Customers who booked overseas flights have been left in limbo after Bestjet collapsed.
Customers who booked overseas flights have been left in limbo after Bestjet collapsed.

‘Fiasco’: Bestjet customers vent fury

AUSTRALIANS left thousands of dollars out of pocket after booking plane tickets that never arrived say they feel "robbed" and "cheated".

Queensland-based booking site Bestjet and its subsidiaries went into voluntary administration days before Christmas last year.

Would-be travellers who had booked tickets via Bestjet were left in limbo after the collapse and are now aiming to establish a police investigation and a civil suit.

The Bestjet Fiasco Action Group has been set up on Facebook by Kate Ryder, who lost $3150 on flights to Paris. It already has more than 1000 members.

Ms Ryder wrote about her experience on Facebook. She said her "cautionary tale" started on December 6 when she tried to book flights to Paris for the FIFA women's World Cup final.

"I received a confirmation email informing me that I would receive my e-tickets within 72 hours," she wrote.

"No tickets ever arrived ... so no tickets and no money. The flights were supposed to have been with Emirates. Emirates never received the booking."

Bestjet went into voluntary administration 12 days later on December 18.

Ms Ryder said she had received complaints from Bestjet customers who booked with airlines including Jetstar, Garuda, Qantas, Malaysian Airlines, Air Asia, Etihad Airways and Air Canada, among others.

She hopes to prove that Bestjet had "an intent to deceive".

"This will strengthen a case for a police investigation, the laying of possible criminal charges and hopefully ... provide grounds for a civil suit."

Melbourne man Stan Mikolajski booked flights to Warsaw with Emirates via Bestjet in November. He told ABC News that he was due to fly in May but the airline cancelled his trip shortly before Christmas. He was entitled to a refund from the airline, but says he never received one.

"I felt cheated, robbed and angry a company that was supposedly quite reputable had then turned around and done something like this," Mr Mikolajski said.

The collapse of Bestjet left Brisbane couple Neil and Annette Hall $10,600 out of pocket and devastated that their "once-in-a-lifetime" business class trip to Milan had been cancelled.

Neil booked the flights with Etihad via Bestjet on December 11. He told Guardian Australia the trip was prompted by a redundancy.

"It was really to celebrate 38 years of work, and just to spoil ourselves on an overseas trip. We've never flown business and it was sort of a once-in-a-lifetime thing to celebrate the start of something new for us."

The couple received an email on December 22 they say included several spelling efforts and was purporting to be from Bestjet. That's when they realised something was wrong.

"It's obviously quite a large amount of money and not an everyday purchase, put it that way. It's certainly hit us pretty hard," Mr Hall said.

Bestjet's administrator Pilot Partners says there is a "clear process" for customers to claim refunds, but warned tickets that were "no longer valid" would not be refunded, according to the ABC.


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