Do NOT use STA Travel

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Do NOT use STA Travel

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Joined 2012-01-14

If your planning on booking a big trip to Australia or anywhere else for that matter, my advice would be to not use STA travel.
We booked with them (and have since found out we paid way over the odds compared to other people who had booked with Trailfinders etc) and have had nothing but trouble since leaving home.

We have been put on economy airlines with no meals or drinks etc for 9 HOURS after being told we were with Qantas.

When we booked, we were told we would be able to change our return flight date for free as the date we wanted was outside of the booking range on the computers. Nearer the time, when we asked them to change the date, they tried to charge us almost £300 to do so - even though it says on our booking it should be free of charge.

The STA branches in other countries refuse to deal with anyone who has booked with an STA in the UK.

We’ve spoken to so many people who have had problems with STA it’s a wonder how they still get custom. Presumably its because most people only go on a trip like this once, so they don’t need to worry about keeping their customers happy.

     
Avatar for Daisyd
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Hey Tom,

If I were you I would keep a note of the issues and then write to them when you get home asking for some compensation. Esp if you have information showing you should have been with quantas etc and paid for that quality of service. You never know they may give you some money back as compensation.

 

     
Avatar for Lunny
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In the interests of balance, I have dealt with STA a couple of times and they were great.

     
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Joined 2012-01-14

Its a bit of putting to read that, me and my mate are planning to go travelling to Aus and NZ. We’ve had some decent quotes of STA, but I was just wondering what did you book with STA?? As we are looking at the OZ experience.

     
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Joined 2012-01-14

we booked basically the whole trip but no accomodation with them, flights, transport etc. but its the flights we have had problems with. They are just impossible to deal with if you have any complaints, they refuse to give at all even though its their mistakes.

if you have got a return flight booked with them and they have told you that you can change the dates for free, I would make sure it doesnt say “subject to conditions” after it says its free of charge. As those conditions apparently mean that it isn’t actually free of charge at all, and its actually around £150pp.

im sure if you have no problems it will be fine, but once they have your money they dont seem interested in speaking to you anymore.

     
Avatar for kenny0_3
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I had no problems with them when I used them, would have happily used them again but round the world flights had a special on.

Did you book in branch or over the phone?

     
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I’ve had both positive and negative experiences with STA. With the negative one though, I complained and they gave me a refund and some compensation. I would generally still use them as the number of positives outweigh the one negative.

     
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Just to play devil’s advocate here, some of those issues could have been avoided if you shopped around.

1) You got ripped off - you should always get quotes from different companies for RTW trips (or any trip) because prices vary.

2) You said they had booked you on Qantas but then you ended up on a budget airline? Are you sure they didn’t base your quote on Qantas but without the guarantee of travelling with them?

3) STA never offer free changes - I learnt that the hard way too, but if you read their T&Cs; it does state that.

It sucks you had a bad experience but for others that read this thread just remember that when you book you should shop around first, and ask lots of questions to each company, read the T&Cs; and read any confirmation documents you are given in case things aren’t arranged as you had expected.

     
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Hi,

I appreciate that it is probably our own fault for not shopping around - I was just trying to point out that for a company that offers such awful after sales service, they aren’t the cheapest as you might expect.

They reassured us when we booked (as we specifically asked) that we would be on Qantas flights with meals, drinks and entertainment etc, as I have flown long distance on a budget airline before and did not want to do it again. But we got to the airport at the other side of the world at around 2 am and were only then told that we were flying with a budget airline for 9 hours with no meals or drinks.

With regards to the free change, I have no idea what their normal policies are, but to tell us that a change is free of charge - to write it all over our itinerary/booking form and then, once we ask to change the flight, to tell us that it is not free of charge, is unacceptable, whether it is ther normal policy or not.

     
Avatar for Statravel_uk
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Hi tom27,

My name’s Ant, and I’m STA Travel UK’s Online Community Manager.

Sorry to hear you haven’t had a great experience with us. It sounds like a few things have come as a surprise, not least the fee to change a flight. Just to reassure you, it is completely normal for airlines to charge a fee for changing a flight date. We do offer a Multiflex Pass (http://sta.travel/tge6FO) which is a good way to avoid the fees, by planning ahead.

Otherwise, the airline fee can vary for a variety of reasons. For example, if it was free to change a date, then we could book a 4am flight in the low season, and change it to a prime time flight in high season.

The claim that STA Travel branches around the world refuse to deal with STA Travel customers is absolutely not true, and if this was your experience then we recommend sending our Customer Services team (http://sta.travel/uxWNHr) a summary of your experience and we will look into this. We pride ourselves on having a network of over 400 branches around the world, and each and every one of them are trained to deal with international travellers, and their individual queries. We’d like to address this for you, Tom.

With regards to your complaint about prices; we do have a Price Beat Guarantee, which promises to beat any equivalent fare. We have a great reputation for providing competitive fares for people of every age.

As mentioned, I’m really keen for us to get this sorted out, Tom. You can find our Customer Service channels here: http://sta.travel/uxWNHr which is the best place for us to deal with your complaint effectively.

Kind regards,
Ant

     
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matteo91 - 14 January 2012 08:15 PM

As we are looking at the OZ experience.

While it might seem nice to have everything planned and booked before you travel, personally I would recommend to wait until you get there. You can easily book Oz Experience in Australia when you know that’s the way you want to travel and it’s unlikely to cost much more and may be cheaper. Imagine if you meet someone with a camper/car and would love to travel with them, but you’ve already booked Oz Experience months before while in the UK so you’re stuck. Or what if you change your plans completely and want to travel a different route around Australia etc.

I’d also recommend going by Greyhound rather than Oz Experience anyway (although I never used Oz Experience). I found Greyhound faster, cheaper and more flexible. I also found that there was always availability (I’ve heard reports of people unable to book the next leg on Oz Experience for days ahead because it’s full), often there’s spare seats to spread out and there’s still plenty of other travellers (and even locals) to meet.

     
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I received an excellent service from STA when I booked my rtw ticket (back in 2004). The staff in the London branch I visited were excellent and kept in contact with me by email and phone. They changed the flight dates they could before I went for free. I then visited an STA shop in Asia (KL or Singapore I think) and they changed the remaining dates for free as well.

If you need to change flight dates on a rtw ticket (either because they were too in advance or you just want to change them) and your travel agent wants to charge you then you’re better off going direct to the airline. BA and Qantas are happy to change dates with a simple phone call and may charge a small fee. The sneaky trick I used was when they asked me to go to their sales desk and pay a fee to have my ticket ‘re-validated’. This just involved having a sticker put on my tickets with the new date and time, but I already had this confirmed in an email sent by the phone operator. Instead I just headed straight to check in for my new flight date and they were happy to check me in as my booking was on their computer. Simples.

     
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m.garratt - 16 January 2012 07:26 PM
matteo91 - 14 January 2012 08:15 PM

As we are looking at the OZ experience.

I’d also recommend going by Greyhound rather than Oz Experience anyway (although I never used Oz Experience). I found Greyhound faster, cheaper and more flexible. I also found that there was always availability (I’ve heard reports of people unable to book the next leg on Oz Experience for days ahead because it’s full), often there’s spare seats to spread out and there’s still plenty of other travellers (and even locals) to meet.

Thanks a lot for the advice, Im defo going to do some research and find what other travel companies can offer. Just interesting to see what people thought of STA and the OZ experience, as the reviews Ive read so far havent been great to be honest   :S

     
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Hi there, I used STA to travel to New Zealand to study as part of my University course, I booked flights and a 3 change multi-flex pass which is starting to seem like a huge waste of money because I can’t actually use it!?

I am currently trying to change my flights due to running out of funds and being offered a great job back home. I have exams to finish and so have a tight window that I need to travel back within (departing 12th-18th June.

First of all this service is proving absolutely impossible to use! At first there were no flights (which is understandable and not STA’s fault) and then one came up a bit earlier than I wanted but I managed to move my University exams especially to take it- so I confirmed I wanted it, but all customer service had apparently finished for the weekend and so by Monday the mentioned flight had been taken! This was pretty annoying.

Next I asked for any more flights and was told there were none from Auckland to the UK, even though I could see some online with the same airline??

The time lapse was starting to get annoying, as people only seemed to contact me towards the end of their day (3am-5am to me). So I went down to STA Auckland on Queens Street, only to be told that they can’t help whatsoever and can’t even bring up my booking on their screens because I made it in the UK. Since then I have come across the STA post on a forum: http://www.gapyear.com/boards/viewthread/58740
which clearly states that they should help?

Okay so that’s two bad services aspects, onto the third:

I was then offered a flight from the UK team and sent a link to complete payment, I did this yesterday. I am so nervous and concerned about getting this flight that stayed up all night awaiting at least a confirmation it was received and hopefully a new flight itinerary…... NOTHING!? Surely these forms should be the first thing processed before emails etc due to the fact they can be taken by someone else so quickly. I have checked my account hoping the money had been taken but to no avail.

STA- can someone please help me, I really really need to go home!!!! You keep offering me flights and I have the money to pay the fee for them so just let me do it!!!???

I will be posting this message along with the response (if any) on various forums so I would hope you redeem yourselves and make it possible for me to book one of these flights, it is getting ridiculous now.

I have another year at Uni and then going to do my round the world travelling after having such a great time in NZ, however unless this situation is resolved or I’m at least offered real assistance I will be going elsewhere to book it.

     
Avatar for James1985
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We have been saying that for years on here. They also employ clueless idiots!