Horrible experience with KAYAK and BudgetAir

As you know, I got married last 2017! Now, Jomar and I are planning for our Catholic wedding in the Philippines with more family and friends. Based on our initial list, we're looking at 300 guests (but knowing that not everyone will come, we may be down to 200-250).

I will be writing a series of post in the coming week (or month) on how our remote planning is going. Please feel free to leave a comment for any questions! This post is about my experience of booking our flight.

I had always booked flights directly on the airline's website but have used apps like KAYAK to search and compare prices, except last night and it was a horrible experience.


The Booking

Last night, I am looking at KAYAK to check flight prices for June to July (the week of our Philippine wedding) and the prices are lower than usual. We booked Japan Airlines (JAL) in KAYAK app (but apparently it's via BudgetAir). This was around 11:30 PM. I received an email from Kayak that BudgetAir is going to do the booking and will send us the e-ticket. After 10 minutes, no email arrived but I decided to call it a night and check it in the morning.

The Nightmare

I woke up to a lot of email from different wedding vendors and two emails from BudgetAir. It contain the receipt and e-ticket. I reviewed the details (our names, birthday, etc.). All the information is correct. HOWEVER, Jomar's salutation is MRS. Mine too. I panic! I called the BudgetAir phone number in Ontario, Canada and after 20 minutes of waiting no one answered. I Google-d around and people are saying it's okay, that we don't have to worry BUT I AM STILL WORRIED. I decided to continue with my day (shower, breakfast, dress-up, go to work).

The Support

I sent emails, messages via the website, and tried calling BudgetAir and still NOTHING! I am freaking out. I decided to check with Kayak and their default response is:
KAYAK provides a service that allows people to easily compare prices from hundreds of travel sites at once. KAYAK is an online travel search engine. We do not act as the merchant, or the online booking provider, but we do allow people the choice to book with selected online providers listed as the "KAYAK" option in your search results without leaving KAYAK's website by completing that selected providers online booking request form.
Ugh. That's the key information. I completed the form in KAYAK and they pass the information to the "merchant", in this case BudgetAir which has the worst customer support in the travel industry!

My last resort is to call JAL. Before I did that, I checked that the information provided by BudgetAir is legit and that we definitely have a booking. We do. And Jomar's name is really coming up as MRS. I called JAL a couple times early in the morning and no one picked up the phone. I am so worried. I tried again during lunch time and got through. I spoke with a man and gave him the information and explained the MRS to MR change that I need. He said that there's nothing he can do about it and that we should contact the booking agency. UGH. I tried BudgetAir again and still nothing. Sigh.

The Light

I called JAL again just to ask what our options are to making sure that Jomar is tagged as Male in our booking and changing MRS. to MR. The lady I spoke to is much more helpful. She changed the gender in their system which is great (because gender is in the passport) but she said that she can't change the MRS to MR. I asked if we're going to have issues with it. She said, no as long as the name in the ticket is spelled correctly. Thank God for one great support person!

The Waiting

Now, I will wait whether BudgetAir will respond to any of messages and request. I have learned my lesson to only book directly on the airline's website instead of KAYAK or whatever other service exist out there. Sheesh! Such a stressful Friday.


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