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When airlines go busto

All the excitement of having my next three trips all booked up turned out to be a little premature, following the announcement on Christmas Eve that MaxJet has filed for bankruptcy.

They’re trying to make arrangements to get anyone who is half way through a round-trip back home, but their own flights are all suspended.  I wouldn’t be surprised if the planes were on eBay by now.

Three of my four flights booked for 2008 are cancelled, and the freebie return with BMI is useless without an outbound flight to match.  Every one-way ticket I looked at was more expensive than buying a round trip and throwing away the return half.  It cost £25 per ticket to cancel the miles award booking and have the remaining money and all the miles recredited to my account.

MaxJet’s recorded message says to contact your travel agent or credit card company for a refund and I’ve spoken to MBNA who told me there shouldn’t be a problem but it could take some time to get the money back.  They said MaxJet should write to confirm that they don’t intend to provide the flight, and then there will be strong claim that can be made against their bank (they still have money, we hope) which is virtually impossible to dispute.

Otherwise I’ll have to wait for the travel dates to pass and not fly, and then apply for the chargeback.  It could be getting on for next Christmas before I get the money back if that’s the case!  It should all be a formality, but I haven’t even had an email from MaxJet yet – I only found out when I stumbled on a post on openvegas.com.

So given how popular the summer flights are, I already panic-booked replacements today.  Well, a little thought did go into it as I actually ended up on a £1400 business-class fare.  Compared to the £800 I expected to pay for MaxJet, it’s a little steep but that extra £600 should help to secure some extra value for the future.

As well as the nice big flat-bed seat I was so looking forward to and a chance that the food will be edible (the sausage crap I had on the way out last week was the worst yet; how hard is it to warm up a sausage?) the double miles award for business-class will bump me up to Diamond Club Gold status which opens the door for free upgrades on future flights and the ability to put your name on a waiting list to book seats on the flights you actually want to redeem your miles for.  Given that Claire and I now have enough miles for nearly five return USA trips between us, that’s got to be a good thing!

2 comments to When airlines go busto

  • I finally received a response from the Financial Ombudsman Service this morning about the fiasco I had trying to get a refund to my credit card after MaxJet went bust (which is now almost a year ago) and I had to rebook two flights to Las Vegas.I’d paid o

  • At last I got a final decision from the Financial Ombudsman Service in response to my complaint about MBNA trying to stiff me on a refund for flights I lost after Maxjet went busto, which I wrote about in this post. I can live with FOS being somewha

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