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A British expat in Thailand has told Thaivisa of his shock when he was charged £1,951.80, (79,825.13THB), by Thai Airways for adding 20kg additional baggage onto his London to Bangkok return flights.
The error occurred when the expat, who asked not to be named, logged into the Thai Airways website last weekend, a week before he was due to fly, to select his seat, his meal preference and add 1 extra 20kg luggage to bring back some belated Christmas presents for his friends and family in Thailand.
“Everything seemed fine to begin with,” said the passenger.
“I logged-in as was quoted an additional 975.90 Thai Baht (around £25) each way for one 20kg extra bag – that sounded reasonable enough, so I purchased on my debit card”.
However, he was shocked to discover the payment had processed and an automatic receipt was generated. The transaction had incorrectly been processed by Thai Airways in British Pounds, not Thai Baht. The £544 ticket had already been paid for, but now an additional £1,951.80 had also been taken from his card!
“When I saw the receipt, I knew there had been a serious error, but initially thought it was a mistake on the receipt itself, so I logged into my Barclays mobile banking app, half expecting to see the correct amount, but when I looked through the pending transactions, there it was, two grand pending!”
The nightmare deepened when he called Thai Airways, who he claims did not help him.
“When I spoke to customer service, I calmly explained there was a glitch on their website, as the currency had switched but the figure had not. But they were absolutely awful. Rude, dismissive and said ‘you have to pay’. I protested over, then asked to cancel the extra luggage purchase.”
But when he asked for a refund he says that Thai Airways refused to acknowledge or even investigate any error on their website, arguing that £975.90 is what additional luggage costs.
When it was pointed out that this was 4 times the cost of the original ticket (which cost just £544) and meant to total cost was the equivalent to travelling business class, the airline still refused to look into the complaint.
“I felt sick” he explained, “it was so frustrating trying to explain that it was advertised in Baht, and that I clearly wouldn’t dream of paying anything close to an additional 80,000THB for one bag. But they kept repeating ‘sorry cannot, sorry cannot’ and in the end I just gave up“.
Luckily however, the man’s bank were understanding and agreed the transaction was suspicious. They flagged it as fraudulent, triggering an instant insurance claim, and refunded the full amount to his account. The bank will now need to pursue a separate claim against the airline to recover the costs.
“The whole thing was bizarre, but a real eye opener. Thank God the bank looked after me, because Thai Airways’ attitude was horrendous. I’ve been a frequent flyer with them for years, and whilst I don’t expect special treatment, they’ve made it completely clear they don’t give a sh*t about their customers. 80,000THB for one bag is just madness! A grain of common sense was all that was needed to resolve this amicably, but Thai Airways would rather steal from returning customers, than help them. I will never use Thai Airways again, and I will warn everyone of their unethical practices and lack of integrity.”