Changing the itinerary

Staying from 11th to 13th of june an Staëls nice place in Trancoso we decided to book a flight back in time to gain a safe perspective for further travels. When we tried to get a flight back on july, the 23th we didnt know that we just started an odysee into the dephts of airline issues. This was going to startle us more than any problem we encountered so far. Even more than pandemic travel restrictions. Well… some moments with fighting kids were worse. By the way.

First hand the booking process of the flight back cost incredibly much patience and several tries. We were eager to get the cheapest flight back possible, so we used a booking agency called 123Milas. They support low-budget-tickets by using a semi-legal trade of the well known frequent-flyer program offered by most standard airlines.

The online-booking-process at any airline for flight tickets in itself is complicated enough due to several obligatory entried, like passport number additional forenames, birth named e.g. that you dont use too often. For us travelling with two kids it is an odysee. Additionally Milas ads on its website a countdown of 20 minutes before they throw you out of the whole booking procces. Your session has expired.

Make sure you have everything ready. After the third try we succeded and finally typed in the payment informations just to experience that beside your creditcard number you need a cpf-number to conclude the booking process. Its not for foreigners. The cpf is the tax-number brasilian people use for almost every transaction. In the supermarket for a payback-programm. To register your cellphone. For booking a carsharing-vehicel. We didnt even try the app for bike-rental in town. The cpf somehow encrypts at least the birthdate of a person, so if you you use the cpf of another person make sure you use their birthdate as well. You might succeed. Otherwise you are screwed.

Clearly, we had to use our original birthdates in correspondence with the other indformations of our passports. So we depended on the aid of a friend who owns a cpf. He agreed to pay our ticket in advance and we typed in his credit-card informations. The agency instantly contacted us via whatsapp with the request to speak personally to the creditcard-owner. Due to his worktime he was not available at this time. The whole booking was nulled thirty minuted later. We couldnt get through by own force. We had to have our friend booking the ticket again for us, then legitimate himself in a service-chat via whatsapp including a selfi of himself together with a self written power of attorney. Thats what friends do for each other.

The business model of Milas includes buying miles of certain frequent flyer programs which are later on converted into flights for other persons. In order to follow the airline-policy which provide that only a personal transfer takes place, Milas needs direct access to the customers account.

We researched cases, where the costumer who sold their Miles to Milas was not correctly paid and in exchange refused Milas the access to their frequent-flyer account by simply changing the password. A flight that was already sold to another customer and depended on this account could not be resolved by the airline and was rejected directly at the check-in counter.

Another snatch in this process is that any change in the itinerary or the flight itself e.g. by cancelation by the airline will annihilate the whole ticket. Even for Milhas later changes are not possible. So if the costumer who booked the flight needs to change the itinerary or cannot take the flight for any reason they are just screwed and will lose their money.

If an airline cancels a flight however, Milas will try to offer an alternative. But in the hirarchie of travel agencies the semi-legal service of Milhas is tragically low in the food chain and the information policies of regular airlines understandably disrespect the interests of Milhas and its customers. The cancellation of the flight we originally booked was noticed by Milhas 24 hours before departure.

Well, we did know beforehand about the cancellation of our flight. We were imformed by bush drums on the 28th of june. And at the same time we got the opportunity to change the itinerary to fly directly from Sao Paulo to germany instead of going to Belo Horizonte to take an inland flight first. Is’nt it said on Milhas website, that any change in the flight itinerary should be negotiated with the airline itself? Well thats what we did, we asked the customer service of Latam, the operating airline for our flight to change our departure airport to Sao Paulo. Should be no problem they stated, surely they didnt check yet that we got the ticket from 123Milhas and if things went normally they never should.

Actually I wonder how they found out at all and it took veeery long and in the meantime our desperately needed ticketchange was not caused. It took us more than two weeks of negotiating and pledging the service of Latam to finally change our ticket to a flight that was actually going and to change our itinarary. They couldn’t and they refused to tell us why. But in between they blamed Lufthansa, because originally it should have been a flight operated by Lufthansa and they did cancel it.

So we tried at the Lufthansa service desk and accidentally reached someone. And this someone cool minded just wrote a new flight for the 24th of july to our itinerary. What seemed pretty cool caused turbulence one day later after we have had lots of cachaca with Thiago and Cynthia to celebrate and were looking for cool days in Sao Paulo. Just beeing pretty drunk, smoking the last cigarette I noticed a callback request by Lufthansa. I postboned this for tommorow I thought before going to sleep, its surely because the wanna inform us about the update possibility or something but felt quite unease because normally airlines are not known for calling their customers on the phone. I tried to callback the next morning but achieved nothing. Its Lufthansa. Daggi is more patient and just when I returned she told me that Lufthansa is not able to resolve the payment of our flight. She managed to keep the booking so we could resolve the issue with Latam.

Well Latam found out, too. They checked and discovered, yeah, you are right, your flight is not payed at all. So even without any cancellation or change in the itinerary our ticked would have been invalid what without this whole turbulence would bave been tragically noticed at the checkin counter. Several words like fraud, screwed, came to my mind. Things seemed to be stuck. We contacted other victims of booking turbulences and one of them was waiting for a compensation for his canceled flight for more than ten days now.

We considered pledging our rights by customers organisations but what should it help, we didnt want to spend time with legal issues. We didnt expect a quick payback by Milhas. We were desperate so we turned to leave things as they were with Milhas and booked a new flight with Latam. It was the 22nd of July and the flight should go on the 23rd. In the booking process after entering our creditcard informations the booking process was terminated without giving us a confirmation. Neither a ticket. But our creditcard was charged. Like people say in Brasil, you paid so there will be a solution. That was also stated by the customer support in the hotline. Dont worry, there is an issue but we are working on it and because your flight is going today we already prioritized your issue. But what does it mean to prioritize something? To move it from one stack to another. You will get the information you need. Hell no, I dont want no bloody information, I want the ticked that I paid for.

Desperately we turned to just go to the airport. They told us, that the airline was unable to resolve the payment for our ticket. They offered us to book another one for 200 euro more. What is this, a basar? We told them this whole story and as you can imagine the line behind us grew longer and longer. Well, stated the woman at the counter, please show me the ticket you got from Milhas. Maybe she noticed the flight from Lufthansa that was still written on it for the next day, maybe it was because I stated that we got an recommendation by a famous brasilian family to follow this case legally, maybe she felt that I was going to shitstorm this airline on facebook and instagram for leaving a family with two kids homeless on the airport suddenly things resolved. We got our flight booked on the original cheap ticked issued by 123Milhas. She stated this company as a problem in itself and we agreed. We got our flight. It was hard work and without the help of so many friendly persons we wouldnt have worked out. The flight was delighting and we returned to germany savely.

Travels came to an end but new adventures started. And we still have this car in Sao Paulo.

Schreibe einen Kommentar

Deine E-Mail-Adresse wird nicht veröffentlicht. Erforderliche Felder sind mit * markiert