Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: What do you think about Austravel?
Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Friday 25 January 2013
Q. Could you please tell me what you think about Austravel as a company? We would like to use them when we travel to Australia at the end of the year.
A. I must have spent a good few thousand pounds over the years with Austravel, an experienced and competent agent. Twenty-five years ago, the company was instrumental in putting Australia on the map as a realistic holiday destination, when it arranged charter flights to the country – with fares below £500 for the first time, a revolutionary price point.
The company is now a subsidiary of Europe’s biggest holiday firm, TUI, and therefore financially rock solid.
But before you hand over your cash, shop around to see if another agent can improve on the price or service. Two other big competitors are Trailfinders and DialAFlight, and many other specialists are worth considering.
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