Arriving at the airport early in the morning with the code for a ticket she had booked online, Truong Nu Diem Phuc could not believe it when she was told that her ticket was invalid because the payment was not cleared.
Phuc, a District 3 resident, wasn’t allowed to board flight VJ8660 of VietJetAir on February 18, as her ticket, which she said had been paid for at a VJA dealer in District 1, had not actually been purchased.
Phuc booked the round-trip tickets for the Ho Chi Minh City – Hanoi route via the VJA website, and paid for it at the dealer at 1A Cong Truong Me Linh, District 1, she said.
Phuc said she knew that the booking would be canceled if payment was not cleared within 24 hours.
“But I had booked the tickets a month prior to departure, during which I was not informed of any problems with the booking,” she said.
Phuc had to pay for another ticket to be able to get onboard, while a VJA attendant promised that she would be refunded on her flight back to the city.
Nearly a month later, she still has not gotten her money back.
“The dealer where I paid for the tickets remains behind closed doors, while VJA has repeatedly asked me to wait for their resolution,” she said angrily.
A VJA representative, however, confirmed when contacted by Tuoi Tre on Tuesday that the dealer had failed to complete payment for Phuc’s ticket.
“The dealer has not transferred her payment to our system,” the representative said. “We are clarifying things and will refund Phuc in the near future.”
Meanwhile, Tuyen, a Jetstar passenger, encountered a similar problem when he was completing procedures to board a flight from Vinh City to HCMC on March 10.
Tuyen said he booked the ticket via a website on January 28, and completed payment via ATM card transfer on the same day.
“But at the airport, I was informed that my ticket was unpaid for,” he said.
“I immediately contacted the bank, but they insisted that they had already transferred the payment to the carrier.”
The bank, however, contacted him on Monday and apologized that they had made a mistake in finalizing the transaction.
Beware of dealers
A deputy CEO of an airliner said cases similar to Phuc and Tuyen’s are often caused by the dealers’ late payment transfers to the carriers.
“Although customers have already paid for their tickets, what matters is whether the dealers, or the banks, transfer the payment to the airliners within 24 hours or not,” he elaborated.
“In these cases, the dealers or banks will have to refund, or buy new tickets, for the passengers.”
He also warned passengers against bogus airline dealers, which usually refuse to transfer customers’ payments to the carriers, or ask to cancel the booking after receiving money from the customers.
Passengers are thus advised to contact the airliners via their hotlines after booking a ticket to ensure that payments are already transferred and that there is no incorrect information about their booking.
“It’s also advisable that customers book and pay for their tickets at the authorized dealers of the carriers,” the deputy CEO said.