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Calgary woman warns about booking airline tickets online following ‘travel nightmare’

Calgary mom urges caution when booking flights online following what she calls a ‘travel nightmare’
WATCH: A Calgary mom is warning others to look at the fine print when booking flights online. Tomasia DaSilva spoke to her about her round-trip runaround that cost her a whole lot of money.

Jennifer Young thought she was booking a simple round-trip flight for her son from Nanaimo, B.C. to Calgary, but she was wrong.

Instead of being on Air Canada’s official booking site, she was on Cheapflightsfares.com — an independent travel portal which charges customers in U.S. currency.

That threw her for a loop, she said.

“Why would anyone book plane tickets — a Canadian flight to a Canadian destination — why would they charge U.S. for that?” Young said.

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Still, she booked the flight, only to notice later that the tickets were a “flex fare” which she said she was told by Cheapflightsfares.com meant her son could be bumped from the flight. She then said she booked another flight at an added cost. She got a confirmation number but no e-ticket.

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“I thought, ‘No worries, I have a confirmation number. Is that not enough to get on a plane?'”

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But it wasn’t. Her son went to the airport only to find out there was no record of the ticket or the confirmation number. Frantic, Young called Cheapflightsfares.com again and said she was told she would have to purchase another ticket — this one an added $600 USD to the original ticket.

“[That’s] $1,300 and some.”

“I was in a panic and I just wanted it done. I wasn’t thinking,” Young said. “So I booked through him again and that was dumb.”

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The Better Business Bureau in Cleveland Ohio, where Cheapflightsfares.com is headquartered, said it has received 59 complaints about the company.

They range from things like cancelled flights, to no flights, to customers being overcharged.

Young has confirmed she was only charged for the final flight, not the original one or the one in between, but she is still angry about having to pay the $600 USD.

She has now filed a complaint with the Canadian Transportation Agency which confirmed to Global News it is reviewing her claims.

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Global News first contacted Cheapflightsfares.com back on Nov. 2 for a response to Young’s concerns.

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After several attempts, officials said: “We have to go back to pulling calls and relevant data from the Technical Team to understand the instances. We are working on it, but yes, I can assure you that we are willing to give a reasonable compensation to the customer and cooperate in getting the customer issue resolved.

“We have escalated the customer’s concerns to one of our directors and the legal team in Ohio, but yes, we are ready to compensate the customer and cooperate with the customer.”

As for Young’s complaints about flex fares, Cheapflightsfares.com said those options are alternate booking options where the user gets the option to pay cheaper rates if they are able to tweak their itinerary. It added those fares are highlighted with a different colour pattern so they are easily recognizable. They do not mean someone can be bumped off their flight.

Young said she still wants to make sure no one else experiences what she did.

“I feel really foolish and really embarrassed about it but I just don’t want anyone else to be fooled like that.”