Travel isn’t cheap these days, so finding a deal is cause for excitement — but several would-be globetrotters in Edmonton discovered it was too good to be true.
Edmonton resident Lana Kuzyk went on the website and secured four round-trip tickets to Dublin for $283 each.
“I thought there are travel deals, so it is possible.”
She said when she spotted the cheap flights, she quickly texted her husband to check out the fantastic deal — the trip of a lifetime.
“He said, ‘bucket.’ So I said, ‘bucket’ and he said ‘book it.'”
She completed the process, got a confirmation email and her credit card was charged for the two flights.
She told her sister about the successful deal and they asked to join the fall trip as well, so Kuzyk bought another two tickets for her sister and brother-in-law.
“We thought it was a done deal. You know, we thought we had these flights. We were going to Ireland in September,” she said.
Kuzyk said she went ahead and booked time off at work and eagerly began planning their vacation. The excitement was short-lived.
“Woke up the next morning to a very disappointing email from FlightHub saying that our flights had been cancelled and we would be getting refunded.”
Kuzyk said she was told an error had been made. She said she called FlightHub and was told there was nothing the company could do for her.
“I was just told from FlightHub that WestJet just wouldn’t honour the pricing and so we would be getting refund. I was told just rebook another flight.”
Kuzyk’s departing flight from Edmonton to Dublin with a stop in Calgary was set to leave on Sept. 18 and return that same route on Sept. 27.
As of Tuesday afternoon on WestJet’s website, that same basic economy trip with taxes and fees now costs $884.95 CAD — a difference of $602 each.
Kuzyk feels WestJet should have honoured the discounted prices and is now turned off from both the airline and third party she booked through.
“I kind of lost my trust,” she said.
“I don’t know if I’ll be using FlightHub or WestJet anytime soon, for sure.”
Kuzyk wasn’t the only person whose tickets were revoked and refunded.
It was going to be a trip of a life time for John Long, who spotted a deal to fly round-trip to London in October for $265 each. He was taking his mom, seven-year-old daughter and partner to see family in England.
Just like Kuzyk, Long said he went through the process, received a confirmation email, selected their seats on the WestJet app and booked vacation time from work. His mom and aunt in the U.K. did the same.
“I told my mom, told my kid — everyone was excited to go. She even called her family in England and they even booked off time at work,” he said.
“It was only a week stay, but it would have been a week worth of seeing my family that we haven’t seen in a long time.”
Their excitement was dashed about 12 hours later.
“At 10:30 at night we did get a generic email from FlightHub stating that there was a glitch in the system and they’re not honouring the price or anything, so they cancelled the booking right away.”
The trip was set to take place Oct. 2 to 9, and the four flights came to around $1,100 in total.
Now, that same basic fare trip cost $906.92 per person if flying to and from London Heathrow, and $1,253.90 if flying into London Gatwick — a difference of nearly $1,000 each.
“It’s very upsetting because I’m a loyal customer to WestJet. I’ve got the WestJet MasterCard. I always booked through WestJet for all my other travels.
“I think it’s a very disappointing thing that they’re doing — not just to me, but everyone that did book at that certain time.”
Long said this isn’t the first time he’s scored a deal. Five years ago he secured $250 tickets through KLM to England and the Dutch airline honoured that price. He said he was skeptical last week’s deal was legit but is still upset.
“WestJet is a huge company, and if they stand by their customer service — they say they provide excellent customer service — they should honour it.
“Either WestJet or FlightHub should honour this.”
Long says he hopes to get to England soon — he’s just not sure when or at what cost. He said he won’t be rebooking with the Calgary-based airline.
WestJet told Global News it was made aware of a third-party error on Friday resulting from a version update on its system that caused fares to display incorrectly on a limited number of third-party websites.
“It is important to note that WestJet has not made any changes to our fare pricing and these fares were unfortunately displayed in error,” a statement from the airline’s media relations team said.
WestJet said immediate actions were taken to correct the issue and it worked with the third-party websites to notify those impacted as quickly as possible.
“We understand how frustrating this situation has been for those who booked. Any guest impacted will receive direct communication via the third-party website they booked through.”
WestJet didn’t say how many customers booked the discounted tickets.
On Wednesday, FlightHub said it wasn’t responsible for the cheap prices.
“For a limited period on Saturday, July 15th, some invalid WestJet fares were made available to book on Flighthub.com. As sorry as we are about the situation, we would like to take the opportunity to communicate that this unfortunate error was made by the 3rd party provider that is used to distribute airline tickets. This did not come from either FlightHub or WestJet,” the travel company said in a statement to Global News.
The company said to avoid any confusion among its customers, FlightHub quickly disabled access to these fares once it was determined that they were invalid and coordinated with WestJet to choose a mitigation plan. FlightHub said WestJet requested it void all of the invalid tickets that had been issued.
“We regret that such a situation happened. As we are dependent on the third-party technology platform that is used by WestJet and other airlines to distribute tickets, we will continue to work with all our distribution partners to ensure that all advertised fares that are provided to FlightHub and its customers are valid.”
FlightHub said it wanted to apologize to our customers for the inconvenience.
“At FlightHub, we value transparency and excellent customer service. Our teams have consequently worked around the clock to notify all affected customers in less than 24 hours from the original time of booking so that they can book new and valid tickets for their trip,” the statement concluded.