point of arrival.
The reader had to deal with filthy living conditions and
incurred additional costs and a great deal of unhappiness before eventually
finding another place to stay. Click
here to read the full story.
SEE: PICS: 'Filthy' Magaliesburg stay shows why
checking for accommodation grading is vital
To avoid nasty experiences that leave you with bad memories
and a lower bank balance, it is imperative that holidaymakers check the grading
of various accommodation options before settling on a place to stay.
And while the internet can be overwhelming with a myriad of
options and fake news, it can also be helpful with reviews and various social
platforms that will provide information that can assist accommodation seekers.
One needs to take the time to do proper research and check with various sources
and grading councils before finalising a booking.
Missed a flight? Don’t lose your return ticket
Did you know that if you miss your first flight, airlines
will cancel your return ticket?
One Kulula passenger found this out the hard way. After
missing a flight, a reader
assumed that the return flight will still be valid, however it was cancelled.
He ended up having to buy a new, full-price ticket, but a simple phone call to
the airline could have saved him money.
SEE: Flight booking 101: Missed a flight? Be
sure you don't lose your return ticket as well
If you book a return flight or multiple flights on one
booking, missing one flight will automatically cancel the rest of your trips - this
is common practice among most airlines in the world.
Like most airlines, Kulula has a re-booking
policy, which states that passengers who will miss their flight need to
contact the airline's call centre ahead of their first flight to ensure their
second flight isn't cancelled.
So ensure you know your airline's 'missed flight' policy,
and make contact with its call centre as soon as you know you're going to miss
Always get it
Many South African travellers pay valuable time and money
for not having travel insurance in place and not familiarising themselves with
A reader on his way to Bali
got stuck in Doha when flights were cancelled. He told Traveller24 that he
spent three days in Doha "wearing the same clothes awaiting a flight
without our baggage". His insurer says that all its policyholders are
provided with emergency contact details - available 24/7 - should they require
SEE: Think your Bali festive season plans are
dashed? Here's what you need to know
At the time of the initial closure of the island's airport
at the end of November, Club Travel Marketing Manager Luana Visagie highlighted
the importance of comprehensive travel insurance. “Even though not all policies
cover travellers in the event of travel disruptions due to an ash cloud, it is
crucial to know exactly what you are covered for.”
According to Simmy Micheli, Travel Insurance Consultants
(TIC) sales and marketing manager, if the scheduled transport is cancelled
and/or pre-paid accommodation is damaged to an uninhabitable extent as a direct
result of weather conditions, "TIC will reimburse the non-refundable
portions of travel and/or accommodation arrangements paid by the traveller or
for which the traveller is legally liable, as well as the reasonable additional
travel and accommodation expenses (three-star accommodation and economy-class
travel expenses) incurred by the traveller."
Nicky Potgieter, Flight Centre's Leisure Marketing Leader,
says travellers must always check with their travel agent to assess whether
they qualify for a refund in such instances.
ALSO SEE: Festive Season: Be vigilant, be safe warn
If Bali’s volcano threatening to erupt on numerous occasions
in 2017 wasn’t enough to prove how important it is to always have travel
insurance, then we’re not sure what will convince you to buy insurance whenever
Volcano or not, ensuring that you have travel insurance is
vital. It is also important to double-check the terms and conditions of
your insurance, as insurance may be null and void if you knowingly travel to a
destination with a natural disaster alert in place - even if you do happen to
stay outside of the affected area.
Check the T’s and C’s
Booking online through third parties is not uncommon, but
travellers often forget that millions of people have access to the same deals
and that booking in real time means that those excellent deals can be gone in
an instant – even after payment is made in some cases.
This was the case when a reader
booked an Emirates flight with an online travel bookings company, paid by
credit card and received an SMS notification that the transaction was completed,
but then received an email from the company saying that his request failed.
SEE: Online booking pitfalls: Ticket sales saga
shows why you need to check the T&Cs
An Emirates spokesperson told Traveller24 that “The
availability of such fares may change at a short notice based on the booking
frequency. Agents booking such fares do it in real time and therefore fares are
not guaranteed until the tickets are issued.
In this case, when the booking request could not be
completed, the client was refunded and was not entitled to the flight ticket as
the online bookings agency made the refund as per their T&C's.
Airlines also have their own T&C’s regulating bookings and
travellers are advised to always read these to avoid cancellations and
travel experiences with us. Email info@Traveller24.com or tweet us@Traveller24_SA.
What to read next on Traveller24:
travel planning: Tips for booking the best long-haul flight deal
Airbnb adventure trends for 2018
holiday-planning disruption: To book your own or not?