Following the demise of Primera Air earlier this week and reports of passengers stranded by carriers such as Level, Alitalia, Air Serbia and more, it appears that travelers are being caught off-guard by flights that don’t exist. The Points Guy’s JT Genter advises checking information independently.
It’s official: non-existent flights are now a thing. News.com.au reports that passengers around the globe are booking and shelling out for tickets only to arrive at the airport to discover that their selected flights simply don’t exist.
In one well-publicized recent case, passenger Erin Levi – who had booked a one-way ticket from New Jersey to Paris with low-cost carrier Level – had already paid for her flight only to discover just prior to departure that the airline had delayed the launch of this particular route.
Commenting on her experience with Level to ABC News, Levi said, “I’ve travelled to over 40 countries — even on a handwritten ticket to Uzbekistan — and this has never happened before.”
Only this week, the sudden collapse of budget carrier Primera Air caught a British family off-guard, the Telegraph reports. Nicki Bryce and her relatives were scheduled to fly from Birmingham, England, to Toronto back in August. Despite having paid almost £3,000 ($3,934) for their tickets, they were informed upon arrival at the airport that their chosen service had, in fact, not launched.
“Not once did [Primera] flag up that the service had been cancelled, and they still took the money for my son to get onto a flight that didn’t exist,” Bryce said, expressing her disappointment.
It seems that even travel experts are being caught off-guard by these non-existent flights. The Points Guy‘s JT Genter told the outlet of his experience of attempting to fly from Belgrade to Berlin on an Air Serbia ticket that had been purchased using Etihad points.
Advised to see a desk agent at the airport prior to departure, Genter said, “We arrived at the airport especially early…but when we tried to check in at the business class line, we got a cold response from the agent that there were no Berlin flights today. We were directed over to the ticket counter. Long story short: Air Serbia had reduced its schedule and cancelled our flight months earlier, but had neglected to tell us.”
His takeaway? Always make the effort to confirm flight details with an independent source.