Q: I recently made a reservation through JustFly.com to travel from Minneapolis to Coffs Harbour, Australia, via Sydney. Three weeks ago, I looked up my reservation on the Qantas website and found that the U.S. flights had been canceled.
Neither Qantas nor Justfly.com contacted me regarding the cancellation. I called Justfly.com immediately and it changed the itinerary, but I have yet to receive the confirmation and e-tickets.
I have spent hours on the phone every day with JustFly.com. The company insists that it has not received the approval from Qantas to issue the tickets. I’m supposed to leave in four days. I also called customer service at Qantas, and they said I had to go through my booking agent. Can you help?
— Janice Malvey, Minneapolis
A: JustFly.com and Qantas should have notified you of your ticket changes immediately and worked with you to fix your itinerary.
So what went wrong? Sometimes, this kind of problem comes up when there’s a communication breakdown between you and your agent or airline. To prevent it, don’t forget to give your travel agent all of your contact information, including an email and phone number. I checked with you, and you said you’d furnished JustFly.com with all of your contact information.
Maybe JustFly.com and Qantas crossed their wires, which means there’s nothing you could have done to prevent it.
Your case is an important reminder to check on the status of your flight a few weeks before you fly, just in case there’s an unexpected schedule change, and especially when you’re dealing with multiple legs. And it’s another reason why you should consider using a human agent, who will make sure something like this doesn’t slip through the cracks.
I didn’t see much of a paper trail in your case – the email correspondence between you, your airline and your online agent. Instead of calling everyone, I recommend sending an email to all the parties, politely asking them to address the problem. Too few travelers try that, and instead pick up the phone and waste hours of their time. Fortunately, you kept your itinerary and other documents, which are essential in establishing a paper trail.
There’s a shortcut. You could have forwarded all of that information, along with a polite email, to the executive contacts for Qantas and JustFly.com. Their contact information is available on my consumer-advocacy site. They need to know about your problems, preferably in writing. An email can help you create a paper trail, which saves you time and can come in handy if you ever need to go to court.
I reached out to JustFly.com. Within minutes, you had a new itinerary and e-tickets for the domestic portion of your trip.
Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine. Read more at elliott.org, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.