Disappointing first experience with flight booking using ZUJI

I have always wanted to keep things positive as much as possible in my blog but I felt there is a need to inform you of this incidence which happened to me so that you may not be caught in the same situation. This is a personal story of my very first experience using the flight booking service provided by ZUJI and I would probably think twice when using their services again. Recommend their services to people around me? I don’t think so.

It all began last week when my sister called me up to assist her in booking a flight ticket to Wuhan, China for one of her staffs; her staff has approached her for help to find a cheaper air ticket to Wuhan. The agency he went to has quoted him SGD700++ for a direct flight ticket to Wuhan.

I opened up this website, went straight to the ZUJI’s affiliate page on JOURNEY and key in the dates and destination for a search. ZUJI’s returned with the pricing from the varies airlines as show below.

Returned flight searches in ZUJI

Looking at the returned search results, my sister and I were discussing how it was possible for the agency to quote her staff a direct flight ticket of only SGD700++. My sister gave a call to the agency to make sure that there wasn’t any miscommunication between her staff and the agency. True enough, the day her staff called up the agency, the price was SGD700++, but it has since gone up to SGD1020. And this was as reflected on ZUJI’s Returned flight searches on ZUJI 7 Octreturned flight searches. I told my sister that I would help her to check again at different timings.

On the morning of 6 October, 2014 when I checked, the direct flight ticket was only SGD750. I sent her a Whatapps message at 1142 hours to inform her about this. However, she was still away in Malaysia, it wasn’t until the morning of 7 October that she got back to me; the price has already reverted back to SGD1020. Trying my luck, I changed the departing date by a day in the search and was pleasantly surprised of the discounted rate. However, I wasn’t able to book it for her as I was outside and I did not want to do the booking using the smart phone.

(Picture on the right: Screenshot of the price on 7 October around 1107 Hours)

Seeing that the price varies at different timings, we decided to wait till the weekend when I am at her house to help her with the booking. During this time, I still checked the ticket pricing regularly at different timings and I was able to get the discounted rate of SGD750 at most of the time I checked either on the same day or a day different.

Screenshot 2014-10-09-17-56-49On 9 October, when I checked again, the price was at SGD750 for both Silkair and Singapore Airlines, so I asked my sister to book the ticket immediately. Long story short, we went through the booking and payment thinking that thanks to ZUJI, we have secured a good deal for her staff who will be able to fly directly to Wuhan instead of stopping over in Hong Kong and waste his precious time transiting.

(Picture on the left: Screenshot of checking the price on 9 Octorber at around 1756)

However, the next morning ZUJI sent an email informing us that we were not successful in booking the ticket as seats were already sold out by the time we finished our transaction online. The new price for our original flights request would be SGD1012.38 which means that a further SGD262.60 is required in order to confirm the original flights.

We were given three options by ZUJI:

1. Confirm original flights with an additional cost of $262.60
2. Confirm the alternative flight option one with no additional cost with China Eastern (1 Stop):
3. Cancellation of the flights with a refund (5-7 Business Days)

These three options were supposed to be the alternatives which would incur minimal additional cost. No doubt there would be no additional cost flying China Eastern, but it is 1 Stop instead of the original direct flight. So I was asking the staff from ZUJI very straightforwardly , “Why are ZUJI still offering tickets at SGD750 when there were no more available seat?” The answer I got was it was not within their control, seats are subject to availability; as far as I know, there wasn’t anything stating ‘seats are subjected to availability’ during the booking. In the end we cancelled the booking. And guess what?

Returned flight searches on ZUJI 11 Oct 1135 Hours

Returned flight searches on ZUJI 11 Oct at 1135 Hours

Yes, discounted rate is still being offered at random hours of the day (checked once on 10 Oct around 1555 hours) and ZUJI was telling us that seats were sold out. If all seats were sold out before our transaction was completed the other day, could ZUJI has done something on its system to prevent the transaction from going through and save this unpleasantness? And other then the three options above, would it be a better option to keep us in a waiting list and to help us to secure a seat with our original flight requests when seats are available again as shown in the picture above?

In Singapore’s ZUJI website, you see a tagline, ‘memories begin here,’ beneath the ZUJI’s logo. A not so good first memory in this case. Hopefully ZUJI would be able to make some changes to their system to prevent transaction from going through if seats are already sold out as in our case. Or they can lock the ticket until the transaction is completed? I believe their flight booking service can be improved further to serve their customers better. Last but not least, I believe a better option of remedy in our case is putting us in a waiting list, of course not indefinitely but maybe for a day or two, so that we can purchase the flight which we really want.

What do you think ZUJI can do to prevent such a disappointing experience from happening again? And how would you have proposed ZUJi to solve this case?

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