“The price of the Saipan travel product has increased by 200,000 won per person” This is a text message I received suddenly ahead of a dreamlike vacation. This is because the airline unilaterally raised airfare by 150,000 won and included the mandatory breakfast fee of 50,000 won at local resorts. Since I booked a travel package at 400,000 won, that’s a 50% increase. I immediately called the travel agency’s department, but it was difficult to even connect as if the telephone box was on fire.
Is such a sudden hike in travel product prices legally possible? According to Article 11 of the Standard Terms and Conditions for Overseas Travel, if the fee to be paid to the transportation/accommodation institution is increased or decreased by 5% or more from the time of signing the contract, the travel agency may charge the consumer within the range of the increase or decrease. However, notice must be given 15 days prior to departure. There is no problem with the terms and conditions, so the choice is up to the customer. Without even thinking about it, I made an additional deposit and confirmed the departure. In the first place, it was supported by the Tourism Administration, so it was an unprecedented price, and it was impossible to go because there were no seats until the end of this year.
Customers who have made a reservation with price as a priority can only be embarrassed. A travel industry official carefully speculated, “Although airfare is often raised on the way, if it was that low in the first place, the price may have been set on the assumption that both travel agencies and airlines would receive ‘airline subsidy’.” Currently, the Mariana Tourism Administration provides subsidies to airlines when passengers do not meet certain standards. This is a pretty convincing assumption, given that full bookings are made by the end of the year. However, even considering the complicated situation involving three travel agencies, airlines and local resorts, it is the customer who ultimately bears the increased fare.
The biggest challenge in the Corona era is ‘uncertainty’. After a long downturn, the travel industry is only starting up little by little, but it is difficult to predict what lies ahead because there are many variables. It’s a chaotic transition for everyone, but industry turmoil shouldn’t lead to customer chaos. The travel industry is responsible for minimizing the inconvenience to travelers. It is necessary to compose products in consideration of possible fluctuations in prices and local conditions, and to come up with explanations and countermeasures that are acceptable to customers. How are you preparing for the return trip? Hopefully, travelers’ aspirations for travel are not the only solution.
Reporter Eunji Lee [email protected]
Copyright © Travel Newspaper Unauthorized reproduction and redistribution prohibited