JustFly never paid for this traveler’s flights. Now what?

When Seble Mengiste reschedules a trip because of terrorism fears, she loses her reservation. Can we help her find it?

Question: We purchased three airline tickets to Italy, with layovers in Istanbul, Turkey, for $3,276. The trip was scheduled for August 2016. But due to political unrest in Istanbul around the end of July 2016 we decided to cancel the trip.

JustFly.com agreed to change our tickets and reissue another ticket for Madrid, Spain, after they charged us $709 booking change penalty. The trip to Spain is booked for travel in June 2017. We received e-tickets and booking confirmation from JustFly on August 23, 2016, via email.

In May we received an email and a voice mail message asking us to contact JustFly, as there was a change in our flight schedule. Our new flight information had a very long layover, which wasn’t going to work for our itinerary. The customer service agent recommended we cancel and rebook our flights to Spain.

The agent put us on hold for a very long time. When the agent came back she told us everything was a mistake and we did not have any reservation or any booking to Madrid.

Nobody is able to tell us what is going on and all they could say was that they are sorry and understand our frustration. My situation is time-sensitive. I have hotel bookings, airline bookings for flights we are taking within Spain.

We have no wish to do business with this company. Can you get us a refund? Seble Mengiste, Fairfax, Va.

Answer: When I read your case, I understood your frustration, along with your anger and confusion with JustFly. Its lack of response and seemingly condescending apology did nothing to allow you to modify your accommodations in Spain. While I am genuinely sympathetic, I’m not surprised.

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JustFly’s website says, “Our team of travel agents is ready to assist you on the phone you can [sic] rest assured we’re with you every step of the way to make sure your vacation is flawless.”

However, JustFly.com is a vendor with which we do not have an established relationship. It rarely, if ever, responds to our emails. Customers, including you, have reported extended hold times when reaching out to JustFly’s customer service contacts, listed on our website.

In fact, your complaint is another in an ever-growing list of posts to our forums about JustFly. But your story has an interesting twist, and it provides information that could be useful to others.

When you contacted our advocates, we asked for a paper trail, as we do for every case we advocate for our readers.

Even though the majority of your communication with JustFly was by telephone, you were able to provide us with the electronic version of “the smoking gun.” You sent us the original confirmation received on Feb 03, 2016, for the tickets for your Italy trip.

That information puzzled our advocate. She contacted you and explained, “Airline tickets are only valid for one year from the date of purchase. Someone made a mistake rebooking you on dates that were invalid for your ticket. It’s also unusual that your ticket numbers are the same on both confirmations to both destinations.”

Turkish Airlines’ contract of carriage confirms this.

A ticket is valid for carriage for one year from the date of commencement of travel or if no portion of the ticket is used, from the date of issue thereof, except as otherwise provided in the ticket, these Conditions or Carrier’s Regulations.

You contacted Turkish Airlines directly and were told by the agent that you had a reservation for the upcoming trip, but for some reason JustFly had not finalized the booking. The current status of your tickets was just an unpaid reservation.

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It seemed clear to us that JustFly had realized its mistake of allowing you to fly beyond February 2017. They wanted you to pay for the reservation to Spain. Our advocate informed you of this, and added, “Unfortunately, we have not had positive responses from JustFly when we attempt to mediate cases.”

Undaunted, and armed with new information, you filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. As we reported in August 2016, the BBB in Akron, Ohio, was quite familiar with JustFly. It issued a warning to be cautious about using the company. The BBB had received 37 customer complaints and 1,449 inquiries about JustFly. At that time, based on other ratings, that warning seemed somewhat premature.

Maybe not.

That number of customer complaints to the BBB against JustFly now stands at nearly 900 according to the San Francisco office of the BBB, where JustFly is headquartered. According to their review of complaints against JustFly:

Their file indicates that this business has a pattern of complaints concerning various issues including alleged differences in the quoted price as opposed to what is actually charged, and errors by booking agents regarding date and time of travel.

Consumers also alleged that they are not receiving booking confirmations as promised, and being charged more than the quoted cancellation fee. Other concerns are failure to provide promised assistance and or support for products and services, failure to honor promised written warranties or guarantees, and failure to honor promised refunds or exchanges.

Those are the same types of complaints the BBB was receiving nearly a year ago. There’s just a lot more of them. Currently the BBB reports that JustFly “is in the process of responding to previously closed complaints.”

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Your complaint to the BBB persuaded JustFly to respond. Just over a week after you filed, you received a call and email from JustFly. The representative said, “Following our conversation, please find the recap for the refund to be processed: Total amount to be refunded is $3,276. We sincerely apologize for all the inconvenience caused.”

You were satisfied with the refund of your original purchase price and plan to make reservations directly with the airline. We were satisfied to learn of your success and hope your story serves as a lesson learned for other readers.

Chip Hiebler

Chip enjoyed a successful career in the IT field. Now he's retired and splits his time between experiencing destinations and cultures beyond his home in Baltimore and generally having fun. He currently supports the mission of Elliott.org as the co-director of the research department.

  • Patrica

    Am I reading this right? Just Fly didn’t refund the $709 booking change penalty?

  • sirwired

    Well, I’d say that’s the best of all possible resolutions. JustFly totally took it in the proverbial shorts here unless Turkish issued a refund to JustFly directly at the time of the original cancellation.

  • Alan Gore

    One sure sign of an impending bankruptcy is the business being slow to pay its vendors, who in this case are the airlines being booked. Suddenly and soon, there will be too much month left at the end of the money for JustFly.

  • AAGK

    I wouldn’t be satisfied had the ticket price increased. If the OP didn’t have to pay an increase then the penalty would be appropriate. Folks need to stop booking travel with businesses they can’t call. Just book your trips old school on the airline sites or with a travel agent.

  • Lindabator

    they may have said there would be a change fee, but as no change was actually made – would not have been a change fee — they just did NOTHING instead – sad

  • Daddydo

    It takes pressure to fix errors. You applied the pressure. Delta has a horrible habit of saying hold the line while I re-issue our error / cancellation, then you hold and hold and….It is apparent from this article that JustFly had a fatal error. Obviously there was no research on this company made before booking, JustFly could not reissue the ticket due to the 1 year rule that you uncovered, and was hoping that the customer would not discover the fatal error until arriving at the airport. At that point you pay any amount to get your vacation started.

  • greg watson

    once again readers……………….don’t fly JustFly.com………………..you have had enough warnings

  • Doctor Now

    This company is based out of Canada. http://momentumtravel.com/

  • Harvey-6-3.5

    While you are right, I’d be happy that I managed to get anything back from a company that seems so poorly run/shady/other issue. They may be out a little money, but at least they are out 3 grand less.

  • AAGK

    Very true.

  • gpx21dlr

    The way I read this is the same way Patricia did. JustFly made $709 on this. Wow! EZ money. I think I’ll open a travel site too.

  • Lindabator

    not possible – they quoted a CHANGE fee of $709 – but when impossible to change, would never have been charged — just wonder why the client never caught this lack of a charge on their statement – even if they never checked the ticket ino

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