A Queensland couple have been forced to spend thousands of dollars extra on their European holiday after making a simple mistake with their plane tickets.
Phil and Kate were excited to visit family in the UK and travel around Europe for a month, but hit the first hurdle before boarding their flight.
Phil booked their flights last July for what he thought was a good price through a third-party travel website called Student Universe.
However, when filling in the information for their cards, he accidentally used his wife’s nickname, Kate, instead of her birth name, Katherine.
The couple flew from Brisbane to Melbourne with Virgin and then from Melbourne to London via Doha with Qatar Airways, costing $2,400 each way.
Virgin noticed that the name on Kate’s plane ticket did not match the name on her passport and informed her that she could not board the plane without clarifying the discrepancy.
The information had to be identical to match the couple’s other documents, including visas.
While most airlines offer detail changes for a small or administrative fee, third-party websites often charge high prices for this service.
The couple claimed Student Universe told them to cancel Kate’s original ticket, for which they received a small refund, and buy a new ticket with the correct information.
“They didn’t have time, they argued, to make a name change on the ticket, but they had time to sell us a new ticket,” Phil told A Current Affair.
Queensland couple Phil and Kate (above) had to spend thousands of dollars more on their European holiday after using Kate’s nickname instead of her birth name Katherine on her plane ticket
However, since they bought a last minute flight, Kate’s new ticket cost $4,700.
“I begged her on the phone: ‘Please don’t do this, all our holiday money will be gone immediately,'” Kate recalls.
Although Phil accepted responsibility for the mistake, the two feel they were unfairly undone by Student Universe.
“They just took advantage of the whole situation, especially in the peak season, and time was of the essence,” he said.
When asked for comment by Daily Mail Australia, a spokesperson for Student Universe said it was “committed to complying with the change and cancellation policies set out by airlines”.
The couple (above) booked the ticket through Student Universe and were asked to cancel it and buy a new plane ticket
“In this case, name changes were not allowed, so the only option was to cancel the ticket and rebook,” it said.
“As we were not informed of the error by the customer until three hours after departure, this led to further charges from the airline which could have been avoided by acting earlier.”
“We advise all customers to check carefully for any errors in the name and notify us immediately.”
“In most cases where an error is discovered on the same day of booking, the customer will not be charged any penalties if they wish to cancel and rebook, as per the airline’s standard policy.”
James is an author and travel journalist who writes for The Fashion Vibes. With a love for exploring new cultures and discovering unique destinations, James brings his readers on a journey with him through his articles.