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Issues with Sunquest??

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#1 futurejohnson

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    Posted 28 October 2010 - 12:20 PM

    Hi everybody!


    So 2 weeks ago, my FI and I booked with Sunquest for the Gran Bahia Principe Jamaica leaving on October 22, 2011 and we put down the deposit for 10 people.  Just 2 days ago, they told us that the plane only has 9 seats left!!!  I was shocked (and pissed)!!!  The wedding is still a year away, so none of us thought it'd book out so fast, and none of our guests have booked yet.  We're expecting between 40-50 people to come, so now we're scrambling to find another tour operator that leaves the same day.  Our TA has said that Sunquest *might* add a second flight later, but it's not guaranteed and nobody knows when it'll happen.  Otherwise, Sunquest wants to charge us between $80-200/person to "purchase additional seats" from Westjet.    


    Has anybody experienced something similar with Sunquest (or any other tour operator)?  We don't know what to do, and we're not sure if this is considered "normal". 


    If anybody can offer suggestions, please help!




    #2 Lua

    • Sr. Member
    • 1,231 posts

      Posted 29 October 2010 - 04:48 AM

      yikes!!! Sorry to hear this!

      i experienced the opposite with signature vacations - once FI and I booked, they held 30 seats on the plane for us for 90 days!

      #3 futurejohnson

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      • 27 posts

        Posted 29 October 2010 - 06:40 AM

        Oh you're lucky Signature Vacations offered that for you!  All we have with Sunquest now are the 10 spots we paid deposits for, and a "secured group rate until April 30, 2011", which is pretty damn useless now that the stupid plane is almost sold out! 

        #4 LilyRose

        • Jr. Member
        • 202 posts

          Posted 29 October 2010 - 07:46 AM

          Hello futurejohnson,


          I understand how you feel!  It's surprising because you are a year in advance!  Depending of the quote (price per person) you get, I would probably pay the extra to use West Jet for remaining guests.  Of course, it's fun to have everyone in the same plane but in my opinion, I would'nt care so much about it.  It's way harder to find a good price, the good days, ect.   Also, maybe some of your guests will prefer to have a choice of airlines. (it can be a bonus if some guests are living in different cities).  80-200$ is not so bad if you consider that West Jet is  much more expensive usually.


          Well, I'm sure you will find a right solution.  I just wanted to give my honest opinion so you may not have to change everything you already plan.  Good luck and keep us updated!


          Another Canadian bride,

          #5 bryanandchar

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          • 165 posts

            Posted 30 October 2010 - 08:12 PM

            Hi futurejohnson,


            We have had the exact same problem as you! We booked through Sunquest also. We have now lost all of our seats at our group rate because the flight is "sold out" and people now have to pay $400 more now to get a seat. We are still 5 months away from our wedding so we were very upset about this. We've had 43 people book already, but have several more that still want to come, who may not now due to the increased cost. When we signed up we put a deposit down to hold onto 10 seats also, but the extra that weren't sold were taken back from us just last week so now we aren't holding onto any spots for additional guests. You'd think since we've given them so much business already that they'd pull some strings for us, but apparently not.


            From what I understand, this is how Sunquest works:


            -Sunquest charters fly with WestJet airlines

            -When WestJet adds a flight, they sell a large "block" of seats to Sunquest before making them available to the public (for example 40% of the plane)

            -Sunquest gets these seats at very large discount, and they can then sell them to the public at the great discount group rates

            -Once all of Sunquest's alloted seats are used up, they need to put in a formal request to WestJet for more seats on the plane if a group needs more seats

            -WestJet charges Sunquest a fee per seat, which is then passed along to us the consumers (eg, the extra $50-400 you were told about)


            The thing to keep in mind, is that the plane is not actually "sold-out", only Sunquest's portion. WestJet flies to Jamaica several times a day, so your travel agent should be able to get people there on the flight or another one. And also, it's likely that the trip will still be cheaper using your group rate and the additional fee than paying for the entire trip separately. 


            Apparently from what I've heard, next year is one of the busiest destination wedding years they've seen in quite a while, which is why seats are selling out so quickly.


            Unfortunately there's not much you can do except for encourage people to reserve their spot if they want to come. I've been to destination weddings before and talked to other people and nobody has ever had this problem in past years. They've all had people book last minute and still get the group rate.


            It is totally unfair, we weren't told this may happen and were given no notice, just all of a sudden the group rate was gone. But there's nothing that we can do about it now....


            So to any new brides out there - If you are booking with Sunquest, get your guests to pay their deposits ASAP!!! This could happen to you too!!!

            #6 futurejohnson

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              Posted 01 November 2010 - 11:53 AM

              I'm sorry to hear that the same thing happened with you!!  I guess the bright side is that you already have 40+ people booked and it was only 5 months from the wedding....none of our guests have booked yet and we're still a year away lol!


              However, I got good news from my travel agent today!  She was able to get comparable group rates with Air Transat (who flies their own planes down, vs. Sunquest chartering West Jet flights)leaving the same day, so it looks like the other 30+ people in my wedding group will be booking with them!  So now I'm gonna have 10 people booked with Sunquest, and 30+ with Air Transat!  I'm so glad everything worked out, I was gonna have a heart attack when she told me there were only 9 spots left!  Now I can get back to the fun planning!  :)

              #7 bryanandchar

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                Posted 01 November 2010 - 01:33 PM

                Yay! That's so great - I'm glad that you were able to get more seats for your guests! I'm sure it will all turn out in the end:)

                #8 Dmitri_Markine

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                  Posted 05 November 2010 - 11:01 AM

                   From my experience, more seats will become available. Whether it's on the same plane or a different one. You may just have to wait a few weeks/months

                  #9 Tessab123

                  • Newbie
                  • 46 posts

                    Posted 23 November 2010 - 02:04 PM

                    Hey ,

                    So weird this same thing JUST happend to me!!

                    My wedding is planned for may 21-28 2011, i booked the trip in July with sunquest. I got an amazing group package deal for "Early booking".
                    I was searching two weeks ago to see how much our trip was for the general public on sunquests website in comparison to our group price when i noticed that it was coming up "Unavailable"

                    This alarmed me so I emailed my travel agent. She responded to me a week later and began the phone conversation with "Dont freak out but..."

                    She went on to tell me that the plane SOLD OUT!! I was in such shock... sunquest said they would hold 30 spots with 10 deposits to start the group. My agent gave me the whole not to worry talk. within hours I was livid. I had sent out the save the dates in august stating MAY 21-28, 2011... The agent called me back with options a week later saying things like sunquest would not refund our ten deposits, the rest of the group would need to fly in two days later, or we book our flight, hotel and transportation all separetly which i was completely opposed to.
                    What gets me the most is no one ever took the blame for what happened... sunquest has potential to make almost $80,000 from our group and they go and do this to us. After the longest week of my life and correspondence with my agent she finally was able to get the 10 deposits moved to the 23 of may, so now our whole group gets to fly together BUT two days later.

                    I am so mad at how this could happen, Me and my FI NEVER got a phone call saying "Hey theres only 20 spots left... better get moving" My question to my agent was, what would have happened if I never checked online for the price? With only 6 months left until my wedding I could only imagine. I am trying to be optimistic about this but its hard knowing that such a major corporation can just do this to people with out notifying the group, especially when it was noted we were bringing 50+ people.

                    I still feel so unsure and very uneasy staying with sunquest as my agent has advised me they will not hold any spots for me, all they will tell us is that there are 40 spots available. So now I am busy phoning 175 invited guests and telling them the story and trying to get their deposits in ASAP.

                    Needless to say im crossing my fingers and toes in hopes this will not happen again.

                    my suggestion to other brides is be aware of sunquest and dont beleive everything they say.

                    Does anyone out there have any tips or suggestions on how to deal with this? Some friends/family have been telling me to call the Better business bureau or TICO

                    22 and counting + bride and groom! ROR JAMAICA MAY 25, 2011

                    #10 SonyaR

                    • Jr. Member
                    • 299 posts

                      Posted 23 November 2010 - 02:57 PM

                      We had the same thing happen with West Jet/Sunquest this past summer for our wedding in March. I received a call saying the flight was sold out except for my 20 seats we had put a deposit down on. We arrive on Saturday and get married Monday and there were no other flights after Saturday. We got who needed to be on that flight with us and were able to get others booked before our arrival. in the end things worked out and we have all 40 people booked but for that week of scrambling trying to get people booked it was quite stressful.

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