Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

Old Dec 11, 17, 10:55 am
  #1  
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Never, ever use Vayama. Here's why.

I had such an atrocious and unacceptable experience with Vayama, despite numerous attempts to work with them to make it right. I'll try to be succinct, but here's the timeline:

March 1, 2017 - I log into Kayak and search for flights, they give me one through 'Vayama' for a decent price which looked good, so I booked my husband and I a round trip flight from DC (IAD) to Rome (FCO), with one stop in London each way. Departing the evening of 11/23, returning Monday 12/4. This was a 'Multiple Airlines' flight, combining Virgin Atlantic with British Airways (since Virgin didn't fly to Rome). Even though I thought I was dealing with Kayak, apparently now my ticket/booking belonged to Vayama. So be it, never heard of them but okay.

July through October, 2017 - I receive four separate notifications from Vayama of flight changes. The first two are innocuous, with adjustments of a few minutes on the departing flight(s). The third and fourth changes a) add a new stop in New York City between London and DC, b) add a ten hour layover in London, c) add a THIRD carrier - Delta Airlines - for the last leg from NY-DC, and d) add an additional overnight eleven hour layover in New York, now getting us back to DC an entire day later.

October 6, 2017 - I write Vayama and tell them this is unacceptable, that carrier adjustments are understandable but that this revised flight plan is absolutely nothing like the flight I purchased many months ago. After trying to give me the runaraound (Virgin won't give us any alternate flights, sorry), I contacted Virgin who told me they certainly WOULD work with them if they called Sales instead of some other department they suspected Vayama was calling. I pasted that email into the thread, and almost three weeks later I had a slightly better flight - still with an additional leg and third carrier, but with only an hour and a half layover in London and a three hour layover in NY. This all took until October 24th to figure out.

October 24, 2017 - I confirm the new flights with Vayama and after this hear nothing more from them.

November 23, 2017 - We fly from DC to Rome without a hitch.

December 4, 2017 - We check in on time at the airport in Rome and are told by British Airways that we are no longer on the 8am flight that we've been confirmed on since March, and that in fact we were apparently on some other flight the day before at 6:30pm. I triple check and I have NOTHING from Vayama about this change (every other time, I received a notification). I also cannot log into my Vayama account from my phone or my husband's (this is not new, as I'd had multiple failed login attempts from a computer browser in the past, where you log in and the progress ball just spins forever and never gives you your account details). I also sat on hold trying to get on the phone with Vayama, but never got through before British Airways 'fixed' our problem.

British Airways sat there for almost 40 minutes trying to figure out what Vayama did to make this mess, and finally reconfigured our flights so that we would now get in to NY at 2:40pm and have a nine hour layover, getting in to DC on a Delta flight at 11pm. I have yet to understand when, how or why this happened, or what the flights looked like before they finally fixed them. So I had to go with the broken Italian that the (very nice) British Airways employees were using to try and explain to me how my flight had changed. I asked how this could have happened and they said 'I have no idea. I've never seen a flight messed up this badly" (now in perfect English). They also suggested once we got to NY, we see if there's a way to get back on our original flight that was supposed to leave at 5pm, or even find another flight.

December 4th, 3pm - We are now ping-ponged incessantly between Delta, Virgin, and British Airways to figure out how we might try to get home at a decent hour. Delta informs us there are seats on a slightly earlier flight that would fly us into Reagan National (DCA) by 9pm. Reagan is closer to our house and this would have been much preferable to arriving to Dulles at 11pm, so we asked to be put on that flight, but they said 'only Virgin can make that change since this is a Virgin Atlantic confirmation number.' So we go upstairs and then get the runaround from Virgin, who says a) it is NOT their flight, it's British Airways' flight (??). So we call British Airways, who also inform us its not their flight either. The Delta people overhear this, and get ON the phone with British Airways to tell them they can clearly see in their system is IS in fact their flight. BA says no its not. Delta says 'f*ck it I'm going to see if we can just override this and get you on this earlier flight. In their system, apparently BA blocked them from doing so.

This entire time, I try three times to get Vayama on the phone, and TWICE we get to the point where I"m reading off my booking ID, and the line mysteriously disconnects (despite having crystal clear reception in the terminal).

I still have yet to determine how or why this happened. I was able to finally get logged into my Vayama account this morning, and it looks like a hot mess. I'm not sure if that's because of the changes British Airways made, or whether it looked like this before, but it has us going to London from Rome the day before our originally scheduled flight, then AGAIN from Rome to London the next morning (?). I've given up on trying to get a hold of Vayama directly because they apparently enjoy locking me out of my account and hanging up on me instead of addressing me directly. So instead I've been telling everyone I can to never, ever use them.
Stephanie Sapienza is offline  
Old Dec 12, 17, 12:05 pm
  #2  
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
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With Vayama - If things go wrong you end up with a mess. The better option would have been to get a refund (and contest the charge if not provided) and book new flights with the airline directly.
erik123 is offline  
Old Dec 25, 17, 8:18 pm
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Join Date: May 2010
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You have a lot more patience than most people. I would have taken the boltbus or megabus to DC instead of figuring out the mess and gotten a refund from vayama.
Deafchick is offline  
Old Dec 27, 17, 2:27 pm
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One Travel vs Vayama

A similar thing happened to me on the itinerary I am on currently. I used One Travel to book LAX <-> FOR, an AA ticket that uses LATAM local flights. One Travel notified my of 4 (four!) LATAM changes, the last being a fairly outrageous re-routing through Brasilia with a 11+ hr layover. Now, as I was already planning to sleep on arrival in Fortaleza, I had One Travel make Brasilia into a full day layover and I took a tour of the city. This worked because I was amenable, One Travel worked with me and LATAM cooperated. My return connection in February, however, is another matter. That too was screwed up by LATAM by putting me into a later flight out of FOR so that I would be unlikely to make the AA connection to LAX. I must say One Travel tried, but it took over three days, hours on hold and many e-mails. We discovered that LATAM had merely changed the flight number of the original flight and arbitrarily (and stupidly) moved everyone into later flights. This was finally fixed with One Travel's help. I have written elsewhere about the incompetence of LATAM.
Last, but not least, my wife is also in the middle of a trip and needed a bereavement change of return. Again, One Travel came through, waived the agency change fee without further ado and promises to contact LATAM for their change fees. We'll see what happens there.
OneTravel seems to be a supportive agency. Our previous experiences with BACC ( clickandfly ) was also good in that respect, but beware LATAM.
FortHay is offline  
Old Dec 27, 17, 3:32 pm
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Join Date: Aug 2014
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One day Delta and Virgin will stop acting like they are two separate airlines and get their a**es in gear. It's all a charade to fool the US Government that they don't own more than 49%.
It sounds like Vayama did a separate sell entry when they reprotected you and ticketed you on separate tickets within the same pnr. They could have just booked you as a connection with a DL codeshare flight number on the VS flight and that would have made it Delta's responsibility for the itinerary. Nothing can be done about the BA bit though that has to be a separate ticket. The only reason I can think they didn't do that is it was cheaper for them to issue split tickets and they probably profited from it.
Mark Gerrard is offline  
Old Dec 27, 17, 4:11 pm
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Boltbus, Greyhound, or Amtrak. If you're re-routed or have other "issues" on the NEC, take your pick. Mileage/segment desires aside, once forcibly rerouted and getting that atrocious layover in New York, I would probably have had an honest talk with someone about ashcanning the NYC-WAS leg. If that was no dice, I probably would have walked on that segment (keeping a record of the changes on the highly unlikely off chance that someone tries to complain on the airline end) and just taken the train. For the record, there are trains leaving NYC as late as about 10PM (ignoring the middle-of-the-night one) and since you'd have to collect your luggage to pass Customs, you should be good for just "taking a walk" in a pinch.
GrayAnderson is offline  
Old Dec 27, 17, 7:40 pm
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Join Date: May 2006
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Offtopic, DC to FCO doesn't seem like a oddball route, Why did you chose to go with a TA when you can do it just as effectively? Personally, I always want to avoid TAs in my itenary. Buty this experience was beyond words.
sensia is offline  
Old Dec 30, 17, 4:31 pm
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Ah Vayama

Had a less complicated problem with Vayama with schedule changes. Vayama claimed that their changes which resulted in a 30 minute connection in FRA were valid and that I would have to pay for anything that was reasonable. Original flights were fine with a 2 hour connection.

After some frustrating conversations with Vayama telephone agents I gave up with them. Phoned the airlines directly and they instantly made the necessary changes without any hassle.

Do not deal with Vayama. They are not on your side and will try to charge you for their mistakes. Very simply a profit motive - make unacceptable changes and then charge to fix them!
Azamaraal is offline  
Old Jan 2, 18, 6:31 am
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Textbook example about not to use OTA.
A good old Travel Agent is worth all the money, always.

Ulxima
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Old Jan 2, 18, 6:38 am
  #10  
 
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Originally Posted by Stephanie Sapienza View Post
Even though I thought I was dealing with Kayak, apparently now my ticket/booking belonged to Vayama. So be it, never heard of them but okay.
This is the crux of the matter. All you did was click on a site that advertised on Kayak. Not really different than other ads on the internet. If you phone in to buy health care supplements sold on a TV station, do you think you are buying from the TV station?
mapleg is offline  
Old Jan 2, 18, 6:57 am
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A pity that OP did not do the research on Vayama and other similar opaque third-party vendors, before booking. Not just FT, but many other travel sites are full of similar encounters. Just as with all travel, when things go fine, they are just fine because it really does not matter who tickets. But, when there is a problem, you are stuck with Vayama other than in IRROPS on the day of travel (and there were no IRROPS in this situation).

Without looking at the entire record, it is impossible to tell who and why the changes were made. But, it sounds as though Vayama issued OP multiple tickets and either sold them in a single PNR or even multiple PNR's with a simple itinerary (a meaningless term) printed out to look as though it is a seamless journey.

OP owes a debt of gratitude to BA at FCO. For good or bad reason, OP no showed for the flight. I presume that it was a standard BA ticket with no value if skipped and thus OP faced having to purchase a new ticket back to the US at walk-up [rices.

There are several things OP could have done here:

1 ---- Do the research before booking. How is it possible to think you are booking with Kayak? Kayak, which does not sell air tickets, clearly redirects and the website and charge would have been Vayama. Even a cursory due diligence here would have told OP to stay away from Vayama and from opaque vendors in general.
2 ---- The lowest fare is not always the least costly. There is a reason. Certainly there are some good deals to be had out there but note that OP does not even discuss the savings over a ticket booked online with a carrier or through a reliable and well-recommended TA.
3 ---- Check the paperwork. OP had at least 2 if not 3 tickets. Luckily there were no IRROPS. Without IRROPS protection, OP faced simply no showing and being on one's own for hotels and other service recovery.
4 ---- Use some common sense. NYC-WAS is one of the easiest routes in the world to travel. From cheap airfare to train to bus, there are so many alternatives it is mind-boggling. Even the bus which may take 5 hours, would have put OP in WAS 4 hours before the final segment connection.. The Bolt fare is $35-40 for most runs. I would have simply walked out and dealt with Vayama for a refund of that segment later and followed with a chargeback dispute for the value of the segment (which might have been in the same range as the bus ticket).
Often1 is offline  
Old Jan 2, 18, 8:09 am
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Also, I suggest checking on line that flights are exactly what you think were sold to you. And recheck later (say a couple days before departing)
mapleg is offline  
Old Jan 15, 18, 5:06 pm
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Is Kayak not to blame here? When I buy something on a site, I expect to be able to deal with that company. Sounds to me like they pawned you off to someone else.
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Old Jan 16, 18, 11:44 am
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Originally Posted by MarcJ55 View Post
Is Kayak not to blame here? When I buy something on a site, I expect to be able to deal with that company. Sounds to me like they pawned you off to someone else.
Kayak doesn't sell tickets, they just tell you what other sites are selling tickets for to the places you are searching. They then link you to that site (either OTA or direct with airline) to purchase directly from that site. At no time do they handle your money or touch your ticket.
bjk123 is offline  
Old Feb 6, 18, 1:07 am
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Originally Posted by MarcJ55 View Post
Is Kayak not to blame here? When I buy something on a site, I expect to be able to deal with that company. Sounds to me like they pawned you off to someone else.
Kayak is a search engine for airfares from OTAs. You don't think Google operates every website do you?
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