I need to vent and what better place than my blog. I know this blog is telling stories of our adventures, but also a story of realities, and if I can provide any help to future travellers then that is something positive. Recently whilst trying to change the dates of our flights home to the UK from New Zealand in Sept (using STA’s special multiplex pass) I experienced more stress and difficulty with this than I thought possible – through communicating with their department called ‘Global Travel Help’ who deal with flight changes.
Unfortunately this leads me to say to people out there DO NOT use STA Travel to travel with – certainly if you want some flexibility in your flights. This certainly applies to anyone who may need to change their flight dates and to everyone travelling for a year or more. This is because flights cannot be booked far enough in advance so will inevitably have to be changed at some point. When we booked our return flights they had to be booked in for May, and then we had to request to change it to Sept.
It seems like it isn’t just us that have had a very bad experience with Global Travel Help, as their UK Facebook page is completely full of complaints about the service they have received (just take a look). Many of them actually have real emergencies they are trying to get home to, or trying to arrange flights with short notice and have received even worse service than we have.
This is in some ways hard to write because prior to this STA Travel themselves have been quite good to us over the years. We booked our amazing 2006 flights with them at their Cardiff branch. And we have been helped and supported by a good travel advisor at the Bath branch this time around.
BUT, sadly that is not enough, because of their Global Travel Help (GTH) arm – who are the only people who can deal with flight changes (no you can’t just ask the travel advisor you booked with or email someone at STA at that branch – don’t be silly). They tell you if you try and do this or change your flight any other way they will charge you! Ok . . . It is just a complete shame that the system they actually have in place to do this is completely and utterly ridiculous!
Back in October we altered our flights and through an incredibly lengthy email exchange it took over 11 days until we were finally able to sort our revised flights. Our circumstances have again changed and this time around it has taken even longer at just under 2 weeks. This time around I emailed the same email address I had emailed before only to be emailed back saying “this address is no longer monitored”!! When that is the email address they tell you to email on your itinerary!! I then went online and submitted my query and I experienced silence from them for a whole week!! They say on their email they will get back to you within 48 hours (and the website actually says they “guarantee responses to you within at least 24 hours”). And they only actually replied to me because I asked my contact at the Bath STA store to prompt them to get in touch. Once I had heard back and replied with a question I had silence again for quite some time. And again only when I complained to the STA branch and customer services did I finally get a reply. They information was very limiting and unhelpful, and the response time simply unacceptable! They either need a telephone number you can call to sort out your flights there and then, or an email system that actually works.
it is a shame really that this system operates so badly as it does completely dirty the STA name – certainly for us. Online STA Travel claim that “Here at STA Travel we offer incredible support even after you have left” – which is certainly not at all true for us and the exact opposite of what they have provided!