An elderly couple have recalled their horror of finding out they were no longer welcome at their local Flight Centre.
Mary Johnson, 79, and her husband Cliff, 81, planned to spend much of 2023 travelling the world and forked out almost $50,000 on three tours across Canada, the US and Turkey booked with the Flight Centre.
The latter two tours didn’t go ahead, throwing the Tweed Heads couple’s travel plans in disarray, which left them $26,000 out of pocket.
The disappointed Johnsons were told they had opted for ‘non-guaranteed departures’ and, therefore ‘accepting the risk of the tour being cancelled by the tour company’.
The couple spent months going back and forth with staff at Flight Centre Tweed City via phone and email, trying to be reimbursed.
Cliff and Mary Johnson (pictured) were shocked to receive an email from their local Flight Centre store urging them to visit another store for future bookings
But it was a recent brutal email from a senior staff employee at the store that stung the most, despite news that the refund had been processed.
‘We feel it’s best for all parties that you use the credit at a different Flight Centre so unfortunately the team at Tweed will be unable to help any future bookings,’ the email obtained by news.com.au states.
‘I will be more than happy to recommend another store to you though.’
Ms Johnson was left reeling by the email after being loyal customers at the store for a decade.
Ms Johnson claimed they were ‘never told’ about the non-guaranteed tours which they wouldn’t have booked had they known about the risk.
The Flight Centre insists the couple aren’t banned from their local store. Pictured is the original email sent to the Johnsons
The Tweed City store promptly backflipped on the ‘ban’ as soon as the media became aware of the saga.
‘I’m sorry if there was any confusion on you being able to book in store with us – we thought that you would prefer to deal with another store but we would love the opportunity to help you with your next booking,’ a follow-up email to the Johnsons states.
Flight Centre have since claimed the initial email was the result of ‘miscommunication’.
‘The area leader spoke to Mary directly and apologised if they believed this to be the case,’ general manager Brent Novak said.
‘A consultant from Tweed City also made contact to offer their assistance when they are ready to make their next booking.’
‘We have ensured out of pocket expenses have been paid.
‘We have contacted the Johnsons directly and apologised for the actions of the local Tweed City team member, introduced a new agent from the same store to look after them and we have ensured any out of pocket expenses were returned and covered.
Mr Novak added a goodwill payment has been made to the Johnsons ‘for any error we had made.’
The Flight Centre has since apologised to the Johnsons for the ‘miscommunication’