I wasn’t “protected” on my flight to Tirana — should my travel agent pay?

Shutterstock
By | November 17th, 2014

Jane Berryman was supposed to fly from Dubrovnik, Croatia, to Tirana, Albania, via Rome. At least that’s what her itinerary said.

She did not.

Instead of making her connection to a second airline, she stood in a long line in Rome. She missed her flight and had to spend the night at the airport. She bought a new ticket to Albania the following day.

“Who’s responsible here?” she wondered. “Me, Alitalia, or the travel agency?”

That’s a great, and unfortunately common, question in this age of codesharing confusion. Berryman is upset because no one will take responsibility for the delay. She has a right to feel that way.

At first, I assumed this was a little glitch. By all outward appearances, her itinerary was properly connected in her reservation.

A competent travel agent will connect your airline reservation on two carriers, or have them on the same ticket, which “protects” your itinerary and guarantees certain rights under EU 261, the European consumer protection law. If you don’t make the connection, the airline will put you on its next available flight at no extra charge.

But Alitalia says Berryman’s itinerary wasn’t connected. According to my contact at the airline:

[Ms. Berryman] was booked and ticketed on a separate carrier that arrived late. She had to pick up luggage and complete check-in procedures before flight closure.

Unfortunately, she was not in time and the Alitalia flight had to close or lose our slot with airport control, causing serious delays to other flights and inconvenience to other passengers.

I realize Ms. Berryman states she was on time, but she results as a no-show in the system. This can only happen if a passenger is late as we do not manually change the status to no-show.

Each ticket is a separate contract of carriage and each carrier is responsible only for the journey of their own ticket from origin to destination. Consequently we must respectfully deny compensation.

So, according to Alitalia, it didn’t know she was coming from Dubrovnik because her itinerary wasn’t on the same ticket and besides, she was late checking in.

Related story:   Does Alitalia owe me for this denied boarding incident?

Berryman remembers it differently. “By the time I reached the desk, I was told that the flight was oversold,” she says. “But they also informed me I’d checked in late and was responsible for buying a new ticket to Tirana.”

If her agent had bothered to book a ticket with a codeshare agreement, she adds, then none of this would have happened.

Actually, codesharing isn’t necessary. All she’d need is a simple “interlining” agreement to protect her. An interlining agreement between airlines handles passengers traveling on itineraries that need multiple airlines.

I suggested she circle back with her agency, AirTreks. Why did it book her on that itinerary, and why didn’t it apprise her of the risks?

Here’s the email Berryman received from a manager after several appeals to AirTreks:


I am so sorry to hear that Alitalia was not more helpful. In reviewing our emails with you about this matter, it seems like their inability to move you to the front of the line to check in certainly contributed to the fact that you missed your connection (on top of other factors, of course).

As a fellow traveler, I certainly sympathize with your situation. I have been in the same boat a few times on my personal travels, and I know there is simply nothing more frustrating than missing a flight due to circumstances outside of your control.

While it is completely true that you missed your connection due to no fault of your own, AirTreks is not responsible to reimburse you for expenses incurred as a result.

There is absolutely no way for AirTreks to be able to guarantee that flights will operate on time. Just as the delay was outside of your control, it was outside of ours as well.

The AirTreks supervisor points out that they offered several alternatives to the connection she ultimately chose. AirTreks also claimed that it advised Berryman of the risks.

Related story:   Help! United left my 13-year-old daughter in Syracuse

It added,

Unfortunately, there are not a lot of great options to get from Croatia to Albania, and I understand that you had quite specific parameters about this particular leg of your trip.

It is our policy in such cases to present every possible option and allow the traveler to make the final decision. Ultimately, the decision to book this connection was your own.

All of that being said, I think every situation that crosses my desk presents an opportunity for AirTreks to improve. We are constantly striving to provide the highest possible level of service for our travelers.

Berryman doesn’t see it that way.

“I was set up for failure from the start because of how AirTreks structured my itinerary,” she says. “I feel strongly that AirTreks should step up and do the right thing for its customer.”

By “right thing” she means reimbursing her for the 303 euro ticket she had to buy in Rome. “I will eat the extra hotel bill,” she says.

Who’s responsible? Well, Alitalia had no way of knowing that Berryman was on that Vueling flight, so I’m letting it off the hook. The real question is: Did AirTreks warn her of the risks of missing her flight to Tirana, with such a tight connection? As one of our eagle-eyed editors noted when investigating this itinerary, the inbound flight has a dismal on-time rating. Or did it just say cautioned her, after the fact?

And how can I help? I mean, if I push AirTreks to pay for the new flight to Albania, even though it disclosed all the risks, then how is that fair to the company? But if it never really told her that she wouldn’t be protected on the itinerary, then how is this scenario fair to Berryman?

Related story:   Delayed on Alitalia, but where’s my check?

What would you do?

Should I mediate Jane Berryman's case with AirTreks?

Loading ... Loading ...


  • PsyGuy

    You need to mediate this. Here’s the reason, the agent is a professional, and as such they have an obligation to protect their clients interests even when the client acts against their own such interest. How does an agency do this, they either ask the client to sign a waiver and acknowledgment of the risks, or they just don’t serve that client.
    I notice nothing in this transaction that conveys the agent has any type of formal written correspondence explaining the risks of this itinerary.

    My other issue is that the supervisor is turning a blind eye to the issue they could have done something about while focusing on the issue that was outside of their control, and that’s “connecting” the flights. If the agency had done that being late would not have been an issue, and the airline would have accommodated the PAX on the next available flight. The supervisor focusing SOLELY on the arrival time of one flight segment (and not moving the PAX ahead in line) and not addressing them connecting the flight, indicates deflection to me. Why didn’t they do that? They completely avoid that aspect of the itinerary and this problem.

    Never use a dishonest agent just because they do what you request; they’re either incompetent or thieves, and if the profession can’t police themselves than ALL of them deserve the reputation of the worst.

    EDIT: My apologies to ALL the TA’s that took offense in feeling I had directed my last statement to them. Regrettably, I was not typing what my brain was thinking.

  • sirwired

    I voted no. You are in a classic he-said, she-said situation. The OP says she wasn’t informed of the risks, the agent says she was.

  • FQTVLR

    An interline agreement would not do a lot of good when she is on separate tickets. As my agent informs me on a regular basis if I am on separate tickets and I miss a connecting flight because my first flight is delayed I am on my own. (I do this periodically in LHR.) The flights can be booked on the same itinerary but she says it is how the tickets are issued that makes the difference. A business colleague found this out the hard way in Australia 2 years ago when airline A would not tag his bags to airline B for his international flight back to the US. He had not allowed enough time between flights to collect his luggage and re-check it. He was stuck in Australia 3 additional days at his expense until he could get a seat back home. (He booked his own flights this way to save about $300.)
    And Sirwired is correct–this is a classic he-said/she-said situation. I do not think you would get anywhere by mediating it so just leave it alone.

  • Helio

    It is conveniently missing the name of the first airline, to allow us know if a codeshare was possible or not.

    It is also missing an excerpt from LW letter to TA to allow us know about what she asked. It is strange for me the supervisor didn’t address the codeshare or ticket connection issue, which let me think that she didn’t specifically ask about that.

    And finally is missing the trip date, which could help our TA coleagues to dig the possible alternatives. I’m feeling that could had have better trip connections just a couple of bucks more expensive.

  • Roy

    Chris, your terminology worries me, because it is misleading and incorrect. As FQTVLR notes, it’s entirely irrelevant if two flights are in the same record (or as you say, “connected”, which isn’t really a term and would confuse most airline and travel agents), all that matters is if they’re on the same ticket, which isn’t always possible depending on codeshare/interline agreements. As an example, you couldn’t book a Jetblue flight with a Delta flight and have it be, as you call it, “connected”, because they simply don’t have an interline or ticketing agreement. You did leave out the first airline here as well, so no one has any idea if it was even possible in this case to interline, although if it were a European LCC like easyJet, it probably wasn’t.

    Don’t mediate the case, it’s a he-said she-said, and the most likely result is either a stalemate, or the TA saying “screw this, we’re right but we don’t have time for this, pay the damn ticket and never speak to this lady again.”

  • Thanks for the helpful suggestion. I’ve revised the terminology to clarify. I have a team of editors, some of whom are travel agents, who review these stories before they post. I’ll make sure I get this right the next time.

  • So sorry about that. Her travel dates were July 22. Here connecting flight (not on the same ticket) was Vueling.

  • Alan Gore

    With a story like this, you can generally stop reading when you get to “Alitalia.”

    But if the agency could have issued both tickets in the same PNR and didn’t, it’s definitely their fault. This type of trip is the one where we’re always being advised to use an agent, and I’m assuming that in this case it was a real, local TA. We have to depend on the agent to do things right.

  • John Baker

    This entire case hinges on what the LW was told and when she was told it. If she was told that she would need to check in again in Rome and it sounds like she was, then it really is on her. If she wasn’t, then its on the TA.

    Either way, I don’t see you making much headway. I don’t see either party admitting fault. Based on the tone of her email, I don’t see a situation where she’d ever admit it was her fault even if the TA produces it in writing. Unfortunately, she ended up with the downside of not booking a through ticket.

  • Helio

    Thanks Chris!

  • TonyA_says

    My guess is she wanted to save money and she got what she paid for (nice cliche). Now she is whining.

  • Kairho

    Sometimes it is simply not possible to issue one ticket for such a journey. Some airlines do not have agreements to allow such, usually the LCCs which I believe Vueling may be. This may be the case here and if so the agency is not at fault.

  • BillCCC

    Since you are against codesharing I fail to see a problem. She was late checking in and missed the flight. What is there to mediate?

  • John Baker

    @TonyA_says:disqus I suspect the same thing… She only cared about saving the money upfront and ignored the risk involved.

  • John Baker

    Point for Mr BillCCC….

  • TonyA_says

    Connected usually means the airlines are interconnected and the flights are on same ticket. Otherwise what would be the connection?

  • This has nothing to do with my personal views on codesharing. But if you must know, I believe codesharing is a deceptive, self-serving and anticompetitive arrangement. We’ll have that discussion some other time.

  • TonyA_says

    Wow, I am a TA (and I was the one who researched this for CE). You are calling me incompetent or a thief?
    I believe I am competent in what I do – making air itineraries for people I do care about.
    Psy I don’t know what you are smokin there in Japan, but there are many competent TAs everywhere in the World.

  • VoR61

    A search of available flights for the same week day (Tuesday) next year (Jul 21) shows one flight that day on Vueling. It is only $43. And one flight on easyJet for $64. In the $200-$300 range, options expand to multiple flights on multiple airlines. For $300-$400, Lufthansa shows quite a few.

    The LW gave herself no margin in the event of any issues when she chose an airline with only one flight that day …

  • Please, let’s be nice to each other. I’m sure Psy didn’t mean it that way.

  • I agree with your first sentence. Boy, do I.

  • jim6555

    Unlike you, I believe that a tie goes to the consumer. Unless the TA can produce a waiver signed by the passenger, I must believe that she was not warned.

  • John Baker

    If the two airlines don’t interline, you can’t connect the itineraries. I’m not a TA but I know at least that much about air ticketing.

    How do you know that the LW wasn’t warned in writing? I don’t see the TA sending that back. Why beat the dead horse? If the LW was warned in writing, do you really think that the LW is going to share that with Chris? How many times have we seen the case where the LW only shares part of the truth?

  • FQTVLR

    Really? His last line clearly state agents are incompetent or thieves and all should be lumped together. Sorry but I, for some strange reason today, agree with Tony.

  • $16635417

    I’m re-reading and trying to figure out how you think he meant it.

  • Joe

    Caveat emptor. While I sympathize with the lady, I vote no. As an attorney, I have a responsibility to advise my clients of the law and provide my professional opinions and advice, but at the end of the day the final decision regarding a course of action rests with them. I can counsel someone to pursue a particular course of action but I can’t force them to do so. Same reasoning would seem to apply here.

  • $16635417

    I have the option of taking a bus to an airport 90 miles away. They have a set schedule, but always include the disclaimer that they are not responsible for missed connections. If I take the bus, I don’t take the one that is scheduled perfectly for my flight, I take an earlier one.

    It sounds like these were not “connected” tickets. How much time was originally scheduled in Rome?

  • Asiansm Dan

    Alitalia is famous for schedule irregularity. Again, travel to Tirana without Travel Insurance is a Russian Roulette gaming. In the other hand, Amex, Diner’s Club or any Gold Card cover the lodging, transfers and new ticket if necessary without any cost if the 2 tickets was charged on its.
    By the way, I read on some blog that Roma Airport is in renovation/expansion causing a lot of complaints and insatisfactions.

  • TonyA_says

    Coed-Sharing! I’m all for that! :-)

  • $16635417

    Granted Alitalia has a lousy reputation, but how were they at fault here?

    Wasn’t the inbound Vueling flight delayed, causing her to miss checking in for Alitalia on time?

  • $16635417

    But it sounds like it was the inbound non-Alitalia flight that was delayed. (Vueling). Maybe if Alitalia WAS delayed from Rome, she might have been allowed to check in late! :)

  • TonyA_says

    DBV-VY-FCO $54 1h 15m – Ticket #1
    Wait in Rome Airport more than 2 hours
    FCO-AZ-TIA $202 1h 20m – Ticket #2

    — versus —

    $460 one-stop connected flight OU/OS via VIE
    approx 9 hrs.

    Which one you think people will buy?

  • TonyA_says

    It was delayed, too !

  • John Baker

    If it’s me? All depends on how important it is that I get where I’m going / the number of bailout flights if I misconnect. I’ve done both honestly. Normally I leave a lot more than 2 hours on a disconnected itinerary though. Check in normally ends 60 to 90 min prior to the flight and baggage can take over 30 min to hit the belt. That burns up your 2 hours really quickly.

  • Fishplate

    Why does it take longer to fly than it does to drive (according to Google Maps)?

  • TonyA_says

    Chop-chops are extremely dangerous to do.
    People need to be informed of the probabilities and consequences of failure and not just that failure can happen.

  • 219kimrod

    As a frequent international traveler, I greatly appreciate the Travel Agents who take the time to regularly comment on this site. Although I have traveled internationally on business and leisure for over 30 years I learned something today regarding connecting flights. TAs – please remember that you are professionals and know all of these important things re code sharing, connecting, pnr, etc. – but most travelers, including myself, do not. We rely on you to tell us in words which we can understand, not in TA speak. Unless you know differently, please start with the assumption we may not understand completely and do a communication check with us.

    When working full time my travel arrangements were handled by my company’s TA. Although I am located in Charlotte, NC, I use the services of a TA in Chicago to whom I was referred after I retired, who takes the time to verify the accuracy and comprehensive understanding of our arrangements. I would not travel internationally today without the use of a professional TA, and frequently use him domestically as well.

    Thanks to all professional TAs!

  • jerryatric

    HAH, the industry apologist is at it again! All T/A’s are incompetent or thieves? What a mind numbing foolish statement.

    Judging by the HUGE amount of complaints against first – airlines, second car rental agencies & third hotel chains could I also say never use any of them? Either he was trying to raise Cain with an idiotic statement or he really believes what he wrote. Either case he really should be ignored.

  • @disqus_27ORzhmDId:disqus did you really mean to say all agents were thieves? Seems a little bit of a broad brush, which is something I’m normally accused of (hint: evil loyalty programs).

  • TonyA_says

    Because many people do not care to drive in Montenegro and Albania. I certainly do not blame them :-)

    rome2rio. com/s/Dubrovnik/Tirana

  • TonyA_says

    We, TAs, are people. FAs are people. too.
    Airlines and OTAs are usually companies – not people unless you believe the Supreme Court.
    If you don’t like TAs to come to your site, then just tell us directly. We will leave.

  • I love TAs and FAs and I welcome your comments here. I was hoping that I misunderstood @disqus_27ORzhmDId:disqus’s comments, that’s all I was saying.

  • TonyA_says

    Thank you, too, for your kind words.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Hint: In a couple weeks when the next blow-up happens on here and you’re lecturing people on keeping it civil, remember this example. You can’t try to make personal attacks funny part of the time but then get upset by them other times.

  • I’m sorry you felt I was making light of this. I wasn’t. I don’t tolerate personal attacks on this site.

  • $16635417

    Looks like she needed everything to work out as scheduled to have a chance. Alitalia posts a 45 minute minimum check in policy on their website for international (non-intercontinental) flights at Rome. That would mean needing to be checked in at 8:45PM. With a scheduled 7:15pm arrival that would have given her 90 minutes to claim luggage, go through customs and get to the counter after waiting in the Alitalia check in line.

    She landed one minute before check in presumably closed.

  • TonyA_says

    Yeah, this is a bad chop-chop job by a TA. But she bought it since it is cheaper. Too bad.

  • VoR61

    You replied to mikegun. Didn’t you mean to reply to PsyGuy instead?

  • I did. Typing too fast today. Apologies, @mikegun:disqus

  • VoR61

    Curious to know from your experience what a 2 star hotel in Rome costs. Another option may have been to fly on Vueling the day before and stay the night. If this were an option, she could have treated herself to some things in Rome for a little extra, instead of missing her flight.

  • Raven_Altosk

    Alitalia is one of the worst airlines and it doesn’t help that every time I’ve been to Rome I witness what Italians call “queuing” which isn’t it at all…

    Regardless, looking at Tony’s info below, it looks like her agent screwed the pooch. Any agent worth their salt wouldn’t give someone a short connection in Rome…

  • bodega3

    I have worked with AirTreks many times. I don’t think they would have put her itinerary together unless it was what she wanted. They documented their discussion with her, which is their usual procedure.

  • Fishplate

    Oh, yeah, I understand that. But seven hours for a 165 mile flight?

  • bodega3

    Having used AirTreks many times for clients, I say don’t mediate. The traveler picked the flights. End of story.

  • sirwired

    A signed waiver? If I’m a TA, I’m not going to make my customers sign some ugly looking waiver for every little thing; it does not exactly set a positive tone for your interaction with a customer if you foist legal paperwork on them for a common transaction.

    And why should a “tie go to the consumer”? The TA likes their money just as much as the passenger likes theirs.

  • emanon256

    I voted no. If AirTreks told her there was a risk and offered alternatives, and she still accepted the risk and turned down the alternatives, then she should pay for her new flight.

    There are occasional instances where one has no chose but to fly on two separate airlines that cant’ be interlined. When that happens, I recommend an overnight stay or at least a 6hr minimum layover. Yes 6 hours is a long time to wait, but its better than buying a new ticket on the next available flight.

  • emanon256

    Codeshare too. Wow, I was shocked to not see an anti-code share rant :)

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    By the way, what is AirTreks? It seems to me that they are onlinecall center travel agency. A step above an online booking site but a step below a brick & mortar travel agentagency. Is this a fair assessment?

    Personally, it is my preference to go to an office in my community and sit across from a professional travel agent to discuss our complex international travel plans. It is my preference to work with someone that will work with us when we have questions, problems, etc. before and during our travels.

    Yes, the online booking sites and agencies may save a person money upfront but I look at the whole picture…there is value in having the cell phone number of a travel agent than calling the off-shore call center if you encounter a problem.

  • emanon256

    Ouch, if everything was on time she had 2h15m to retrieve her bag, go through customs, re-check in, and get to the gate. Way to risky!

  • No worries, I will work up a codesharing rant. I love writing those!

  • bodega3

    You must have really been burned at one time. Sorry for your bad experience.
    When you own a business that deals with the public, you get to deal with all types. They are all coming to you for help, but they don’t always listen and wish to be in control. At some point, as a business person, you need to tell the client to go elsewhere. If all the planets line up, sometimes everything goes perfectly. But when a glitch arises, all heck breaks loose. Sounds like the latter in the LW’s case. She was presented with options and she picked the one that would have issues if a delay took place and it did.

  • emanon256

    Actually, the best agent I ever had didn’t have a brick and mortar office, and I never met her in person. But I did have her cell phone number, and she was always available, and could do the most complex trips and make it look easy.

  • lvswhippets

    Or better yet have his comment deleted due to content. I see many others have been deleted including one of yours?

  • bodega3

    AirTreks has been around for a long, long time and are located in San Francisco. They are used by many tour companies to handle their international air itineraries. I have called them many times for fares.

  • $16635417

    I just looked them up on yelp. Seems to have mainly good reviews with a few unsatisfied one tossed in. (Similar to my favorite restaurants!)

  • $16635417

    No problem. I wont call you an incompetent, thieving journalist…this time. ;)

  • Fred

    In this case, your first sentence of the second paragraph is not correct. The Alitalia portion of the total fare would have been higher because Vueling would be the ticketing carrier for all flights. This often means a higher fare for any other carrier on the same PNR. For airlines who are not part of the same alliance (or any alliance) the stand alone total price for two tickets is often less than the combined fare on the same ticket.

    I am a travel agent. If my client wanted this as two tickets to save money, I would at least have an email paper trail showing my advice against it. In some cases I have just told the client no. I have before.

    No TA would issue two tickets, when one works better. In this case, I suspect the traveler lost their bet on saving money AND still making this work. In those types of bets the loser is likely to still look for someone else to be responsible to cover the bet. That is why Chris heard from them.

    I suspect AirTrek’s big mistake was not just declining the client’s original request. Or at least having a good paper trail.

  • FranklyMyDeer

    The airlines and travel bookers do far worse things to consumers – please don’t expend any more energy on this situation, Chris. Honestly, I can’t believe you’ve done this much. This is why purchasing separate tickets is a terrible idea. It is no one’s fault that but hers that she booked this itinerary or allowed a TA to do it for her. Unless there is a contract with the TA covering this situation (and of course there isn’t), leave this company alone. As much as I loathe Alitalia, I can’t believe you even wasted their time. This woman needs to consider this a lesson learned and move on.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    I agree…do an overnight stay or a 6-hr minimum layover…but it is all about money for most travelers (that is what it seems to me especially the ones that write to Chris). There are factors like mechanical delays, weather, air traffic issues, customs, etc…it is unrealistic to expect that everything will go right.

  • FranklyMyDeer

    I’d also like to note that a quick search of itineraries for this route showed numerous possibilities that could have been booked as one complete itinerary, thus avoiding this entire problem.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    Was she referred to you? I do business with people that I have never met in person but they came highly recommended to me by people that I trust, respect, etc.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    It seems like it was about money.

    My father taught me that if you can’t do it right then wait until you can do it right.

  • FranklyMyDeer

    Exactly. I was tempted to do this on a recent trip to Europe but realized myself that one misstep at customs would blow any potential savings and leave me just like this LW – with no one legally obligated to assist me.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    A person can take the risk or gamble but they need to take responsibility for the riskgamble when it fails. It seems like most people today (or it seems like especially reading this blog; reading other media; listening to the news; etc.) are not willing to take the responsibility for their actions…they always want it to be one-sided…they want the rewards (i.e. savings) without the risks (e.g. a non-refundable fare doesn’t apply to them).

  • AliJules

    Vueling is a (lovely) budget airline. It isn’t part of any code-sharing alliances and doesn’t have ticketing agreements with any other airlines. Which means you can’t treat it as a connecting flight – it’s no different than taking a taxi to the airport. . .if your taxi being late isn’t Alitalia’s problem, neither is Vueling’s late-arriving flight.

    If you book a Vueling flight through a travel agent, all he or she has done is log onto their website and buy you a ticket. Any responsible TA would have explained this (and it sounds like she used a responsible one).

    A good TA is not your Mom – they’re a partner in your travel planning who has more experience and access to flights you can’t easily find otherwise. Hiring a TA doesn’t excuse you from the need to be an informed traveller who takes responsibility for your own actions (and this includes the need to have appropriate travel insurance!)

  • FranklyMyDeer

    A codeshare was possible, I checked. I’m guessing since she went with Vueling (notoriously late but a nice budget airline), this came down to cost. The single itinerary flights are more expensive than booking a super-budget ticket to Rome and then a moderately priced flight to Albania. Except, of course, when it all goes wrong…

  • Sharon

    Vueling does belong to the International Airlines Group (as do Iberia and BA), and earns Puntos (or Avios, now) with Iberia. Codeshares with IB, BA, and Qatar.

  • $16635417

    Would you take a case you knew you had a slim chance of winning? I’m not talking about representing a defendant who you want to make sure gets fair representation, stick with a civil suit.

    I come to you wanting to sue someone. You hear the case I make and realize it is highly unlikely I would prevail. I say I want to do it anyway and will pay your fee. Would you still take the case?

    The reason I ask is because I’m trying to get my head around if the travel agent did a disservice by making the client aware of this option. If they disclosed the pitfalls to booking two separate tickets, and the client wanted it anyway, should they still sell it?

    If you represent me, and we lose (just as you suspected), you now run the risk of me telling people that you are a lousy attorney.

  • PsyGuy

    The TA is the professional,

  • PsyGuy

    Then Airtraks would have provided a copy of their warning. Nothing in the Airtraks letter even touches on the connectability or inability to connect the flights.
    When people are accused of something the innocent deny, the guilty deflect.

  • PsyGuy

    My final comment was an emotional appeal about the lack of a profession failing to police itself. Every profession has an obligation to self regulate. Good TA’s need to boot out bad TAs and a profession that doesn’t is no better then the worst of its own. A professional only enjoys the reputation of it’s worse members.

  • Joe

    As to the question of taking the case, no. Personally I wouldn’t take your case. I’m fortunate enough that I don’t have to take every case that walks through the door, and as you allude to, my reputation is everything. Future business depends on me being selective of the cases and clients I represent in the present. That being said, there are a number of attorneys out there who either aren’t in the same position or don’t have the same scruples. I’d probably refer you to some of my colleagues who like “snowball’s chance in Hades” cases almost as much as they like “I want to do it anyway and will pay your fee” clients.

    If the question though is getting at an alleged disservice by making a client aware of an option, I don’t think that would be the case. Say we are in the midst of your near-frivolous case and the respondent offers to settle for $250k. Say you wanted $50M and have already racked up $100k in fees (I’m not cheap). I’d give it to you straight and lay out your three real options: 1. Accept the offer, 2. make a counteroffer, 3. proceed to trial, while advising you of the merits of your options and my ever-increasing fees as a result of your representation. If I don’t present all the options available to you and document the whole process I leave myself open to a malpractice lawsuit.

  • emanon256

    Actually my wife found her on-line though a travel blog. We used her for 8 years an sadly she lost a battle with cancer a few years ago. She was wonderful, and we referred her to many people. One time she made a mistake, and more than made up for it.

  • PsyGuy

    Did they tell her the risk though?

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    Vueling signed an interline agreement with Qatar on September 30, 2014. The OP traveled on July 22, 2014 per the comment that Chris Elliott posted.

    Back in 2012, they signed an interline agreement with BA and it seems like an affiliated company of Iberia owns a controlling interest in Vueling.

  • John Baker

    Yes… but Chris hasn’t reached our to the TA yet only the LW. If the TA had already discussed and documented the discussion with the LW why revisit the discussion if you don’t have to?

  • John Baker

    Their website suggests that they only do Round the World Itineraries …
    http://www.airtreks.com/

  • DavidYoung2

    Any professional should police their client list. If a client goes against your advice, you should refuse to serve that client. Your advice should reflect your professional opinion and if the client goes against it, there’s going to be trouble ahead (maybe not this time, but eventually something will blow up on you.)

  • bodega3

    We don’t know if the LW called and booked without receiving anything in print before paying for the reservations. I get the comment all the time, “You just handle it and send it to me, here is my cc information”. I refuse to do that and make them approve what they picked BEFORE issuing the ticket. I have their approval in the form of a return email as they are never in the agency, all done by phone. I go over every option, pros and cons, but I don’t sent it to them in writing. But I do write down what we reviewed should they change their mind before ticketing and want me to go back to an option that they were given earlier.

  • bodega3

    Sometimes that does happen, sometimes it doesn’t. It depends on the client you are working with and if you have worked with them in the past. I have had clients not take my advice, but handled their reservations because it is their decision, not mine. I always give options as I will never pick something and I am asked to do that all the time. CYA as a business owner!

  • bodega3

    That is their specialty, but they do other ticketing, too.

  • sirwired

    “Good” TA’s are supposed to “boot out” bad ones by “self-regulating”?

    How does that work exactly? This is the sort of job usually left to government licensing boards, and those can open up a whole different can of proverbial worms. (Namely they inevitably work to raise the cost of entry and keep prices high even when that doesn’t serve the interests of consumers. Ref: Car dealers, Real Estate Agents, Dentists, Doctors, Lawyers, Opticians, etc. They all do it for one reason or another… Every year a couple licensing boards usually get slapped by the FTC for anti-competitive conduct.)

  • sirwired

    And?

  • IGoEverywhere

    I voted yes for the moment and really hope to read the outcome. “How did AirTreks issue the ticket?” is the primary issue to cast blame. There are many ways of issuing this ticket and most have been alluded too. But, some airlines do not have interline ticketing agreements and you may not issue them on the same ticket and sometimes not in the same PNR, the actual reservation. This is where AirTreks made an excellent point.

    “It is our policy in such cases to present every possible option and allow the traveler to make the final decision. Ultimately, the decision to book this connection was your own.” I hope that the agency had the client sign off on that.

    What were the interline rules for Alitalia and Vueling? For example, if you fly Frontier from Pittsburgh to Atlanta, then Delta to Honolulu, you have to claim your luggage, go to the Delta counter to re-check in, go through security, and do this all in ??? hours. Not a normal travel plan or route, but I see that as Berryman’s situation according to AirTrek’s response.

    I have clients that want to take the 11am non-stop flight from Ft. Lauderdale home after a 7 night cruise from Miami. It is 45 miles plus check-in, yet 90% make it. They all sign a disclaimer that they chose that flight. This seems to again fall into AirTrek’s defense.

  • emanon256

    I believe they did.

  • Michael__K

    and this includes the need to have appropriate travel insurance

    Can you, or anyone else, recommend a travel insurance policy that covers missing a flight because an un-connected prior flight landed 89 minutes late?

    Any responsible TA would have explained this (and it sounds like she used a responsible one).

    Is booking an unconnected flight with such little time to go through Passport control, collect luggage, change terminals, re-clear security, and checkin, something a responsible TA would do regardless of what the customer requests?

    Also, I would think that “explaining” ought to involve a dialogue that includes a confirmation back from the customer that the explanation was fully understood. Whatever the TA did or didn’t explain, it sure sounds like the customer didn’t fully understand.

  • Roy

    Connected simply isn’t a term that’s used that way. There’s certainly married segments, which is a slightly more specific version of the term (online connections which impact the availability displayed), but most of the time people simply use connections to refer to a transfer of plane, which may or may not be on the same ticket (KAYAK used to show their “Hacker Fares” in one itinerary, which was actually two separate tickets – not sure if they still do that)

    Chris, I owe you an apology, as I feel like I came off a bit pretentious (Elliott instead of Chris? Clearly that was pre-coffee), but retain my point about the terminology.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    she should have jumped the queue(line) at Rome.
    Americans have an obsession with lines. An Australian would have simply gone to the front of the Q & said he I am on time, problem solved. Instead she sat back in the Q & missed her flight.
    Agency can’t be blamed as they didn’t choose flights, client did.

  • JenniferFinger

    It sounds like not all the facts are, or were, in your possession as of this writing. We don’t know what was communicated to Berryman about being “protected.” It sounds like before you can go any further with this you need to fill in that blank. If it turns out that they never actually did make her such a promise, then there isn’t anything you can do for her. Otherwise, you can argue that Alitalia owes her for the flight she had to buy a new ticket for.

  • JenniferFinger

    She may have been instructed to get in that line by a travel agent or security person in Rome. Even Americans who try to jump lines or disagree with travel agents often find themselves in trouble for doing so.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    not many travel agents hang around airports !!! (99.99% of people already have tickets).
    She was just about to miss her only connecting flight of the day. Most Americans would speak up.

  • $16635417

    www (DOT) smartertravel (DOT) com/travel-advice/does-travel-insurance-cover-missed-connection.html?id=6337140

    Answer? “It depends.”

  • Poley King

    I know a lot of people who would say forget it and book on 2 separate tickets because all they care about is how much money it saves. I do not doubt that this person was warned about the downfalls of separate tickets and chose to save money. I bet there was a pretty good difference in fare between the ticketed itin and he other options that would have been available

    It looks like the main issue here is Vueling has extremely limited interline agreements and Alitalia (AZ) is not one so it would have been impossible to get it all on one ticket. According to my source:

    E-Ticket Interline Agreements

    Airline VY does not have any E-Ticket Interline agreements.

    Paper Ticket and Baggage Interline Agreements

    MAY ISSUE TICKETS INCLUDING
    AV BA HR IB QR

    MAY CHECK BAGGAGE TO
    AV BA HR IB QR

    The issue is only going to grow more now in the US now that that AA and UA have decided to stop interlining baggage on separate tickets if the connecting carrier is not in the same alliance.

  • AliJules

    Michael – my travel insurance would cover exactly this situation… through Aviva, it costs me a bit less than £100 per year (so less than her replacement ticket!) for unlimited trips including worldwide health, trip and baggage cover, airspace closures, and winter sports. You just have to do your research and read the fine print.

    AirTrek clearly state that they offer clients all the options, explaining the downsides of itineraries and letting the client choose. Again, my original argument applies: your TA is not your Mom. I’ve booked (and successfully flown) tighter connections than that…if you know what you’re doing, that’s a perfectly achievable connection (even in Rome), even if the flight is as late as hers was. All AirTrek should have been obligated to do was to point out that it was a challenging connection and suggest she have insurance to cover the risk of missing a flight.

    Sounds to me like the original poster booked the Vueling flight to save herself a couple hundred bucks (which is what an interlined ticket would have cost), skimped on travel insurance, and now wants someone else to pick up the tab. It may have been an expensive lesson, but it’s a valuable one.

  • AliJules

    You’re right. . .I’m out of date on that one. I’m still not sure you’d find a codeshared ticket on her itinerary, though. BA would have insisted on routing her through London, and Iberia flights are increasingly hard to book.

  • TonyA_says

    This was not a Kayak hacker fare. Kayak hacker fares do not chop-chop a leg.
    AirTreks did. And that was the problem.

  • Alan Gore

    She got to Alitalia on time, but they stuck her in a line and made her miss the flight. Maybe she should have ‘tipped’ someone, or complained to the right person. To me it’s a classic case of “we have you over a barrel in a situation where you don’t know our customs and procedures. Screw you!”

  • Alan Gore

    I didn’t address price, and nor was I assuming (in that very sentence) that a single PNR was possible in this case.

  • TonyA_says

    Well I use the Hilton Garden Inn in FCO (approx USD 150) precisely for this purpose (when I must break a leg). I don’t take the Leonardo Express to Termini and stay in the city since my only goal is to get out of FCO the next day. There are other cheaper hotels in the FCO perimeter area but I like the setup of the Garden Inn.

  • TonyA_says

    Precisely! A good TA will not risk their reputation on this.
    I would have told her – here is the link to Vueling and Alitalia :-) Book it yourself.

  • Alan Gore

    Can you do that in Rome? And if she did jump the line, how would she know that she wouldn’t get zip-tied and chucked into a holding cell, as she would in the US?

  • TonyA_says

    Bought/Merged with BootsnAll which does the same type on Indie travel.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    they don’t have that dodgiest of U.S.institutions in Italy The TSA !!!!

  • TonyA_says

    Did you see the on-time performance history of the VY flight.
    Someone in Airtreks screwed up in my opinion.

  • TonyA_says

    Before I sold tickets and/or consulted on itineraries for this area (that Rick Steve popularize here in the USA), I realized I had to create my own personal flight and route database on how to go in and out of the area since it is very tricky especially when time of day is a requirement (since some take cruises). Split, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Tirana, etc. are always a headache :-)

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    The problem in the US is that several people don’t have the manners, tact, etc. to do it correctly. They have a sense of entitlement; acting the ugly American (if traveling aboard), etc. I do it a lot at a variety of storesbusinesses and it works for me because I think that I acknowledge every party, polite, etc.

  • TonyA_says

    Define RESPONSIBLE travel agent? You still believe AirTreks did everything right here after reading some of the posts with data and information?

  • TonyA_says

    That does not mean much :-)
    IB has codeshared VY fights for a long time. (Since Iberia bought a large chunk of Vueling).
    But try putting those IB codeshared VY flights on the same ticket with AZ. Good luck!

  • PsyGuy

    Well if they DIDN’T offer all the options, do you really think they would admit to it?

  • TonyA_says

    Vueling (VY): DOES NOT PARTICIPATE IN E-TICKET INTERLINE AGREEMENTS.

    End of Story.

  • PsyGuy

    You create an association with high standards and a common service policy. TA’s that perform to those levels get to remain in the association, those that don’t get booted out.

  • PsyGuy

    Professionals have a higher standard of care.

  • TonyA_says

    Then you haven’t seen T5 in FCO.

  • TonyA_says

    The airlines VY and AZ have nothing to do with this fiasco.
    This is between the PAX and the travel agency AirTreks.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    Italians have around 10 forms of police at last count, but no one takes any of them very seriously.

  • TonyA_says

    Vueling is a ticketless carrier (I believe on Navitaire’s system).
    Good luck with that.

  • AliJules

    Yes, actually, Tony, I have read all the comments and I still think AirTrek wasn’t in the wrong here. Would it have been good PR to meet her partway with some cash? Sure. Do they owe her for the replacement flight? No.

    If you are booking anything other than a package tour, you are taking responsibility for researching your destination, for understanding your travel plans, for speaking up when you aren’t sure, and yes, for having appropriate insurance to cover your risks. Stuff happens; eventually, everyone misses a flight.

    If you’re not prepared to take responsibility for your own travel, perhaps you should stick to a package tour.

  • Michael__K

    my travel insurance would cover exactly this situation… through Aviva

    You mean this policy? —
    http://www.aviva.co.Uk/static/library/pdfs/travel/NTRTG10145.pdf

    Aside from the fact that it’s only available to UK residents (and thus not available to the OP or to most readers of this site), under what provision exactly do you believe the delay of a NON-connecting flight for less than 12 hours would be covered? I can’t find any such provision.

    In fact, the policy explicitly says this:

    Missed connection outside of the UK

    What is not covered

    Any claim where you have not allowed sufficient time to make the travel connections shown on your ticket/itinerary e.g. transfers between terminals, airports, ports or stations.

    What would you tell a reader who took your advice and gets their claim denied in exactly this situation? Let me guess: that you’re not their mother and that you already explained all these gotchas?

  • TonyA_says

    Sorry I disagree. That’s why people hire a travel agent. To do all the planning and thinking :-) Why do you think people pay me a service fee – just to book?
    The flights I pick for them need to have reduced risk profiles. Of course they are willing to pay me and the airline for that.

  • AliJules

    Gee, Michael, hostile much?

    Perhaps I’m a hardass, but if you can’t afford to miss the flight, don’t book a connection you could miss. Four hours would be enough to get your claim accepted, or even an overnight stay in Rome. My point was that a TA is within the realms of professional responsibility to allow a grown adult to book an itinerary with a challenging connection.

    If I choose to book a 2hr connection, I do so knowing that I run the risk of being out of pocket for a new ticket. If I can’t afford to be out of pocket, I don’t book that flight. If I can’t afford a reasonable alternative, then guess what- I can’t afford the trip.

  • Roy

    Kayak hacker fares have, on occasion, done exactly that in fact (I don’t have a screenshot handy however, nor is it remotely relevant to my point here). I’m not disputing that the issue is that AirTreks ticketed separately, not at all. In fact I’m not disputing any of the facts about the case. I’m merely asking that Chris, given that he has an incredibly widely-read site, use clear, descriptive terms when discussing things like this, as customers using industry terms can get quite confusing for both customers and TAs/airline reps alike. For example, if a customer asked me to “check if it’s cheaper if you chop-chop it”, my reaction would be approximately “eh, come again?”

    Similarly, although you say no one calls tickets “connected” if the flights aren’t on the same ticket, this article: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Travel-g41707-c207311/Newton:Massachusetts:Connecting.On.Separate.Airline.Tickets.html uses it exactly in that manner (albeit in scare-quotes). It’s hardly the pinnacle of travel writing, but it proves my point.

    Chris reaches too many people to not get it right, so sticking to clear, unambiguous terms (such as “ticketed together” or “ticketed separately”) is the way to go. Even if I do think “chop-chop” is cute and plan to use it with co-workers!

  • TonyA_says

    Airtrek’s own standards: (Chop-Chop is okay)

    Our Promise to You

    Any Route – There are no routing rules when travelling with us. If you want to backtrack or cross an ocean 3 times then you can do it with AirTreks. Our team of Personal Travel Consultants will work with you to make your trip efficient to maximize your travel value. The choice of how to go is up to you. NO RULES.

    Any Airline – We can and will work with nearly every airline in the world to get you where you want to go however you like. If we cannot book a specific flight* for you then we will coordinate what we cannot book with the rest of your tickets.

    Any Change – Our team of travel experts are here to help you change your flights or route while you are on the road. They will work with you and the airlines to make it happen.

    * AirTreks uses fares from nearly every airline in the world to put together our ticket packages. We can book virtually any combination of carriers, and will recommend options taking your preferences into account. If there’s a ticket we can’t get (examples of this are fares offered by airlines based in countries against which the US government has sanctions, or airlines named on the European Blacklist as well as some low-cost online-only airlines), we can coordinate the remainder of your trip around that segment so that you can source it on your own.

  • TonyA_says

    This is why most travel agents have to limit who they sell to. Some are just ticking time bombs.

  • Michael__K

    You unequivocally stated: “my travel insurance would cover exactly this situation.”

    Of course, the OP didn’t have 4 hours (not sure where you got that figure from — I’m pretty certain not from the policy language). If you followed the comments, per TonyA’s research the OP had 90 minutes best case, factoring the 45 minute checkin requirement. I.e., your prescribed travel insurance would NOT cover this situation.

    You nicely illustrate that it’s not always a matter of customers who ignore explanations. Sometimes the explanation is not very good or even outright wrong.

  • TonyA_says

    You know that consumer advocate and RTW expert Ed Hasbrouck worked for AirTreks and is still associated with them. I think Ed also is involved in the “Amazing Race” TV series. Hard to believe they would recommend this kind of non connected flights. Maybe they have lower standards for hiring people nowadays. I don’t know but I am quite shocked these flights were put together.

  • AliJules

    Let me confirm, for the record, that my Aviva policy DID cover me for a missed flight on a two hour scheduled connection, in Copenhagen, four years ago, transferring from EasyJet to United, when my flight was late arriving due to weather over the English Channel. And no, United didn’t know I was on the EasyJet flight because I booked them separately myself. And yes, I knew there was a risk of missing the United flight and booked it anyway.

    My broader point is that there’s nothing to mediate here, because a 2hr connection on a European flight is not unreasonable, if you know what you’re doing. She booked the flight, she didn’t have insurance, she missed the flight. At no point (after, of course, telling the customer that this was a risky itinerary) is AirTrek responsible for her costs. Of course, if they didn’t tell her it was risky, then yes, they’re partially to blame, but she’s still the muppet travelling without decent insurance.

    As for my policy and it’s unavailability to Americans, a policy that covered missed connections wasn’t hard to find, even with crap British customer service. Now it’s been a long time since I lived in America, but I’m sure you could find similar coverage in the land of the customer-is-always-right.

  • TonyA_says

    But was she informed of this? Why would anyone in their right mind use this as a separate ticketed inbound flight to connected with an outbound with only 2.5 hours in between?
    This looks like very poor advice from AirTreks.

  • TonyA_says

    because Vueling would be the ticketing carrier for all flights

    Not gonna happen.

  • TonyA_says

    Also note what time the AZ flight arrives at Tirana. Another risky move IMO (especially if she was travelling alone). Good TAs spot these things :-)

  • TonyA_says

    Michael, go to airtreks, they say they offer FREE travel insurance for every qualified trip. Here is their policy:
    media. airtreks. com/pdf/TravelEx_November_14.pdf

  • TonyA_says

    I vote for YES for mediation. Here is the only thing I can find in the Airtrek site. I don’t think there is any warning against split ticketing in their FAQs. It does not even sound like a warning to me.
    I would rather they say “We do not recommend split ticketing because of the risks involved, but if you insist then here is what you must be ready to do …”

    I have 2 separate tickets connecting through to my final destination, and my first flight was delayed. I have missed or will surely miss my connection. What are my options?

    If you are holding 2 separate tickets, even if your luggage is checked all the way through, the airlines do not have the obligation to rebook you for free if your first flight is delayed.

    It is possible that they will do so, but the most likely scenario is that they would charge you a change fee to rebook to a different flight.

    If you have not yet departed on leg #1

    Ask the airline operating leg #1 to book you onto a different flight that will allow you to make your connection.

    Ask for a refund of the ticket you are holding for leg #1, and then buy a new ticket on another carrier that will allow you to make your connection.

    If you are offered a refund, get it in writing or get the name of the person who offered it to you.

    Contact airline #2. If you can go to a ticket counter, great. If not, contact their call center.

    Explain the situation and see if there are later flights that would allow you to connect. Request that they rebook you.

    If you have flown leg #1

    If there is the slightest chance you can make your connection, try to make a run for it. Explain the situation to the flight staff– they may be able to let you off before other passengers, or to call ahead for assistance. (Note that airline #1 is not obligated to help if you have 2 separate tickets. You would be relying on their staff’s good nature and your personal charm).

    If you can’t make it, go to airline #2’s ticket counter. Explain the situation and see if they can rebook you to travel on their next flight out. You may have to pay a change fee and any fare and tax difference.

    If they will not rebook you, but refer you back to us, ask them not to mark you as a no show if possible. If you have already missed the flight, they may have already marked you as a no show. If you get there before the flight departs, but too late to check in, they may be able to cancel it before departure.

    it is possible that if you miss check in completely, you will have to buy a new ticket. Many airlines will try to sell you a new ticket right off the bat. Try asking for a supervisor to see if they can help you rebook your original ticket rather than immediately buying a new flight.

    We strongly recommend trying to sort out your flights with the staff at the airport rather than trying via the airline’s call center. Often the staff on the ground have the ability to bend the rules in these cases where the call center staff do not.

    airtreks. com/emergency/

  • TonyA_says

    Chris, what happened to the residual value of her old AZ ticket?
    Was she deemed a no-show. Or was it cancelled prior to depature?
    Was it used for a ticket exchange?

  • Michael__K

    Doesn’t that demonstrate that this either wasn’t a qualified trip or wasn’t covered by the insurance (or both)?

  • Michael__K

    Let me confirm, for the record, that my Aviva policy DID cover me for a missed flight on a two hour scheduled connection

    Did they cover you because the language of the policy actually covers that situation (if so, please quote the relevant provision), or did they cover you as a good faith courtesy?

    If it’s the latter, why would you count on good faith courtesies from insurers if you don’t believe anyone should count on agents or travel providers extending these kinds of courtesies?

    —-
    a 2hr connection on a European flight is not unreasonable

    Is that even “2hrs” if she has to checkin 45+ prior? In my book, that’s really 90 minutes. If everything goes perfectly.

    You are trying to have it both ways. Here you are pooh-poohing and minimizing the risks, yet you are so sure that AirTrek’s did no such thing and you assume they fully and adequately warned the OP of all the dangers.

  • bodega3

    I won’t second guess what happened. AirTreks said other options were presented and the LW picked this one. Why did she pick this one? I have sold flights to clients that I wouldn’t recommend because they were willing to risk it and guess what? It all worked out for them and they let me know it, too.

  • bodega3

    In other words, travelers take the responsibility of the flights they pick. All options are presented.

  • PsyGuy

    I would take TSA over Aeroporti (a private security provider) that has a division that provides airport security they are supervised by state police, customs, and the civil aviation authority. They basically have 4 bosses telling them what to do.

  • PsyGuy

    I disagree that’s the same as saying I can’t believe or rely on anything my doctor says, my dentist, my attorney, or any other professional.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    both are completely & utterly useless, but TSA act more like Nazis.

  • PsyGuy

    Thats based on your knowledge and assumes the PAX has the same knowledge.

  • PsyGuy

    Sounds more like a sugar coated disclaimer that they take no responsibility for anything, all their doing is charging you a fee to DIY.

  • PsyGuy

    Only because you can understand what TSA is telling you. I get through TSA way faster then I get through security departing T5 in FCO

  • Michael__K

    That’s not the way I read that article for two-ticket airline-to-airline “connections.”

    I’ve looked at many policies (for U.S. consumers) and I don’t recall seeing any that covers a delay/interruption of less than 3 hours (5+ hours is more typical). Which implies to me that the unconnected flight must be scheduled to arrive at least 3 hours + airport connection time + time in the checkin line prior to the checkin cutoff time of the next segment.

    I highly doubt you will find any policy that covers an 89 minute delay.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    learn a few basic words in Italian & try to not to be seen as American. It helps.

  • TonyA_says

    All ticket packages purchased through AirTreks include a complimentary Travelex Travel Protection Plan…

    So she had travel insurance from them. Maybe she just didn’t know.

    Also no one talks about the residual value of her old AZ FCO-TIA ticket.
    What happened there?

  • bodega3

    If it is a DIY, they wouldn’t be calling AirTreks. What AirTreks is saying, you tell us what you want to do, we will present your options, you make the decisions.

  • PsyGuy

    Unfortunately the US passport is a dead giveaway, usually I tell people I’m Canadian.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    really good idea

  • VoR61

    Thank you, Tony. So this would have been a viable (economically) option for the LW.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Agreed. A professional, particularly one who is licensed, is held to a higher standard of care than the general public as he or she should have greater knowledge and experience and is taking money for this greater knowledge and experience.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    As as attorney, I won’t take a frivolous case, but I would take a hard case and make sure the client understand exactly what they are getting.

    I always present all options and if a client elects an option which I believe is poorly considered, I will document that the option was against my advise.

    If the client insists on doing something sketchy, I advise them to find another attorney

  • TonyA_says

    I also want to add that I and my family do not want to get to an unfamiliar city at midnight or late at night.
    So if the LW had to leave Dubrovnik late then she could have stopped at this FCO hotel and then take the earliest flight out to Tirana the next day. We, Americans, will like this hotel since it is geared for our needs (spacious). It has it’s own shuttle bus to FCO. And the restaurant is actually good. I had Cacio e’ Pepe last time I was there and it was excellent.

  • VoR61

    Nice. FYI, for Jul 21st of next year I see one Vueling flight arriving at FCO 4:55 PM, so the LW should have arrived well before midnight.

  • Michael__K

    The policy you linked to covers missed airline-to-cruise connections when the airline delay is more than 3 hours.

    I don’t see any provision that would cover either an 89 minute delay or a missed airline-to-airline two-ticket connection (even if the delay was more than 3 hours).

  • Hanope

    This is an example of why you can’t just say “use a TA instead of DYI”. Not all TAs provide the same service, and that can be a problem.
    The issue is, exactly what did AirTrek’s present as the options and did it fully disclose all the risks of chosing any particular option. In other words, did it fully disclose that the flights would not be, or could not be linked and what it meant if the flights were not linked? Did it fully disclose that the flight selected had a very bad ‘on time’ record? You can’t just say, here’s Flight A with these times and here’s Flight B with those times, you pick, and then claim it provided any actual service.

  • $16635417

    Why do you continually ask question you already have your answers to?

  • Michael__K

    Why do people continually promote travel insurance for circumstances that are not covered by travel insurance?

    Sorry for giving the TA the initial benefit of the doubt and asking the question with the hope we could all learn something new and useful. My mistake.

  • bodega3

    Having used this company, I would say they told the OP her options, the advantages and disadvantages and the OP picked this one based on either price or amount of time she thought she would be spending traveling.
    Sadly, today, I can’ say use any TA. Too many agents are not trained in air and many sell air based on their ‘internet DIY’ experiences. I am not happy with the direction my industry is going with those getting into the business.

  • Annie M

    When we book air, we also give our clients all options but I will straight out tell them if a connection will work or won’t. I generally don’t even look at connections less than 2-1/2 hours especially when flying internationally because of the time to go through Immigration, Customs and then re-check bags.,

    Unfortunately, we don’t know the choices that this agency offered the client. They said they did warn her of the risks, so to me that means they warned her about short connections. Maybe they told her she should really stay over a night in Rome and fly early the next day but she didn’t opt for it.

    There needs to be more info here from both the traveler and the agency. But PsyGuy can’t paint all agents with one brush. How do you know the traveler didn’t get all the options and chose the cheapest one? We don’t know exactly what the agency offered but the traveler certainly isn’t saying she was given more than one option.

  • Annie M

    Your agent wisely advises you of this – does she require you to sign a waiver as PsyGuy seems to think every agency should do?

  • Annie M

    But did she open her mouth at ALL to tell anyone that she had a short connection? We don’t know that at all.

  • Annie M

    Watch out saying “you get what you pay for”. Didn’t Chris just have a column saying he hates hearing that?

  • Annie M

    And I still think that agency probably gave her those options.

  • JenniferFinger

    The point is, someone “in authority” may have required her to get in that line who could have had her removed from the airport, possibly arrested, if she didn’t comply.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I don’t see anyone else mentioning this, but a suggestion: Most airlines including Al Italia apparently have mobile phone apps for online check in. Of course, the travel agency probably didn’t advise her of the need to absolutely get checked in lest she lose her flight. But still… if I’m running late I’d want to check in online and let the deal with my bags (even if I have to do a gate check in.)

    I almost never “check in” at the airport anymore. I’m checked in either at home or the hotel before going there.

  • IGoEverywhere

    Not end of story at all ! What did the “client” insist upon? What did the agency advise? I do a ton of wierd ticketing and I always have the client sign off on the fact that they were instructing me to do things that I did not think were safe time-wise, distance-wise, or money-wise. Was there a normal connection time that got messed up against a 7 hour layover that the client would not wait for? These questions need answered to assess blame. Interline agreements had no further interest in the story, that was already established. It comes down as to how the ticketing was presented and explained. Understood? Not likely to ever establish the truth.

  • Lindabator

    Exactly – this was a Vueling and Alitalia – a low-cost with no real agreements, and a European carrier with a bad history of playing well with others. Doomed to failure!

  • Lindabator

    Have had clients argue with me MANY times – I just firmly refuse, and explain I will not jeopardize my position in the industry to allow them to do something which I would inevitably be responsible for.

  • Lindabator

    Not in a case like this — simple tight connections, have them assume the responsibility — but this was a nightmare in the making.

  • Lindabator

    But only so long as you actually take their advice – granted, I would have refused to issue this fiasco, but some smaller agencies/agents cannot afford to alienate a client, so will do so against their own better judgement.

  • TonyA_says

    Tell me why a good ASTA travel agent will even present a NONE INTERLINED 2hr 1min “scheduled” “connection” between Vueling and Alitalia when they are both LAST FLIGHTS out of their respective origins and knowing (or should have known) that the on-time performance of the Vueling flight royally sucked?
    In my opinion this agent really sucked, too.
    Why should we protect him/her? Hang him/her out to dry unless they come here and show they did advise the client of the danger and the client acknowledged it.
    I don’t give fellow travel agents a free pass. Sorry.

  • Lindabator

    Thank you – and hence the real issue here.

  • Lindabator

    It is the case here.

  • Lindabator

    And that is the the sign of a reputable agent – we assume the risk to insure you are covered. :)

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    no it’s Italy, not Guantanimo Bay !!!!
    Doubt if the guns are even loaded with live rounds.

  • Lindabator

    I agree about no free pass for poor service, but we don’t know what the client DID request, as the agent said the CLIENT had made specific requests – for all we know, time issues or crazy recommendation from a family member may have been demanded – but I would either tell them to do this themselves, or have them sign a VERY specific waiver!

  • Lindabator

    True, but she still needs to be at the gate in time, which doesn’t look like it happened here.

  • Daddydo

    I have no proof that the agent ever presented anything. That has been the number 1 open question. I agree with everything that you have said about bad airline connections, last flights, All of these things are wrong. What did the customer demand? I have seen nothing about that yet.

  • JenniferFinger

    Irrelevant where it was-and not funny about Guantanamo Bay or guns.

  • JenniferFinger

    And they could get in trouble for not doing it if this was a person with authority and they disobeyed.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    Not sure fully what happened but it appears to me that she was at the gate, but waiting in line for checkin and by the time they got to her, they had given away her seat because she wasn’t checked in.

    If she had been in-line and checked in online, they may have held her seat and then when she got there, they might have balked about loading her bag as checked luggage but done a gate check in.

    It’s one of the few times I’d say that having a smartphone is an essential for travel.

  • Annie M

    For all of you who blamed the travel agency, here is a perfect example of how a customer can refuse an agents recommendation. Had a business client who booked a flight to Lansing Mi from JFK on Delta. He had a choice of a connecting flight with a 45 minute connection or one with a 2 hour connection. I told him that 45 was cutting it too close and recommended the longer connection. I asked if he was checking bags and he wasn’t and reminded him that I haven’t flown out of JFK on time in the last 2 years and re-iterated that I thought he should take the 2 hour connection. He told me “Despite your recommendations, I am going to chance it”.

    Should I have turned him away because he didn’t listen to me? He is a regular business client so I know he isn’t going to blame me if he misses that connection but sometimes despite our expertise, clients don’t listen. And maybe this one did the same thing. And no, I am not bothering to get it in writing, we’ve been working together for 8 years and I know he won’t come back whining if he misses the connection.

  • TonyA_says

    Agents always present an itinerary otherwise you are good for nothing. The LW does not need a TA to book Vueling. They have an excellent website in English and I have used it many times.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    Huh ? G bay ?
    You can ignore most Italians in “authority” or offer them a cigarette.

We want your feedback.Your opinion is important to us. Here's how you can share your thoughts:
  • Send us a letter to the editor. We'll publish your most thoughtful missives in our daily newsletter or in an upcoming post.
  • Leave a message on one of our social networks. We have an active Facebook page, a LinkedIn presence and a Twitter account. Every story on this site is posted on those channels. The conversation ranges from completely unmoderated (Twitter) to moderated (Facebook and LinkedIn).
  • Post a question to our help forums or ask our advocates for a hand through our assistance intake form. Please note that our help forum is not a place for debate. It's there primarily to assist readers with a consumer problem.
  • If you have a news tip or want to report an error or omission, you can email the site publisher directly. You may also contact the post's author directly. Contact information is in the author tagline.