Advice Required - Booked & Paid for Flight and Booking Didn't Exist

Hey guys, long time lurker…

Need some advice. My partner booked a long haul return trip with a major travel agent, paid in advance ages ago, on her way home today she did a change over and was advised her last flight was never booked. She had all the booking info etc from travel agent. So she had to pay for a new flight to get home (at great expense).

Will go to travel agents tomorrow but was wondering legally what we can demand from them. Pretty sure this breaks a lot of consumer laws just want to know what to throw at them whilst in there.

Got the reps / head office from airline personal numbers to give to travel agents to back up the claims so no shortage of proof that they were totally incompetent. Plus its like the biggest travel agent in the country too, so hugely unprofessional considering was all business class flights etc, not cheap airlines either…

Any advice greatly appreciated!

Thanks guys :)

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    wouldn't the agent have insurance to cover their mistakes


    I would expect so, not like they are short of money… Wanting to know legally what can ask for… Original flight refunded + replacement flight paid for + is there any compensation can claim…? Couldn't get hold of anyone at the travel agents the entire day so had no assistance in them whatsoever with the booking of new flights! Completely shocking service.

    • +1 vote

      Wanting to know legally what can ask for…

      Legally you can ask for the world… what you'll be awarded is a different matter.

      You should receive all expenses plus some compensation. A full refund on top might be a stretch but you can try. Start high!

      You might like to threaten to or complain to AFTA:

      Of course travel agents are bound by the Australian Consumer Law so you could also contact your state's Consumer Protection Agency, eg Fair Trading.


    Name and shame.

    • +9 votes

      If it's true it's not defamation, right? Tell us the name of the large Flight-Specialising Centre OP.

      • +1 vote

        Flight Middle.

    • +1 vote

      Plus its like the biggest travel agent in the country

  • +14 votes

    If it's flight Centre you can't complain, as they say " call flight Centre, lowest flight gaurenteed" and never leaving the ground is low lol.

  • -1 vote

    Interesting that your partner never checked the booking information was valid, I do every time just to avoid what happened to your partner. You may be able to claim back what you lost but your partner needs to take some responsibility for not checking the validity of the booking.

    • +3 votes

      They gave her all the paper work with the reference number , flight number etc, to be honest i've never checked this info myself after a travel agent gives it to me, just presume because paid for it & have the booking details it is booked… Although now will definitely phone the airline and ask if its booked, or just do it direct

      • +1 vote

        You don't need to call you can just log in to the airlines website with your booking number, if flying business you can select or change your preferences too.

      • +3 votes

        why would you book through a travel agent , if you then have to go check with the airlines to ensure their job is done.

        you would just then book your own flights and skip the agent


          +1 on this. Particularly where you may have a complicated number of flights why would you check through the airline itself. I always check the names are spelt correctly and the dates they have given are correct, but you assume the Travel Agent knows what they are doing. Personally I would ask the Travel Agent to give me a print out from the Airlines perspective to confirm the booking is all OK; we got that last time we booked through an agent. It is also important to check tickets are correct for train bookings, not just go off the itinerary.


      I do the same thing. Mistakes happen and a booking "check" on the airline website removes all doubt


    Haha is pretty low considering the flight never existed.

    And yes, its seems it id just a Centre for shoddy service and a non existing Flight ;)

  • +1 vote

    what were the flight numbers and dates?


    So the outbound flight was ok but not the inbound flight? Was the inbound on a different airline?

    Sounds like a big hassle. I expect you will have to push hard to get them to reimburse you the cost of the replacement flight. I hope you get a satisfactory response from them tomorrow.


    This is why I book trips myself. It’s generally cheaper and I trust my own work. Just ask for them to cover the cost of the last minute flight you had to pay for and move on. I would have thought flight centre would have an emergency phone number for times like this?

  • +1 vote

    Never existed? Are you certain on this?

  • +5 votes

    Before you start naming and shaming them. Calm down, go the travel agent and ask what happened.

    How did it never exist ? Was it cancelled ? What happened when she got to the airport ?

    When she went online to check her flights / book seats did both ways come up?

    If you have confirmation of the flights and they were cancelled… Was she told?

    on her way home today she did a change over and was advised her last flight was never booked.

    What’s a “change over”?

    • +1 vote

      People love being told to calm down. OP seemed pretty calm to me.

  • +1 vote

    Can we have an update when you can op? I'm interested to know what actually happened. Cheers

  • +1 vote

    So one of the return flights was booked then she had to get another connecting flight and that one wasn't booked…

    And yes they have an emergency number which no-one answered…

    Only reason she went with travel agent is because a few people were flying from different locations and they wanted to all arrive at the same time so they got a travel agent to sort it out rather than go through the hassle of doing it themselves.

    The last flight booking just didn't exist. She went to check in using automated terminal and came up with error so went to airline desk & didn't have any record of her booking. Not sure how that happened considering she had booking number, barcode thing etc etc…

    Going shortly to agents will update…


      I mean as long as she has something that says she had a booking flight center should be able to refund her the money she paid for her flight home.

      For all we know it was a cock up of the airlines not the travel agent.


      Ah, so the flight existed, just that she wasn't booked on it? That makes more sense. Keep us informed.


    You should probably check if she paid for the flight she claims to have been booked on. Check the invoice.


    I had the same thing happened to me. Bought a flight ticket via wotif.

    Less than 24 hours to go, tried to do a web check-in. Failed. There was no flight to check in using the code. Next, I called the airline and was told that the booking wasn't confirmed as there was no payment made by the agent.

    Wotif has only AUS support phone number. Had to contact them to sort this out.