We booked our RTW flight deal with STA travel back in January, at the time they told us they could only book the flights so far in advance, which is fair enough. so basically the end of our itinerary so looks like we're covering NZ,fiji and north america in a week.
At the time of booking, they said we could come back closer to the time and book the flights when they're released.
Well , after speaking to them recently, they said that its better waiting til we're out in Oz to book those last flights, as we'll definitely know then what dates we want for them. BUT that the airline will try to charge us for the date change.
HOW IS THIS ALLOWED? they told us originally that we could 'simply come back and book them' and now he's telling us we'll be charged.
have any of you guys heard of this happening?
What RTW ticket did you purchase ie star alliance, one world mileage based ticket, one world continent based ticket etc?
Both the RTW tickets that i have had anything to do with allowed changes at no extra cost by calling up the airline that the flight was booked with.
I personally think that what STA is telling you is just so that they don't spend hours and hours that they don't have spare trying to sort the stuff out and instead pass all the time consuming and non financially rewarding work to someone else more focused on customer service. You wouldn't think it was too difficult, but it is very time consuming and will often mean needing to speak to multiple airlines and being on hold for ages before actually getting a human to answer. STA is amongst the worst as far as Customer Service goes in my personal experience and that is mainly due to the rediculous expectations set on the staff to achieve rediculous sales targets that are unrealistic for the area the agency is in. This means that taking shortcuts is the way of life for a travel consultant at STA or Flight Centre and passing the time consuming stuff with little or no financial reward on to other people is what they need to do otherwise they risk losing their job.
When I changed the date on one of my RTW tickets, I just called British Airways up and told them all the details of my flights and then asked them to change the dates. Lucky for me they had a vacancy in the flight class required and could change me to a flight the day I wanted. L class flights (RTW class for Oneworld tickets) are limited in numbers so will often book out well before the departure date, so if you miss out on an L class seat you'll be stuck until one exists which might be a day or it might be 2 months depending on just how lucky you are and how regular flights fly that route. Don't wait until you get to OZ to do it if you have a date in mind. If your dates are going to be less than 12 months away, phone the airline up that the flight is with and then they should hopefully be able to sort at least the flights out that involve them. If any of the dates you want to change them to are greater than 12 months away you will probably have some issues changing the dates just yet.
[ Edit: Edited on Sep 21, 2007, at 4:28 AM by aharrold45 ]
we've booked our tickets with STA and have the same outcome. Due to all the flights not being released by the airline our last few flights of our 12 month trip have been stacked up just a few days apart. STA also informed us after the intial booking that there would be a charge for the flight changes (only one charge of £35 if you change them all at the same time) ive decided to do this at the airport a few months into our trip. I've thought the service we have recieved from STA has bee very poor and i would not use them again. I think the charge is from the airline though so it must be legit. I'll just put it down to experience and not use their company again...
Thank you very much guys for writing back.
Decided to give them a buzz their to argue my case. Had all my arguments planned and then the guy that i've been dealing with hit me with a 'one-liner' which settled it!
"you can change your flights not a problem, as much as you want before you pay off your balance in full."
too be honest, they told me this at the start and we just sort of forgot. as soon as he said it i was like "oh yeah". So i'm happy enough now that i'm not being stroked.
pretty interesting though the amount of people that have sent me a private message or posted here, saying that STA are crap. I've been dealing with a guy Andy in the Belfast branch, and to be fair he's been great. I can normally tell the difference between a guy thats a happy camper, and one thats a happy guy with a motive (i.e. sales).
A few people have mentioned trailfinders, and too be honest, i would say the opposite, that the service there is poorer. Although, the guy we had looked like a bit of a 'learner driver', so probably didnt know that much yet!
thanks again guys
A good sales person will lead you to believe that he/she is wanting to give you the best price and best experience when actually all they really care about is getting your cash in their hands (or EFTPOS machine). It is a rare STA travel staff member who has anything other than the commission factor in their mind and the ones I have spoken to or had any dealings with don't even ask for their clients to come back in when they get home to talk about their trip. Any travel consultant who cares about the true customer service side of your experience, would encourage you to come back in to the agency when you get back home from your fabulous trip and also encourage you to come back in if you have any further questions or problems with your ticket (and when that happens sort the problem out rather than passing it on to some other person or making excuses which STA travel and Flight Centre are the best in the business at doing).
I used to HATE STA !!
We used them in NZ to get a flight to OZ and they were absolutely abysmal when we wanted to change things....
As for your RTW tickets.... it's the standard thing I'm afraid. However, the one off change is most probably to reissue the tickets (Paper ones or a fee applied by the airlines.... Nominally One World and Star Alliance do this!)
We however... checked out the Virgin Great Escapade RTW Tickets who don't charge for ANY (yep... ANY) changes ... to dates that is! Routes are a different thing..
We checked this out when we did our original research so I'd recommend anyone to do the same.
As for you guys.... We did get our tickets through STA this time.
We went to the Store ready with the tickets we wanted, route, itinerary and prices.
He booked us the tickets and then we got on so well (since he was perhaps one of the rare NICE guys at STA) he gave us his personal email address and phone number direct to the Office so we can ring him for changes
Excellent Service !
The guys was brill (STA Sheffield Office)
However... like everywhere in the world.... one bad guy doesn't mean they're all bad guys (and vice versa of course!)
Hope you have a great trip anyway
Despite the many posts saying how disappointed people are with STA Travel I would just like to say that I have been very impressed with them so far (hope I'm not speaking too soon!). When I first decided that I wanted to go travelling I had ideas about where to go but didn't know the best way to go about it. I went into my nearest agency on a Saturday morning with no appointment and got seen straight away. They pointed me in the right direction, gave me loads of advice and gave me loads of ideas. A couple of months later I had a better idea of what I wanted to do so went back to discuss flights. I managed to sort out flights, a trek in Bali and my first 6 days accommodation in Australia all in one go. They guy I spoke to had loads of advice to give me about Westerna Australia as he had lived there for 3 years and that was really useful as most people I have spoken to have only been to the East Coast. As for flights I was told from the start about the additional cost involved for changing flights but I got lucky and the guy I dealt with told me he would change them free of charge for me nearer the time although I know I will probably have to pay for the last one because it is so far in advance but I'm fine with that.
If it wasn't for STA I don't know how I would have gone about planning my trip having never done anything like this before. Ok, so I may have been able to get it cheaper elsewhere but at least I have peace of mind that they are a reputable company and there are lots of branches worldwide if I need their help.
A big thumbs up and thank you to the staff in the Leeds city centre branch from me .
I booked my tickets thru STA and although I got stung with the extra tax that came in earlier in the year it was fine. We were able to book ours to the dates we wanted all at once, it must be pretty annoying to have been messed around like that. It's prob worth checking with the airlines for the actual flights tho to see if there really will be a booking fee. Our ticket was STA, Quantas RTW. We flew Quantas, BA, Air Pacific and American Airlines thru that ticket. We changed one flight on our trip when we got the country we wanted to change it in and were not charged, that one was a BA flight.
STA is just the agent that buys the ticket so they can't control the charges - having said that they shouldn't have promised something they could not guarantee.