Are you sure you have flights home?

Flyglobespan

Erm... who?

Up early this morning to check on the situation regarding Globespan. A quick click onto their website and all seems fine. Flights still for sale, all hunky dory.

Then onto the BBC website, the Telegraph, some travel industry site… “Globespan goes bust”, “Largest Scottish Air Carrier Collapses Leaving 5000 Stranded”.

Back to Globespan’s page. A quick forced refresh and it changes into a nice note from PriceWaterhouseCoopers saying that they’re the administrator and as I booked direct with the airline for flights only that I’m… well… screwed.

And thus the lesson prompted by the collapse of Excel a year or so ago have been proven not to have been learned. There is still no cover for those who book flights directly with an airline. Book a holiday with them and you’re fine. Book the flights via a third party and ABTA cover you. No worries.

But save cash by booking direct and if the company goes under, you lose your money. And if you’re already abroad you have to sort your own self out as far as getting home goes. Why – a year on – is this still the same? Oh, yes. Because it would mean that companies would have to fund a scheme to help people in case it happened. And they’re businesses so it would hit their bottom line.

So. All of a sudden I had no flight home. Interesting.

Had things have been different, I’d not have cared too much. I’d have got the ferry to Marakech, or picked another flight at random to anywhere and worked my way home. Sadly, now, I am living something approximating a “real life” and so these options were no longer open to me.

Shame.

My initial visit was to the Thomas Cook website. Christina and her mum were on a flight on Friday and there were apparently still seats on it at a decent price. Only every time I tried to book one, the website told me there wasn’t any room on my return flight. Which was weird given that I was only booking a one-way.

I gave up.

Next stop, skyscanner.net which put me on the track of a staggered journey: Jet2 to Belfast and then EasyJet to Glasgow. Both tickets together around £120.

Following obvious advice, I stepped through the purchase of each bit by bit until I had each seat on standby. Better this than buying one, to go to the next site and find they’ve sold out! So both seats available, both ready to be paid for, fill in details, *click to buy*, on to other site *click to buy*…

EasyJet mail comes through instantly. Belfast to Glasgow sorted. Jet2.com… erm… what do you mean SQL Error? Refresh and the site tells to to rebook from the beginning. Argh.

I checked my account and the flight was there. It just hadn’t been paid for. Still reserved, but warning me that if payment wasn’t received “soon”, I’d lose it. Nowhere, though, was there an option to pay for the bloody thing.

I started again, went through the whole procedure… and ended up in the same position. Even changing the payment method made no difference. Wonderful.

On to Skype to ring their premium rate number where I go onto a very nice chap in Delhi who took all my details and promised they’d resolve everything. Someone would call me back in the next 2-3 hours. Just in case, I rang and emailed my dad so he had all the info as well. I couldn’t guarantee being able to re-contact Jet2.

Long story short, eventually my dad got it sorted. They billed me for both flights, only sent me paperwork for one, pre-acknowledged it was their mistake and a refund would be issued forthwith and – for some reason – wiped my frequent flyer points out.

The nice chap at reception let me print out my boarding cards for no fee, despite their being a pay-per-use PC with a printer attached nearby.

Oh, we walked to Las Américas again. And sat and read on the beach. And drank heavily. Well, I did. I think I’d earned it.

Situation sorted, though.

At least that’s what I thought…

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