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I bought a Singapore Airlines flight ticket via Gotogate, which I'd like to cancel or change. Their policy states (mirror):

You can also contact the airline directly to cancel your tickets.

However, the airline (Singapore Airlines)'s phone customer support and website both say I must contact Gotogate to be able to cancel or change my tickets, which I don't want since Gotogate charge some cancelation/change fees. What recourse do I have?


Screenshot showing the airline asking to contact the travel agent:

enter image description here

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    messaging here is not consistent. Did anyone say you'd be able to cancel or change for free if you bypassed Gotogate? The agent said you can contact the airline directly to CANCEL not change. The airline message only says some changes can't be made through the web UI, it is silent on whether a human CS agent at the airline can help. There's lots of airspace in here for messages not to be contradictory. Dec 16, 2021 at 22:29
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica I've written "the airline''s customer support and website both say I must contact Gotogate to be able to cancel or change my tickets": by customer support I meant the phone support. I didn't explore much the changing option, so we can focus on the canceling option. Dec 17, 2021 at 0:41
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    We really need a good "meta" answer somewhere on the site that emphasizes DO NOT USE THIRD PARTY SITES TO BOOK AIRLINE TICKETS.
    – user4188
    Dec 17, 2021 at 8:27
  • @chx Typically I agree, but in this case the ticket was cheaper through the agent, and the airline's customer service was impossible to reach in less than 3 hours. By the way, this made me wonder: Can an airplane claim its tickets are feely changeable if their customer service can't be reached within some "reasonable" amount of time? Dec 17, 2021 at 8:38
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    "Gotogate" sounds like the scandal that would follow if Edgar Dijkstra was caught sidestepping control flow Dec 17, 2021 at 22:44

2 Answers 2

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Most likely, none. Your contract is with the travel agent, and it's standard practice in the industry that they are your point of contact for any changes you wish to make. When the agency says that you can contact the airline, it doesn't really mean much other than that the agency won't stop you from contacting the airline. It doesn't guarantee that the airline is willing to handle your request directly.

From an airline's point of view, reducing staffing requirements by shifting these requests elsewhere is one of the attractions of dealing with travel agencies. Some airlines may still allow you to contact them directly for cancellations or changes, but many do not or will have limits on the kind of changes possible.

If you do want to try again with the airline, you may have more luck contacting them by phone rather than using the website. The staff may have a little more leeway than public-facing websites. But even then your chances will vary with airline policy, and perhaps with any frequent flier status you have.

Ultimately, accepting the possibility of cancellation/change fees imposed by the travel agent is a trade-off you make when booking via a travel agent.

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    Normal English parsing is that "You can also contact the airline directly to cancel your tickets" means "You can successfully cancel your ticket by contacting the airline", not "You can contact the airline directly with the purpose of cancelling, but there are no guarantees it will work". Dec 17, 2021 at 22:30
  • @Acccumulation and it definitely doesn't mean "You can contact the airline directly with the purpose of cancelling if you want, but we know the airline can't cancel it by themselves". They are just getting away with it as may people don't have enough motivation, time and money to sue them. Dec 17, 2021 at 22:52
  • @Acccumulation welcome to corporate language. Companies making claims that are at best “sort-of true in specific circumstances” isn’t anything especially new
    – Chris H
    Dec 18, 2021 at 17:34
  • If this were to go to court, "One can do linguistic gymnastics to show this is sort of true" isn't going to hold up. Dec 19, 2021 at 1:21
  • I’m not defending the misleading messaging. Unless you’re claiming what I say is factually (rather than ethically) wrong, I’m afraid I don’t really see the purpose of these comments. And if you are, I’d note that if the statement were entirely true then this question wouldn’t have been asked in the first place. If you find someone willing you go to court over getting “can” changed to “may be able to”, I’d wish then all the best…
    – Chris H
    Dec 19, 2021 at 8:02
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I'll share the outcome of my discussions with airline and the travel agent. During my third call to the travel agent, the employee I had on the line told me that she "made the request to allow changes for my flight ticket via the airline". This seems to have done something because previously on the airline's website, I could see that I couldn't change or cancel my booking. After she made that request, I couldn't access anymore my booking on the airline's website: the website was stuck at the stage trying to find the information for my booking, after entering my info on https://www.singaporeair.com/en_UK/sg/plan-travel/your-booking/managebooking/:

enter image description here

I tried to call again the airline but after waiting for over 3 hours for someone to pick up the phone, I opted to only wait one hour to reach the traveling agent and pay their fees.

Tldr: The travel agent might have the option to allow the airline to make changes to the booking, which the airline website might however not support.


I'll also add that the claim by the travel agent "You can also contact the airline directly to cancel your tickets" whereas that they know very well it is not possible (to the point that they have the option to request that cancellation and changes can be made directly with the airline) is likely illegal in some countries, e.g countries with decent consumer protection laws.

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    When I used to travel on business I had the option to book directly with the airline or use the company travel agent (which invariably ended up much more expensive). On the times I did use the travel agent (usually when travelling with colleagues) I could not access the ticket details via the airlines app or website, only via the travels agents own app or website. So they certainly have ways of controlling who can see/do what. Dec 17, 2021 at 5:22

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