The Spanish Food and Safety Inspection Services have detected several mistakes in some of the websites that offer flights and holidays

The truth is t this is a bad news, but on one hand it can be help us concentrate our searches on the Internet while we are looking for flight and holidays and learn a bit more on things to be taken into account when looking for flights.

On September 27th, the Food and Safety Inspection Services, in collaboration with the official consumption services of the other European countries, did a search on the Internet in order to check if the final prices adjust to the ones offered on the websites and if the conditions are met. They also evaluated if the terms of contract comply with the European norms on consumers rights.

What are noteworthy in this report are the cases of deceptive advertisement and the failure to comply with the law when selling these services. One of the tricks of some of these websites is the offer of free air tickets without mentioning that they are subject to airport taxes; this refers to the sites of Vueling and Ryanair.

Some of the legal requirements theses websites fail to comply with, is clarity in the conditions or, for example, in the case of Ryanair, Transavia and Tuy-Fly, the information on the flights is offered in Spanish language but the schedule of general conditions which every traveler must accept is in English, something quite strange, considering that the sites are meant for Spanish consumers. They have also found out that in the advertisement these companies put on other websites or in the media, they offer trips at incredible low costs that are never found on their official websites.

All in all, the Instituto Nacional de Consumo (the Spanish Food and Safety Inspection Services) has failed seven websites out of the eleven most visited by Spanish travelers: eDreams, Ryanair, Iberia, Spanair, Transavia, Tuy-Fly and Vueling. The Institute is going to inform the Dirección General de la Aviación Civil ( the Spanish Civil Aviation Authority) which will have to take the necessary measures.

The good news is that four companies: Easyjet, Atrápalo.com, Rumbo and Air Berlin, came through the investigation unscathed.

On the other hand, the report also includes travel clubs that offer their services on the Net, where they have also detected deceitful advertisement. For example, the story of fabulous trips made by celebrities who have never been to the places they claim to have been to. It is also common to say that they belong to prestigious associations and institutions or to include the anagram of renowned organisations which did not grant them the right to do so.

For all these reasons, apart from getting thorough information on the trip (especially in the case of long distance and expensive trips), it is also important to visit some sites specialised in consumption to check if the process is legal. For example, the site of the Instituto Nacional de Consumo, the Spanish Food and Safety Inspection Services.

Francisco Cenamor

Flights to the Riviera Maya

There is a vast choice of flights to the Riviera Maya, as well as the prices. Needless to say that it also depends on the season, which is why this is the time for good offers and discounts on the ticket prices. And, although there are many packages which include hotels, we will take a look at the airfares. A round trip, of course.

For example, if we leave on the Friday 5th October to come back on the 12th in tourist class, we can choose between three flights of Iberia to Cancun, where the airport to the Riviera Maya is. Depending on the travel agency, there might be a difference of 30 euros more or less, including taxes and this is about 740 euros, almost the same as travelling with Air Europa, but this company only has one flight on this date.

It is a good idea to check if it a direct flight or not, although it doesn’t seem to be a direct flight for that day. And it is also important to check the duration of the flight since there big differences of up to 5 hours within the same company and between 15 to 20 hours. It is also common to change the company during the stopover. Iberia for example, almost always entrusts Aeroméxico the second part of the trip.

If we left on the 8th October to come back on the 15th, we can find a wide range of flights and prices. Curiously, the cheapest company is the Dutch KLM, which offers flights (two on this day) with a stopover in Amsterdam, of course. But there are also other companies: American Airlines, Aeroméxico, Cubana, Air Europa, Delta, Iberia, Continental Airlines, British Airways or Mexicana. Air Europa and Aeroméxico offer direct flights.

If, on the contrary, we want to leave on Tuesday 9th October and come back on the 16th October, we will be saving 50 euros on the airfare travelling with Aeroméxico in tourist class with a stopover.

When surfing the internet in search of air tickets there are tens of sites where we find flights: Rumbo, Easy Viajar, Destinia, eDreams, Muchoviaje, Viajar… it is always good to have references of the airlines we are flying. A good way is to visit the Internet forums where travellers share their experiences. One of the negative experiences most commented on of these forums is the change of the schedule of the planes, which normally happens after we have paid for the ticket and is always for worse: suddenly there is a technical problem that will make our flight last three hours more. But, the most successful are the packages that include the flight and the hotel. Paying for packages is almost the same as paying for the flight alone.

And, although there is a huge difference and we have spent a lot of time and money, reaching the Riviera Maya and discovering its marvels is quite compensation.

Francisco Cenamor

The Fives USA blog about Playa del Carmen & the Riviera Maya, Mexico