To All Travellers impacted by the Pandemic
The Honest Plea from a travel agent
To Whom It May Concern- every person who has EVER flown anywhere.
From an exhausted travel agent.
First I would like to say, from the bottom of my heart, I am sorry. I am sorry that you have a child overseas who desperately needs to come home. I am sorry that your family are in Italy and you need to get there. I am sorry that restrictions are coming into place within 48 hours and you NEED to get on a flight right now, thank you for being ready right now as you expect there to be a place on a flight for you and 6 members of your family that are heading to the airport expecting there to be a flight ready for you. I am sorry that you had to cancel your wedding, or equally as such I am sorry that you can’t go to your friend’s wedding. I am truly sorry.
Please take the time to think, think about why this is happening. Think about all of the people around the world who are also desperate, or devastated, or suffering. This is a worldwide pandemic and no-one saw it coming. The airlines especially did not see it coming but they are the ones that are doing their best to help in a situation that is destroying everyone’s business. They cannot give you and everyone next to you a full refund, think about why. Think about how much actually goes into cancelling your booking and try to understand that we’re not here to make your life harder. In fact up until a few weeks ago, we loved going to work everyday and helping you book your dream holiday, or honeymoon, or destination wedding and we love nothing more than to help you travel around the world. It is such a beautiful environment to work in, when almost everyone is happy and wants to travel the world. That is the best feeling. Right now, everyone from the sole-trader who can no longer trade all the way up to the massive conglomerates that can no longer trade due to the new laws and restrictions are trying to find ways to still be here to help you in the future. As this is a pandemic, the airline has a duty to their loyal passengers, and they are all doing the right thing. They are giving you future hope, that when this is over you will have money already there waiting for you to be able to book your next adventure overseas.
When you book a flight, there is ALWAYS an inherent risk. How many times do you hear about someone booking a flight and then one of their family members get sick. Or you book a one way flight to move somewhere and then you meet someone who you fall in love with and decide not to go. Or you book a flight well in advance but then you fall pregnant and can’t travel. These are unforeseen things most of the time and in that case no-one questions the airline fare rules. You see them, you accept them, you move on.
Yet at a time of a global crisis, the true nature of humans really comes out. I work for a company who is getting between 200 to 1000 emails A DAY regarding flight cancellations. Every single person feels that they are the most important. Every single person has a story of why. Some of the people understand, thank us for our time and graciously accept the offer that their airline has in place. Yet there are people out there who are so entitled, selfish, rude and generally ignorant of the world outside of their little narrow views that show the true colours of the people around us. They feel that they are entitled to a full refund, and there are plenty of “reasons” that we are given. “I didn’t cancel my flight, they did, so I will have my full refund” “This a force majeure event and as such we are entitled to a refund” “I am too worried to travel and as there is a travel ban I am entitled to a full refund” “we can’t go to my friends wedding as the borders are closed, so we are entitled to a full refund” “YOU need to give us our fucking money back because there are no flights” “I called numerous times between midnight and 5am and no-one answered so I just went ahead and bought another ticket so now I expect a full refund of my original ticket” and it goes on.
The thing that upsets me, on a daily basis, are the people that don’t think outside of their little box. The people that send emails simply with their bank account details and a message saying “please forward full refund to this bank account”. To the people who are abusing us, telling us that we are greedy, that we are taking advantage of the vulnerable, that we are ridiculous and even going so far as threatening taking to social media and “A Current Affair” to report our “unethical practice” and complaining that we are taking too long to respond. The people that you are abusing have now had to work for 23 days straight, 24/7 to answer your emails, and we don’t deserve this abuse. We are a third party agency and we work directly from the directives given from the airlines. We are here to help you, and we realise that your situation is dire, and is probably worse than everyone else's but please realise this. NO-ONE has done this. There is NO-ONE to “blame” for this. We didn’t cancel your flights. The airlines didn’t choose to cancel your flights to stop you going to a wedding, they cancelled your flights as they are unable to fly, and they also have the safety of their passengers as paramount. Stop being so ignorant and realise that this is happened for your safety, and to keep you SAFE AND ALIVE. So take your credit, wait for the wedding to be booked at a later date and have a great time.
Thank you in advance for your understanding,
An exhausted, self isolated Australian.