Melbourne couple Brendan and Julia Widdowson have been finalising plans to travel through Croatia, Montenegro and Albania next month for their honeymoon.
But the pair, both aged 28, were hit with an $8,500 fee when they tried to change details on Julia’s airfare tickets to reflect her married name.
“We thought it would be a simple process, that may incur a small fee, to update the name on the ticket,” Brendan wrote in a recent Facebook update, as News.com.au reports.
“We were told the availability of flights could not be guaranteed and that if we were to re-book, we would need to do so at the current rate — 1,321,700 velocity points or $8,590.
“Furthermore, we were told that it would incur a cancellation fee.”
Brandon was initially told the problem came from the Virgin flight being codeshared with Singapore Airlines.
As well as this, security restrictions from the International Air Transport Authority permit only three letters to be changed on a ticket in the instance of a spelling mistake. For names to be changed entirely, the airline must cancel and re-book the ticket.
The couple told News.com.au they felt “devastated and helpless” and were considering options such as flying separately, a few days apart, to reduce the costs involved.
“I honestly can’t believe that it has come to this,” Julia told the network.
The couple who retired in their 30s. Post continues below.
Thankfully, Virgin found a compromise and worked with Etihad Airways to put the pair on the same flight, on the day they’d planned to leave, with an extra charge of $1,000 to cover taxes.
“If you are cancelling and re-booking a frequent flyer program redemption ticket close to the date of travel, it is often the case that a redemption seat will not be available and therefore will incur a greater cost to re-book,” the airline told News.com.au in a statement.
Still, $1,000 isn’t cheap. And surely there’s a better way?