Travel Agents

Flight Centre: Bestjet collapse is proof you should book with an agent

Online travel agency Bestjet.com has gone into liquidation, potentially affecting thousands of travellers just days before Christmas.

Bestjet’s owners confirmed the business had gone into administration yesterday afternoon after the company’s website disappeared along with their social media channels.

“The owners of Bestjet can confirm that the business has appointed Nigel Markey and Bradley Hellen of Pilot Partners as the voluntary administrators of the Company and its subsidiaries, Wynyard Travel Pty Ltd and Brooklyn Travel Pty Ltd,” the statement said, according to the Courier Mail.

Many customers have taken to Twitter to vent their frustration over purchasing tickets they have not yet recieved.

However, the statement also said tickets issued to customers who have booked and paid through Bestjet will be honoured through the relevant airlines but customers who haven’t received their tickets should contact their financial institution or travel insurer.

Flight Centre’s general manager Tom Walley said the chaos surroundign the collapse has highlighted the importance of using a trusted travel agent.

“Bestjet.com has been plagued with problems for some time, like many other aggregator sites before it,’’ Walley said.

“News that it has now ceased trading sends a strong warning to customers about the risks of using particular Online Travel Agencies (OTAs).

“Their model of trimming service and reducing prices at all costs is not without consequences, as many travellers are unfortunately finding out the hard way.

Walley said travellers should look beyond the lure of low prices offered by online travel agencies as costs and stress levels can skyrocket in the event of something going wrong.

Flight Centre estimates as many as 10,000 customers will have their Christmas holiday plans thrown into disarray.

“There are ways of ensuring you are getting the best value airfares without the risk of using faceless online operators where there is nobody to speak to when a problem arises,’’ Walley said.

“If people want their holiday protected, we strongly recommended they use trusted, fully-accredited retailers.”

Bestjet was acquired by McVicker Investment Group in November from its founder Rachel James in 2012.

James is wife to disgraced Air Australia boss Michael James, which collapsed in the same year Bestjet was launched.

It is not yet clear what caused the collapse or how many will be impacted.

Travel Weekly has reached out to Bestjet for comment but is yet to receive a reply.

SEE WHAT PEOPLE ARE SAYING

  • Simon Atherton

    Gullible travellers seeking discounts, if the price offered is cheaper than the actual airline you have to ask yourself why! … glad these un-Australian bastards are gone, gone …. GONE!!!

  • John McDonald

    they seemed to operate on tiny margins & although they took payment automatically, tickets were issued manually. Even with low wages in the Philippines, you still have to make some margin. Had a look at Skyscanner & they were always the lowest price.

  • Kenny Picken

    Sadly, everyone in the trade knew this business was only ever going to go this way. Why it was allowed to trade from start up beggars belief?

  • http://www.iflyflat.com.au/ Steve@iFLYflat

    Those who paid with a credit card may have travel insurance or ability to charge back the transaction. Using a credit has its rewards…

  • Jam down

    Your comment doesn’t even make sense, gullible travellers??? no its not, its people that are trying to save a few hundred dollars. So how is it that we can buy the same flight from someone else that is cheaper than the airline itself, it just goes to show the markup and the $$$$ the airlines are making. If it was illegal the Australian government wouldn’t have allowed this practice to continue.

  • Ken

    Fares through travel agents have almost always been cheaper than from the airlines direct. Agents buy a “wholesale” fare, airlines sell “retail” to the public. Agents have a level of markup to remain below the airline’s fare. It’s when shows like BestJet sell for cost that the crashes occur.

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