DON’T LET FLIGHTNETWORK SCAM YOU TOO… first up, even though flightnetwork scammed us, I want to say that I am not a fan of giving bad reviews, but after 4 days of trying to get even just a reasonable outcome with the complete mess that flightnetwork.com made of our booking to the USA, I have given up and I am posting this to make sure you don’t have to suffer the same treatment and deception, in the hands of this unscrupulous company, as we did.
THIS WAS THE MOST INSIDIOUS TRAVEL SCAM I HAVE EXPERIENCED.
Here is what happened…
I search for a flight using the IOS App Jetradar and found a very reasonably priced flight through flightnetwork. So I made my booking through flightnetwork for a flight from Helsinki to Denver. I used my iPhone to access their website. They offered a price of $1700 for the four of us to fly to the USA. Not the cheapest, but we were able to visit with some friends in Helsinki.
The first leg of the flight was from Helsinki to Orlando with Norwegian Air International. There was a full day of a layover there, which I wasn’t so excited about because it meant having to book a hotel for the night, but we sucked it in and booked. The second leg up to Denver the next day on Spirit Airlines.
This was the checkout page of the booking
Safari – 8 Sep 2019 at 8:38 pm The file will open in a new browser window so you won’t lose where you are here.
First They Deceived Us
As you can see, there was no mention at all on their checkout page of there being no baggage allocation. This was when I first thought I might be the victim of a travel scam. In fact, the flightnetwork checkout page was misleading because they did offer baggage protection as an $80 option. Making both Vero and I believe that we did have a baggage allocation. There was also no opportunity to buy baggage allocation, even though the salesperson I spoke to later assured me that all their checkout pages always allow you to buy baggage as well and intimated that the problem was not with their service but with me, that I was not thorough enough in my reading of their website and it was my mistake and so I should pay for my mistake. Basically a lie and misleading in itself.
Travel Scam No 1
They charged us $304 for our booking on Spirit Airlines, and as this turned out to be without any baggage. I later discovered that if I had been given the opportunity to book the baggage at the same time as I booked the tickets, i would have been given carry on, a checked bag and seat allocation. and all for all of this for only $110 more than the $304 that Flightnetwork.com charged me just for the tickets only.
Instead, they did not give me any option to buy baggage allowance when I bought the tickets. Now I’m not forced to pay an extra $380 for the bags. I will have a carry on allowance that is 10lb less. I can’t pre-allocate seats for free. So we’ll each have to sit separated from each other, even the baby!
So the first rip off by them is $380 less $110. being $270
When we checked with Norwegian Air International, the cost of the baggage allowance is $191.62. I haven’t checked yet, but I suspect that if we booked the baggage at the time we booked the tickets, they would have charged less too.
But this is not the worst part, not by a long shot. next they went on to really drive the knife between my ribs will all the while smiling and pretending to be decent if a little self-righteous.
Travel Scam No 2
I tried to sort it out with them by calling them. I was cut off by their faulty phone system 5 times during transfers. They are very difficult to reach. But that was another story…
I explained to a fellow called Raz that I wasn’t given any baggage allowance. That their checkout page did not indicate anywhere that I needed to buy baggage allowance.
The first thing they did was tell me that their checkout pages always provide a panel to add baggage. As you can see above, it did not.
Once we got past that by them not accepting the truth that their checkout page didn’t let me buy baggage, they then offered to ‘help’ me by adding baggage allowance for both flights at a price offered over the phone of $980
Now, if you do a little research, buying post-booking baggage allowance from the airlines directly would cost:
$191.62 (for bags on Norwegian air) + $380 For bags on spirit airlines) =571.62 (total when you buy direct from the carriers)
How They Try to Extract More Profits
The fellow I was speaking to that offered the baggage through Flightnetwork was especially sneaky about it. He pushed me to agree to buy the baggage allowance and threatening to hang up if I didn’t do it. He did this even when i asked him to wait while I checked to see what the cost difference would be if we bought it directly from the airline carriers instead.
They tried really hard to scam us for another $408.38. That’s how much less the price was if we bought the baggage allowance from the carriers instead of buying it from them at the $980 they offered to “help me out”.
To add insult to injury, I was in this situation because their checkout page was so badly designed. It didn’t allow me to buy baggage allowance when I was buying the tickets… Or was this ‘bad design’ done intentionally? I am certain this is an intentional travel scam and they are doing it to improve their position in the services such as jetradar and skyscanner and to earn additional revenue from distraut travellers.
UPDATE: When we spoke to the representative of Spirit Airlines in Orlando, She said that one in 3 of their customers who didn’t book directly with them were not being given the option to buy bagguage allowance when they were purchasing their tickets. So Flightnetwork may not be the only travel agency running this scam.
Scam No 3
Flightnetwork scammed us the third way by not alerting us to the fact that there would definitely be extra charges for the baggage. They misrepresented the real price of the ticket. They artificially lowered their price in Jetradar just to get a sale. Scam No 3 was really their first flight scam and scam No 2 made us feel like they intentionally didn’t provide the opportunity to buy baggage allowance when booking the tickets. Knowing that latter most people would come back to them complaining. But eventually, buy the baggage allocation at their grossly inflated price of $980. All to pick up the extra $408.38 profit when called back to ‘fix’ the baggage problem.
Their staff have been trained well to say and do everything to make you feel like the fault was with you. That it can’t be with their system. It was so subversive that I began to suspect that the whole process was designed intentionally. To drive more profits.
Providing a poorly designed checkout that does not offer the advantages that the carriers’ sites offer, such as the discounted baggage allowance at the time of booking gives them another shot at your wallet. We have all been conditioned to just accept the rip-offs. That there is no leeway when dealing with airlines.
So, what can we do?
Firstly, stand up for your rights and don’t take a travel scam like this on the chin. If we all complain and not just to the airlines and these online travel agents, but also to our local consumer watchdog organization, we can boycott these businesses.
We can write articles like this one where other people can find out about their deceptions and flight scams or other travel scams. Stop using them to buy tickets. Tell your firends and share this article. We can make a difference.
Practical Steps. Ensure You’re Not Scammed Too!
- Don’t use third-party providers such as Flightnetwork to book your flights, they run flight scams and will deceive you and try to scam you and the less of us that use them the better, they will go out of business faster and this means they won’t scam others too.
- Use the apps such as Jetradar and Skyscanner to find flight combinations that give you to best value flights to get where you want to go
- Collect the flight details from the third party website and make a note of the carrier, and flight times
- Go directly to the carrier’s website and search for the flight/s there. Often you will find they are cheaper anyhow… And you can feel certain that the carrier will ask you if you want to buy baggage allocation. You’ll be notified of important things like seat allocation there and will get extra benefits such as higher bag weight limits. Get free seat allocations and… Bonuses like 2x mileage points might be offered too.
- Do Not ever book your flights anywhere with flightnetwork.com. Not unless you want to pay a lot more than you should. Are happy to have days of annoying and frustrating calls to deal with it. All while you are trying to pack your bags and get on a flight.
Some might question whether flightnetwork was actually scamming us. I can assure you this was a flight scam and a very sophisticated flight scam at that. Their employees probably don’t even realize they are working for a deceptive company. It is not their fault, but they can be rather abrupt and impatient. I suspect this is due to them having to field many complaints each day. Plus they are probably on a quota and have to hit certain sales targets each day to keep their jobs.
Don’t be a flight scam victim!