BBC’s ‘Rip Off Britain’ Highlights Airline Complaints


With the number of holiday makers flying abroad every year consumers are bound to come across the growing number of tour operators that turn your holiday into complete chaos. From the moment you book your holiday, disaster can strike, from cancelled flights and hotel accommodations to not being able to travel at all. The common cause being tour operators failing to provide the service and standards promised.

Cancelled flights

BBC's 'Rip Off Britain' name and shame an online airline known as Azzy Travel which failed to meet the expectations of hundreds of consumers. The team on the show specifically highlighted a couple and Dr Sharma who had booked to travel to Mumbassa in Kenya for a friend’s wedding. It was an event that they were all looking forward to and couldn’t afford to miss, however their plans resulted in turmoil as soon they came across Azzy Travel online.

When it came to booking their flights both parties experienced a strange request to pay by bank transfer with payment by card being rejected. However, the problem was that they never received their flight tickets. Despite having made several calls to Azzy Travel, both parties were sent round in circles being assured that their tickets were on their way when in fact they never were. Although this was confirmed, Dr Sharma was then informed that the dates he had chosen were overbooked and he would have to choose alternative dates to fly out. Despite doing so, again Dr Sharma failed to receive his tickets.

As the parties were not able to resolve the matter directly with Azzy Travel, they confirmed that they would issue both parties a refund, but similarly this refund was never received. With neither party wanting to miss the wedding of a dear friend, they were then forced to make a decision of whether to book flights with another airline and pay an additional sum with the possibility of never receiving a refund from Azzy Travel.

Rozeena Mahatay at Simpson Millar says ‘Consumers should not have to go through such difficulty once a holiday is booked and confirmed just to ensure that they will be able to get from A to B or that a room has been reserved for them at their chosen accommodation. More importantly, they should not have to face an airline/tour operator that fails to provide the services that it promises.’

The team at Rip Off Britain attempted to get to the bottom of these failures however they too experienced the same problems. Both parties on the show along with a number of other consumers which it later emerged had experienced similar issues with Azzy Travel, were given refunds after threatening legal action in a small claims Court.

Whilst this may be one of the airlines exposed, holiday makers are to be warned that there are a number of other airlines/tour operators that fail to provide the standards of services or their services altogether which have already been paid for. Consumers are urged to ensure that they always check the reputation of a company and are clear on what the terms and conditions of their booking say to ensure these requirements are met when booking holidays. It is also imperative that holidays are booked as a package holiday (i.e. flight, accommodation and other services) so that they are covered under the Package Travel Regulations 1992.

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