Honeymooners: Travel Agent Left Them 'Stranded'
Posted August 27, 2007 10:14 p.m. EDT
Updated August 29, 2007 10:17 a.m. EDT
Marital bliss is supposed to follow a wedding, but a Durham couple said their independent travel agent left them stranded during their European honeymoon.
Charles and Noriko Wade booked a honeymoon to Rome, Paris and London through independent travel agent Sandy Tabron of Small World Travel &Tours, based in Benson. They said they paid Tabron $5,726 to arrange the trip.
"I was real excited, because, you know, it's on my life list of things to do," Noriko Wade said.
However, train tickets and tour vouchers were missing from their travel packet, which arrived a couple months before the honeymoon. Charles Wade said he contacted Tabron and she said the items would be waiting at their hotel in Rome.
"That wasn't the situation. When we got there, you know, they (the hotel staff) kind of just looked at us like, 'We don't speak English.' We were lost," Charles Wade said.
The couple said they called and e-mailed Tabron about the missing tickets and vouchers.
"She kept saying, 'I'm so sorry. I can't believe this has happened. Are you sure the tickets aren't there?'" Noriko Wade said.
"Everything that we heard from her was, 'We're trying. I'm not sure.' And those are things you just don't want to hear when you're stranded," Charles Wade said.
After the newlyweds spent an extra day in Rome, Tabron got them on a flight to Paris, but her efforts ended there, the Wades said.
The couple didn't have enough cash or credit to continue the honeymoon on their own dime, so they paid to change their airline tickets and come home early, they said.
"She was trying to be apologetic but, at the same time, couldn't really offer us anything until we got back, which wasn't very helpful when you're not here and stuck in Europe," Noriko Wade said.
The Wades said they also received a refund for their London hotel but felt they were owed around $1,600 for the airline change fees, the missing train tickets and other expenses.
Tabron did not respond to their inquiries but did talk to Five On Your Side.
She told 5OYS that she "fixed it the best she could," and then admitted she "could have made things better" for the newlyweds.
She sent the Wades a letter promising an additional $1,465 refund, to which they agreed. Tabron promised to 5OYS that the couple would have their refund by the end of September.
Fred Boucher, the owner of Small World, said that Tabron never told him about the Wades' travel woes. He called the whole incident "mind boggling" and apologized.
Boucher offered to arrange another trip for the Wades at cost.
He also said that Tabron no longer works as a representative of Small World.
The Wades said they learned an important travel tip from the experience.
"Don't leave without everything in your hands," Noriko Wade said.