How FareDropped helped Shaun save $700 during his trip to Europe.

We love a dramatic customer-service story—when it has a happy ending.

Shaun’s adventure to Europe—a long-awaited trip to see one of his very favorite singers, Ryan McMullan, in Belfast, Ireland—was going perfectly. Until, it wasn’t.

Shaun had just seen an amazing concert and even had a chance to chat with Ryan McMullan—one of his favorite musicians of all time—back stage after the show.

Backstage: Ryan McMullan and Shaun, a longtime fan, at peak happiness during his trip.

Covid disrupted Shaun’s plans

Shaun was flying high, until a couple of days later, when his trip began to go sideways.

The Omicron variant of Covid-19 was just starting to sweep across Europe. And Denmark, the next country on Shaun’s itinerary, had implemented tight travel restrictions.

Shaun wanted to come home to the United States ahead of schedule.

Good news: Shaun was booked to fly home on Icelandair, which, like many airlines around the world, was—and still is—waiving change and cancellation fees. This meant that Shaun should have been able to simply change the date of his flight, with no fee.

More good news: the price of the new flights Shaun wanted was exactly the same as his original flights. So it should have been very easy to simply switch to the new itinerary.

But then, the friendly Icelandair reservations agent noticed a problem.

Shaun had booked his ticket through an online travel agency.

And then came—you knew it was coming—the bad news.

“Oh, I see you booked your ticket through an online travel agency. You need to contact them directly to make any changes.”

Icelandair customer service representative

Shaun called GoToGate, the online travel agency where he had booked his Icelandair ticket. Shaun was placed on an extremely long hold. He waited. And waited. And, waited.

Surprising no one, waiting on hold and listening to subpar stock music was not how Shaun had intended to spend the final days of his vacation.

Still on vacation, Shaun was trying to enjoy the last few days of his abbreviated trip. Waiting on hold for over an hour with his online travel agency wasn’t helping. On the contrary, it was causing a lot of stress.

Shaun mentioned his travel troubles to FareDropped, where we are developing a new travel-advocacy service for our members. (This is an invitation-only trial at the moment; you can join the waitlist here.)

FareDropped took over the time-consuming project of trying to get in touch with GoToGate via email and phone.

We kept Shaun in the loop—and on carbon copy. And we documented our efforts to reach the online travel agency on Shaun’s behalf.

When we could not get through to GoToGate after several attempts, and hours on hold, FareDropped drafted a dispute for Shaun to file with his credit card company.

Shaun’s credit card company researched the transaction, reviewed the dispute and ruled in Shaun’s favor, reversing the $700 charge.

Shaun booked a new ticket home. This time, he booked directly with the airline.

Shaun’s stressful travel experience underscores one of FareDropped’s most important tips: Whenever possible, book directly with the airline.

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