The travel plans of hundreds of Australians are in disarray after the sudden collapse of an online flight retailer, leaving many of its customers thousands of dollars out of pocket.
Flight booking company Fly365 went into administration on Friday, removing both its website and its Facebook page at the same time.
The Gold Coast-based company and its directors – Dubai-based Mustafa Filizkok and Scott Mayne from Queensland – are unable to be contacted.
The abrupt move is thought to have left nearly 1000 customers with ruined holiday plans – and owed large sums of money.
“Fly365 is in bankruptcy and didn’t tell me,” one customer wrote on the website Trustpilot.
“They didn’t issue my tickets to the airline after me booking last week. Now I have to do a credit card chargeback and try to book new tickets elsewhere.”
Other customers have complained their tickets have been cancelled and refunds paid by the relevant airline to Fly365, but not passed on.
Melbourne couple James Price and Steven Somers say they are owed $11,500 for a once-in-a-life-time European trip booked through Fly365 after Mr Somers was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.
Their flights were cancelled by the company but no money has been refunded.
“We were told we needed to make the most of his mobility, essentially. So we thought, ‘let’s go, the timing is good’,” Mr Price told the Nine newspapers.
“We booked last Monday and we emailed them on Friday and they weren’t trading anymore. You have to think they would have had no intention at all of paying when we booked those flights.”
Fly365 Pty Ltd is now in external administration, according to the Australian Securities and Investments Commission.
A Facebook group set up to support customers caught up in the collapse already has 750 members. Mr Somers is an administrator of the new group.
Nicarson Natkunarajah from insolvency firm Roger and Carson was appointed as liquidator for Fly365 on Friday.
The Fly365 collapse follows the demise of another Queensland budget travel agency, Bestjet, in December 2019. It went into voluntary administration, along with subsidiaries Wynyard Travel Pty Ltd and Brooklyn Travel Pty Ltd,
Travellers who had booked flights through Bestjet were caught out, including Neil and Annette Hall. They told The Guardian they were owed $10,600 for flights to Milan.
“It’s obviously quite a large amount of money and not an everyday purchase, put it that way. It’s certainly hit us pretty hard,” Mr Hall said.
Earlier in 2019, Melbourne-based agencies Tempo Holidays and Bentours went under, after their British parent company pulled the plug.
Bentours reportedly owed one couple $40,000 for their trip-of-a-lifetime. They had to write it off.