Tag Archives | budget travel

Incorrect advice on Travel Agents in the Evening Herald

Recently in the Evening Herald, Dan White provided some incorrect advice in response to a readers question about the safety of using travel agents given some recent high profile closures and the difficulties experienced by Budget Travel and Sunway Holidays. The question, in this article, from a reader was as follows:

With so many travel agents closing, is it safe to book my foreign holiday with an agent or should I go online instead? What happens if I book with an agent and it closes? Is my money safe?

The response from Mr. White was as follows:

First things first: if an Irish-licensed travel agent closes, as both City Travel and the Travel Collection did last week, customers’ money is safe.

All Irish-licensed travel agents and tour operators must be bonded with the Commission for Aviation Regulation. Since the bonding scheme was first introduced over 20 years ago, no customer has been left in the lurch.

Unfortunately, there are qualifications necessary to these statements that make them dangerously misleading and could lead to a false sense of comfort and complacency amongst Irish consumers when it comes to booking their holidays through a travel agent.

If you book a holiday with an Irish travel agent, but if you’re departing from an airport outside the Republic of Ireland, then you are not covered by the Commission for Aviation Regulation bonding scheme. You would be covered by the UK Civil Aviation Authority scheme – assuming your travel agent has signed up to it (and many Irish travel agents don’t).

So, if you book your holiday from a Dublin travel agent but fly out from Belfast, you’re not covered by the Commission for Aviation Regulation scheme.

Another thing to be careful of – the Commission for Aviation Regulation only covers anything booked from a travel agent that includes travel (i.e. flights). If you book a villa in the south of France, but decide to book your flights with Ryanair, then your villa booking isn’t covered by this scheme either.


Budget Travel crying wolf!!!

There were two recent interesting items in the news about airlines, both covered in the Metro on the morning of May 9th. Under the headline, on page 6, “Irish airlines ‘ripping off customers’”, the Head of Marketing at Budget Travel referred to the Ryanair baggage charges when saying that “a family of four carrying 4 pieces of luggage could pay €800 more”. He said that “it is quite clear that the “low cost” carriers are now using the revenue generated from baggage to support their profits while keeping lean-in fares attractive”.

This article also referred to the second item (also referred to here by Conor Pope) where a European Commission report found that one third of airline customers feel they are being ripped off or misled. The article states that “one in three sites contained information breaching rules on clear pricing, availability of offers and clear contract terms”.

So, let’s try a little experiment. My future wife, our two fictitious children and I are going to go on a trip to Biarritz in France for a week. We’re going to fly, leaving Dublin on June 19th, returning on June 26th.

First place to check – Ryanair.com

So far, so good – it’ll cost us €471 for the four of us to fly out and €325 to come back.

On to the BudgetTravel.ie site to book a flight only trip to Biarritz, same passengers, and same date.

This looks even more promising. Flying with Air France (better reputation than Ryanair), and the best price plus estimated taxes is €458. But I can’t really tell if this is for 1 person, or for the 4 of us, or if this is each way, or return.

Not very clear pricing there BudgetTravel.

Lets select the first option flight with Air France on the BudgetTravel site. And now the veritable kick in the knackers – that original price was actually per adult passenger, while the tax was per passenger (adult or child). So, what originally looked like €458 is now actually €1656.

Back to the Ryanair site, and our total (current) cost is €797 – less than half that of the BudgetTravel option.

Lets confirm the Ryanair flights and see what happens. We’ll take one bag each per person, and we won’t go for priority boarding. Oh, and no sneaky travel insurance either. This brings us up to €917, and because we’re paying by MasterCard, the handling fee raises the total fare to €949.

Back to the BudgetTravel site. Budget Travel does not charge for up to 20kg of baggage per person.

That link also highlights the fact that Ryanair only allow for 15kg of baggage per person, and that anything else costs extra.

So, for 4 persons that’s the difference between bringing Katie Taylor (the kickboxer) on holidays with you, or Eoin Reddan (the Irish scrum half).

Lets assume that we’re okay with our 60kg across 4 people travelling and therefore stick within the Ryanair limits.

Our choice then:

o Biarritz with Ryanair, 60kg luggage – €949
o Biarritz with BudgetTravel, 60-80kg luggage – €1656

Crying wolf? When you’re BudgetTravel and you’re selling exactly the same product as Ryanair, but you’re charging 75% more, it’s no wonder BudgetTravel are putting stories into the newspapers trying to scare people off from using the cheaper option.


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