Air travel agent who defrauded 48 must pay compensation

An unimaginable scenario surrounding an air travel agency that scammed unsuspecting air-out travelers had its day in court. The whole incident got us thinking about Hawaii travel agents and where they fit into Hawaii vacation planning.

Wendy Wong, a virtual travel agent for the House of Aloha Hawaii, was charged with 48 crimes, although surprisingly, only 37 victims are said to have requested her return. Individual and group air vacation losses have been reported as high as $200,000. And she might even have cheated on her own parents. Yesterday, Wong pleaded guilty to two felonies this time instead of the 50 the district attorney was facing. That incident took place in California, where the victims live.

Wong must also repay $155k to those who requested it.

If payment is not made by November 4, there will be severe consequences. If the restitution is not completed, she still faces one year in jail and one year of supervised release. If reinstated, however, he would avoid jail time but still have two felonies and two years of probation.

“Consumers allege that the company failed to arrange, book and pay for their travel arrangements, including airline and hotel reservations, after paying the company for air travel. In addition, consumers were sent fake itineraries for their trips that claimed they had arranged the travel. Believed.” – Better Business Bureau.

Wendy Wong and her Eva Beach company House of Aloha Travel defrauded their customers. Even his own father once said, “The house of Aloha Hawaii is nothing but a house of cards, a house of deceit and lies.” Wong, who was charged in California where his clients live, previously entered a not guilty plea and returned to court earlier this year.

When we first reported this in 2019, we discovered that Wong was a member of the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA). In a since-deleted listing, she said she specializes in “All Inclusive, Beach Vacations, Camping/Hiking, Corporate/Government, Disney, Family Fun, Group Vacations, Honeymoons, Leisure Travel, Luxury Travel…”.

Airline business registration records indicate that Wong was not a licensed travel agent.

This raises the question of how to protect yourself when dealing with a travel agent you may not be familiar with. First, ask for proof that your agent is licensed before transferring any money. Next, pay by credit card only. Also, consider travel insurance that can provide protection against theft and cancellation. Finally, follow-up on your own to make sure your airline and hotel reservations are actually booked.

When does it make sense to use an air travel agency?

1. For those with limited computer skills.
2. When you don’t have the time or interest to research air travel.
3. Plan a cruise. Here travel agents can often find discounts and upgrades that you might otherwise have difficulty getting. The cruise industry is one of the last bastions for travel agents and one in which they are still well compensated.
4. Big weddings and events. Here too, a travel agent can help with group bookings and discounts and coordinate multiple itineraries.
5. High-end passenger. Travel agents still have a valuable place here and can be of good service.
6. Complex itineraries or special needs. Here, agencies, especially experts in Hawaii, can be very helpful in building your travel plans.
7. The elderly or those with physical or other challenges can also benefit from the services of a travel agent.

Some thoughts on air travel agents.

Air travel agents can save some people valuable time in making complicated travel plans. On the other hand, if you don’t at least do your own confirmatory research, you have no one to blame but yourself if you’re not happy with the results. And when it comes to cruises, travel agencies often offer better deals than cruise operators. We’ve found that to be true and wonder if you might be too.

We must admit that finding a good travel agent may not be as important today as it was in the past, especially for those of us who are internet savvy and planning a Hawaiian vacation is one of the most enjoyable parts of travel. .

As with anything, shop around and compare agencies, their intimate knowledge of air, reputation, and pricing. We’d love to hear about your experiences with air travel agencies and the quality and objectivity of their advice.

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