In mid-March, I contacted Bexley travel to book a vacation to London in the UK. All that I intended to use the agent for was to book airfare and a hotel for my week's stay. The airfare was not a problem, and the agent booked it without a fee, as she would be compensated by the airline. When it came time to pick a hotel, I had chosen a hotel that she would not be able to collect any commission on, so I had to pay her fee in order to have it booked for me, this was not a problem at the time. About a week before I was supposed to leave, all European air traffic ground to a halt due to Volcanic activity in Iceland, and the UK seemed to be especially affected. Naturally, I called my travel agent during regular business hours to see if there was anything that I needed to do in case I could not travel. Because our travel dates were TOTALLY inflexible, I wanted to start some kind of backup plan in case I could not travel to Europe. The gentleman who answered the phone when I called with a simple question was very rude, and treated me like an iritating child with a lot of stupid questions. His exact response was ""Everything will be fine. I just saw on the news that they are already reopening the airports."" I know now that he must have been lying to me, the airports were NOT reopened that day, so he could not possibly have seen it on the news. In fact, during the shutdown, only 6 commercial flights took off from London airports, and there were NO commercial landings. After lying to me, this gentleman basically told me not to worry that everything would be fine. So I trusted my travel agents expertise and didn't worry. The crisis continued to be in a major headline, but I received no further contact from my agent regarding any possible complications. On the day before we were scheduled to leave, the airports were all still closed, and most of northern Europe was a total no-fly zone with some 20,000 flights being cancelled daily. With growing concern, I attempted to contact my travel agent via phone & email, but I received no response. Later on, my flight was officially cancelled by the airline, and still, I received no contact from the agent. Again, my travel dates were NOT at all flexible, and with no contact from the agency I was finally forced to completely restructure an international trip with no assistance from the travel agent I had already paid. I had to choose a new destination on my own. I had to call the hotel myself and cancel my reservations to avoid charges on my credit card. I had to call the airline and wait on hold for hours on my own because my travel agent could not be reached and find out how to re-book the tickets. Because I ultimately only paid the agent to book a hotel room, and I ended up not using that hotel room, and because this agent was not available when I needed her most, I felt warranted in sending an email asking for a refund of the booking fee I paid. The only reply I received to that message was basically ""Sorry, that's not possible, and I hope you had a great time at your alternate destination. You should have called during regular business hours [not a Saturday] and we could have helped"". I then replied to her and explained again that I DID call during the week and was rebuffed, and that once my flight was actually cancelled and I knew I had a problem, it was already a Saturday. I then asked again for a refund because she ultimately provided no service, all that I paid her for was undone completely and I don't understand how I should have to pay someone for something that I didn't receive. Furthermore, if I had received accurate, truthful information when I first called with my concerns, none of this would have been an issue. If I hadn't been so quickly dismissed by the person who answered the phone that day, we would have been able to come up with a backup plan together, and I would have been saved a lot of stress and hardship.
Pros: Can't think of any....
Cons: Customer service skills are lacking.