10 days ago I went to book tickets for the family as we are going back to New Zealand for my Mum’s 60th birthday. After much searching I found that Royal Brunei had the cheapest tickets with very good connections. It was a Saturday morning when I booked them. I noticed on their website that you could book adult and childrens fares but no mention of infants. I searched the site high and low and there was no mention about infant bookings. I sent them an email and got a prompt response from their head office saying I had to book an infant via the phone and need to call the Bangkok office to do so. I called the Bangkok office and got a message saying they are closed until Monday.Not wanting to miss out on the good fares and having never paid more then $100 or so for an infant ticket I went ahead and made the purchase.
On the Monday I called the office to book the infant ticket. The lovely lady told me that she could do it over the phone no problem and that it would cost 22,000 baht (AUS $1,000). I almost blew a gasket! The Adult fare that we were paying was 25,000 baht.
I told her very politely that in my country that is called highway robbery and that there was no way I would be paying that much. Over the next two days there were a few phone calls back and forth before she told me she could do it for 11,000 baht, half the price. 3,000 baht was for the ticket and 8,000 baht for tax of which about 7,000 baht of that was for a fuel surcharge. Unbelievable.
I had looked up Emirates for the same route and the infant cost was 2,500 baht total so I told her i still thought 11,000 baht was too high. She said she would see what she could do but never got back to me. Yesterday I called the office to find out what was going on and was told that 11,000 baht was the lowest they could do. I told them I would pay it as what else can I do? I have connecting airfares for the family already booked and paid for from Ubon Ratchatani to Bangkok return plus I have a ticket from Adelaide in Australia back to Auckland to meet up with the family and the Royal Brunei flight back to Bangkok already booked and paid for.
She took the details of my infant and said she would get back to me whcih she didn’t so I called again this morning. No problems she said all organised all you need to do is POP INTO OUR OFFICE TO PAY FOR IT!
No that is okay, I replied, I would like to pay by credit card over the phone please. “We can’t do that I am sorry sir”
She repeated that I would need to come to Bangkok before the 12th to pay. After I told her that was impossible she said perhaps I could pay at a local travel agent. I explained that my closest travel agent is a 2 1/2 hour drive away but if that is what I had to do I guess I would do that (knowing that I have a planned trip to go there in a few days). I told her to call me back with a name and address of where I can pay. She calls me back and says sorry the nearest travel agent is in Khon Kaen an 8 hour drive away. What about Cambodia she helpfully offered.
I never shoot the messenger so told her very carefully how angry I was and that something needs to be done about it. I said what about paying at the airport before we depart. She said that they don’t have ticketing capabilities at the airport and that a seat needs to be reserved prior to the 12th in case they sell it to someone else. I said she is an infant, what are you going to sell, my lap? She thought about that for a few seconds in silence and said she would get back to me.
I am waiting…..
*Edit* June 2011….. It would seem I am not the only person not happy with Royal Brunei. This infant issue coupled with the fact that on the return journey a mechanical problem meant we missed our connecting flight and therefore were unable to say good bye to my Father in Law – arriving just a few hours after he died made me vow I would never fly with them again. It would seem that this choice has been taken out of my hands anyway as they have just announced that as of October 2011 Royal Brunei airlines will stop flying to Auckland, Brisbane and Sydney.