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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Wow, what a difference three years makes. I remember how service oriented the old travel agency USED to be, but I have been less than impressed with my experience with AdTrav thus far. I tried to enter our first discussion armed with flight info from my own research. Last time we transited Copenhagen on the way to Gothenburg, and we were able to stay 3 nights there before getting to GOT at no charge. This time we wanted to do the same thing on the way back, stop in CPH for a few days before taking the non-stop to SFO. Our agent said this is no longer allowed. She offered that anything beyond the "Core Experience" requires I pay a $200 planning fee just to figure out if it exceeds the base fee! I am doing all my own hotels, trip planning, etc. All I need her to do is book flights and she wants to charge me a fee!

I asked to explore SAS flights, since there is a daily non-stop from SFO-CPH. Those flights were sitting there ready for me to order on Expedia, Orbitz, and Kayak for the exact dates we wanted but they are apparently "sold out" in her system. She says they have different inventory buckets. So in order to keep our dates, she offered to route us on Delta (Air Friance) via Paris to GOT. I asked about flying out on Delta, and returning via SAS (which would be direct to SFO from CPH) and was told "no, you can't mix airlines"!

After discussing with my better half, we were like "okay, let's make lemonade out of lemons, scrap Copenhagen and do a few days in Paris instead. I wrote her back and asked her about a lay over in CDG since it wasn't altering our routing just staying a few days. She responds that Layovers are not allowed, and I need to pay $200 if I want anything beyond the core experience. She will only book SFO-GOT and CDG-SFO leaving the linking piece for me to figure out (and pay for?) unless I pay $200?!

Is anyone else having this experience? I feel like they are trying hard to milk me for $200 before being helpful. Very annoyed at this point, as I feel my asks are fairly minimal. Not the experience i remember so fondly from the first time around. I know the agent I ended up with has been referenced here before as less than helpful, but not sure how I go about asking for someone else...has anyone successfully switched agents or escalated a problem to positive resolution?
 
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Wow, what a difference three years makes. I remember how service oriented the old travel agency USED to be, but I have been less than impressed with my experience with AdTrav thus far. I tried to enter our first discussion armed with flight info from my own research. Last time we transited Copenhagen on the way to Gothenburg, and we were able to stay 3 nights there before getting to GOT at no charge. This time we wanted to do the same thing on the way back, stop in CPH for a few days before taking the non-stop to SFO. Our agent said this is no longer allowed. She offered that anything beyond the "Core Experience" requires I pay a $200 planning fee just to figure out if it exceeds the base fee! I am doing all my own hotels, trip planning, etc. All I need her to do is book flights and she wants to charge me a fee!

I asked to explore SAS flights, since there is a daily non-stop from SFO-CPH. Those flights were sitting there ready for me to order on Expedia, Orbitz, and Kayak for the exact dates we wanted but they are apparently "sold out" in her system. She says they have different inventory buckets. So in order to keep our dates, she offered to route us on Delta (Air Friance) via Paris to GOT. I asked about flying out on Delta, and returning via SAS (which would be direct to SFO from CPH) and was told "no, you can't mix airlines"!

After discussing with my better half, we were like "okay, let's make lemonade out of lemons, scrap Copenhagen and do a few days in Paris instead. I wrote her back and asked her about a lay over in CDG since it wasn't altering our routing just staying a few days. She responds that Layovers are not allowed, and I need to pay $200 if I want anything beyond the core experience. She will only book SFO-GOT and CDG-SFO leaving the linking piece for me to figure out (and pay for?) unless I pay $200?!

Is anyone else having this experience? I feel like they are trying hard to milk me for $200 before being helpful. Very annoyed at this point, as I feel my asks are fairly minimal. Not the experience i remember so fondly from the first time around. I know the agent I ended up with has been referenced here before as less than helpful, but not sure how I go about asking for someone else...has anyone successfully switched agents or escalated a problem to positive resolution?
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Sorry about your experience. Not sure if it's possible to switch. I sent you a direct message a few days back about one agent whom we tried to avoid, and it sounds like you got that one. For others' reference, you can actually choose an agent from a drop-down menu when you sign up for initial consult. It defaults to "any available" but you can choose. While I feel your frustration, I'm not entirely surprised that they won't book a multi-day layover. At some point it's got to count as a three-city itinerary and not a layover on a single flight. I doubt you could go on kayak and book a flight between two cities with more than a 24 hour "layover" in a third but I admit I've never tried! Now, if all you're asking to do is fly home from Paris, and figuring out how to get yourself to Paris, it sounds just like any other OSD with a drop off in a different city.
 

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I haven't had any issues but then again I'm a rebook from last year when they postponed travel. Doing a week layover in Amsterdam.

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
I haven't had any issues but then again I'm a rebook from last year when they postponed travel. Doing a week layover in Amsterdam.

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Thanks for weighing in. So to be clear did they fly you to AMS from GOT for your layover? Did they charge you a $200 planning fee? She keeps saying layovers are NOT allowed, and I call BS from everything I have ever seen on typical OSD itineraries.
 

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Yes they flew me from got to ams for layover. No $200 fee (although you are starting to scare me that they'll spring it on me at some point randomly before my trip).

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
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Sorry about your experience. Not sure if it's possible to switch. I sent you a direct message a few days back about one agent whom we tried to avoid, and it sounds like you got that one. For others' reference, you can actually choose an agent from a drop-down menu when you sign up for initial consult. It defaults to "any available" but you can choose. While I feel your frustration, I'm not entirely surprised that they won't book a multi-day layover. At some point it's got to count as a three-city itinerary and not a layover on a single flight. I doubt you could go on kayak and book a flight between two cities with more than a 24 hour "layover" in a third but I admit I've never tried! Now, if all you're asking to do is fly home from Paris, and figuring out how to get yourself to Paris, it sounds just like any other OSD with a drop off in a different city.
Thanks for the reply, and your earlier message. I booked a consultation with another rep, but it was 3 weeks away and I was concerned that flights might be hard to secure over memorial day weekend, and didn't want to lose a month. I saw another last minute .consult pop up (with no name listed) and jumped on it, as I figured our flight only ask was simple enough, but apparently not, and of course we got the agent we were trying to avoid. To be clear she will book SFO-GOT via CDG and she will book CDG-SFO but it sounds like she wants a $200 fee to even look at GOT-CDG to tell me if the additional $ would but me out of the total Volvo base allowance. I don't mind paying a fee for detailed research, train bookings, hotel reservations, etc. But she can likely tell with one or two key strokes if the airfare is an issue, but won't lift a finger till we pony up. Seems unreasonable to me.
 
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Last summer we looked at various multi-day layovers in both directions (ended up doing only one), and there was never any mention of a $200 fee. We were very happy dealing with Tina.
 
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I am also frustrated with AdTrav so far. Primarily because no one is even helping me yet! My first appointment was cancelled for no reason. My second appt, the agent tells me she cannot work on Volvo travel. Now I am waiting to talk to someone, but no one cares to reply to emails. I agree that the level of service seems really poor at that end. I am also making my own travel plans and do have layovers. If anyone here doesn't mind sending me info of agents who really know this well and can help, I would appreciate it. All I need them to do is book the air travel, I have done all the planning!
 

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I had my own issues with AdTrav, mostly I would characterize them as communications issues, but was happy with what Tina provided as well. I did a basic trip recently (January 2022) as my wife ended up not traveling but Tina was happy to look at different flight options. We were originally going to fly into Gothenburg and out of Stockholm with us taking the train in between. They were happy to arrange this is well with no planning fee. I don't know exactly but I "think" if you layover for longer than 24 hours most places it isn't considered a "layover". In the end I ended up flying into and out of GOT and upgraded my United tickets to business class on my own with my United Plus Points.

It was my understanding that the $200 planning fee was for any tours, experiences, etc. booked in excess of the flights. Tina booked my extra nights at the GOT hotel with no fee.
 

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We just booked our flights last week - the open jaw tickets plus two domestic flights within Sweden all covered by Volvo.
(EWR-GOT, GOT-ARN, ARN-KRN, KRN-EWR)

We did pay to upgrade to business for the over-ocean legs, but pricing seemed on par with SAS website and no mention of an extra $200 fee on top...
 

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Not comfortable in an open forum. I have no personal experience working with anyone other than Shelly Ruiz, who was wonderful. And I'm not entirely sure this agent is wrong about what constitutes a "layover." I would just refer you to the thread called "Finally pulled the trigger". Someone there described having a problem doing exactly what we wanted to do (flying "open-jaw" into Stockholm and home from Gothenburg). We really want to start in Stockholm, so that was our only ask. I view OSD as a "gift horse," so we picked Shelly, went in with modest expectations, and Shelly exceeded them.
 

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Last summer we flew JFK-AMS-BRU, 2 nights, BRU-AMS-GOT, ~13 nights, VCE-JFK. No extra fees. (We looked at breaking up VCE-JFK with a layover in PAR, but that would have been too much.)
 

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I don’t think people should be going into the process expecting third hop flights. At some point it just isn’t a round-trip ticket. Maybe there’s some kind of allowance or $ cap that gives them some flexibility If the flights are cheap enough and within Scandinavia on SAS. IDK the rules. But if I had never read this forum the only thing I would’ve taken away from Volvo’s website is that you might be able to fly home from a different city than Gothenburg if you drop your car off somewhere else. All that being said, I think it's smart to avoid the agent who apparently think the "core experience" consists only of flights in and out of Gothenburg.
 

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I don’t think people should be going into the process expecting third hop flights.
It seems that you just never know.

When we went in 2018 (different agency, obviously) we flew into Copenhagen to spend a couple of days. I fully expected to be on my own then, and planned to take the train to Gothenburg, but the agent said that was no problem and flew us from CPH up to GOT.

After turning the car back in, we took the train to Stockholm for a few days, and flew home from there. Although we did upgrade to business class, there were no special fees and the fares were quite good.
 

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I think we have the same agent based on our direct messages. I want to add one thing to what I shared earlier on the forum.

Although the agent told me that I have to either fly to Gothenburg or depart from Gothenburg, and anything outside of it is not "Volvo core experience," she did end up booking sfo-stockholm and Frankfurt-sfo for me without the additional $200 fee. But I had to tell her that she is misinformed and I'll need to escalate the issue if it's not resolved. Then she resolved the issue herself. Actually she was always very responsive and she was trying to be helpful, but for some reason she was insisting that the trip had to have Gothenburg at some leg. Maybe she is given wrong instructions.
 

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Thanks for the clarification Colonel. I just noticed that they have added an additional category of initial consultation, with a new agent, for those who only want help with the core experience. Hopefully that person will be well trained in what is permitted and better facilitate the process for others.
 

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Discussion Starter · #18 ·
Finally got my travel finalized. I wasn't 100% thrilled with the outcome but at some point I just wanted it done. I pushed back hard on the $200 booking fee just to look at flight options, and the agent eventually backed off that. She was willing to book the connecting flight from GOT-CDG but said it would be on my dime because "lay overs are not allowed". That was her canned response no matter how many times I pushed back and suggested that has never been the case as long as the flights weren't putting us over Volvo's per person $ cap. I kept asking her if the price was any different for us to return same day on the flight vs. building in a 3 day break between flights and she wouldn't answer, but finally she said she did price the two options and that the one we wanted put us over the $ cap. Once I heard that, I was like okay fine, that is understandable, so I opted to book the connecting flight with miles vs the $800 or so that she was quoting us.

I don't know how indicative my case is to the current lay of the land. Our agent definitely seemed to be very by the book, and tended to shut down discussion of options very quickly with "you can't do that" or "that is outside the core experience"--all well pushing for a $200 planning fee--so hopefully folks will have more luck with others. Definitely wasn't the flexibility I remembered so fondly from our first OSD excursion...Anyway, glad to have the tickets done, onward and upward.
 

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Sorry about your experience. Not sure if it's possible to switch. I sent you a direct message a few days back about one agent whom we tried to avoid, and it sounds like you got that one. For others' reference, you can actually choose an agent from a drop-down menu when you sign up for initial consult. It defaults to "any available" but you can choose. While I feel your frustration, I'm not entirely surprised that they won't book a multi-day layover. At some point it's got to count as a three-city itinerary and not a layover on a single flight. I doubt you could go on kayak and book a flight between two cities with more than a 24 hour "layover" in a third but I admit I've never tried! Now, if all you're asking to do is fly home from Paris, and figuring out how to get yourself to Paris, it sounds just like any other OSD with a drop off in a different city.
@hugies - could you please DM the agent to avoid?
 

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Meanwhile, I have not received a reply to my follow up emails and voice messages since February 18th, so I went ahead and made another appointment with another travel advisor. What started as a pleasant conversation has now turned into a disapointing process. My new appointment isn't until April 8th, so hopefully I'm still able to reserve flights on or near our desired dates.
 
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