The main holiday season of 2023 is slowly but surely coming to an end. Many Austrian travelers again had problems with airlines, online travel agents and tour operators this year. The Association for Consumer Information evaluated the complaints received between the end of June and the beginning of August 2023 on behalf of the Chamber of Labor.
It turned out that Austrian Airlines, Wizz Air and Ryanair are said to have caused a lot of frustration among passengers. The Chamber of Labor lists the three airlines in its “Flop 3” ranking. But not everything went smoothly in the area of brokerage portals either, because Kiwi.com, Opodo and Booking.com are said to have caused a high number of complaints from consumer protection organizations in this segment. When it came to tour operators, many travelers were dissatisfied with Alltours, FTI and Tui.
The first 332 holiday complaints received by the Chamber of Labor between the end of June and the beginning of August 2023 were evaluated. Top of the list is the anger about flights - almost 40 percent experienced "crash landings": Most holidaymakers were annoyed about cancellations by the airline. Consumers found it particularly difficult to book flights via online platforms. Delayed flights, hassles with luggage - it was damaged or lost - were also annoying.
Around one in five complaints (about 21 percent) concerned online agency portals. A perennial favorite here was the reimbursement of the travel/flight price after cancellation by the tour operator or the airline if the booking was made via an intermediary portal. Wizz Air flights booked via Opodo are noticeably often affected. Consumers are also “frustrated” by the lack of accessibility.
Package tours and cruises also caused frustration
Package tours and cruises did not live up to their promises - that put 16 percent in a bad mood. The main issues here were inadequate accommodation, food, childcare, the beach was different than described or it was very loud. One in ten had problems with their vehicle or with the transport – most of the inquiries related to rental car bookings, followed by train journeys, followed by boat and bus journeys. The rental cars were often canceled by the company – due to the delayed flights, the consumer was often unable to pick up the rental car on time. A rental car was then not available or only more expensive.
With around seven percent, vacationers brought problems with self-booked holiday accommodation to the "palm". These were mostly inadequate accommodations - the topics were a lack of hygiene and vermin as well as mold. In some cases, consumers complained about fraudulent online offers. Travel mainly went to the Mediterranean. The most popular travel destinations are Italy, Greece and Spain. The complaints related almost exclusively to trips abroad.
Missed vacation - what you can do:
Claim claims: After your return, assert your claims, preferably by registered letter. The contact person for travel defects in package tours is the tour operator. For claims under the Air Passenger Rights Regulation, you must contact the airline that should have operated or operated the flight. Sample letters can be found at wien.arbeiterkammer.at.
Don't get fed: Don't let vouchers get rid of your justified complaints. A price reduction is to be paid in cash by the tour operator. Compensation payments under the Air Passenger Rights Ordinance must also be paid out, unless you agree in writing to a voucher.
What's in return? The Frankfurt table provides guidance on the amount of the price reduction for package tours.
Lost holiday joy: You may be entitled to compensation, for example for loss of holiday enjoyment. The tour operator or his partner, such as the airline or hotel, must be at fault. An example: diarrhea caused by a spoiled buffet. Always document the facts in detail. Whether there is a claim for damages depends on the individual case.
For your next holiday – you should know that:
Complain and document: Complain about travel defects on site. Document the deficiencies (e.g. photos, witnesses, videos) so that you have evidence.
Book directly with the provider: There are often problems with cancellations when refunding the travel or flight price if you booked your trip via an online booking portal. Many complaints show that consumers like to be sent back and forth between the airline and the online booking portal, especially in the case of flight cancellations. Also document the booking process - there are corresponding apps and software on the PC with which you can film the booking process.