Fake air tickets ground holidayers

DHNS, 27-04-2011 06:30:50

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Dreams of summer holidays burst like a bubble for a City chartered accountant and his five companions on Tuesday, after they had reached the airport in the wee hours all set to catch a flight to the Andamans. The staff at the airline counter told them that the tickets they held were fake and refused to put them on board.


The police have booked a complaint against a travel age­ncy and are interrogating four persons in this connection.


Chartered acountant Ramender Bhandari had booked tickets for three couples all in the age group of 50 to 55 th­rough Accolades Holidays, the travel agency which has its offices at I Floor, II Cross, I Ma­in, CKC Garden, Mission Road, Bangalore.  Bhandari had paid Rs 1.86 lakh for the tickets. All efforts to contact the travel agency on the phone failed and the group had to head home. Later, the group used a different phone to contact the agency on the pretext of booking a ticket and fixed up with executives from the agency to meet them at a designated place.


When the executives rea­ched the meeting place, they were locked up and Bhandari called the police. Soon, Mahesh Kumar describing himself as a se­nior staff member of the age­ncy turned up, begged for fo­rgiveness and offered to refund the money the group had paid. Narrating the unhappy episode, Bhandari told Deccan Herald: “When we were scouting for holiday packages an SMS on my mobile phone about Accolades Holidays caught our attention and we contacted them.”


“Immediately, their representatives showed up and explained various holiday deals. They pursuaded us to book the tickets early to be eligible for discounts. We zeroed in on Andaman and Nicobar and paid Rs 1.86 lakh. They also issued air tickets and a travel plans covering hotel bookings and airport / hotel pick up and drop.”


After browsing their swanky website, brochures, vouchers and air tickets issued, Bhandari couldn’t imagine that they could be unreliable. “Our flight was at 6 am. When we reached the airport, the airline staff there told us that our tickets were fake,” Bhandari said.


“The airline said this is not the PNR number, it is just a block booking status which is valid for only 12 hours and automatically gets deleted, if not confirmed. Even the block booking was done a week back and the travel firm failed to confirm the tickets.”


On the way back, “we kept trying Mahesh’s number in vain. Then we decided to change strategy and used a different phone to invite the travel agents to meet us on the pretext of booking tickets.” According Kumar, an executive who had taken the Andaman booking on payment of cash from Bhandari, “Something was wrong. Our office gave ‘some’ ticket and ordered me to collect the cash. I am quitting the company.”

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