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(Yahoo)   Sanctions cause one of Russia's largest tourism companies to fail leaving nearly 27,000 Russians stranded abroad with no return tickets home. Either that or Putin has commenced a VERY stealthy invasion of Europe   (news.yahoo.com ) divider line
    More: Interesting, Russians, tour operators, national airline  
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4596 clicks; posted to Main » on 05 Aug 2014 at 4:31 PM (1 year ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2014-08-05 02:06:03 PM  
I think Putin stated re-reading Keith Laumer's   Retief of the CDT series again and realized the Groaci are supposed to be Russians and started taking notes
 
2014-08-05 02:21:12 PM  
I've used a few dozen tourism agents before; I've always gotten all my paper work (ie:plane tickets, tour vouchers) before leaving.

WTF Russia?
 
2014-08-05 04:35:31 PM  
That's what Russia wants you to think,  those people are actually spies.
 
2014-08-05 04:38:33 PM  
fu)ck russia
 
2014-08-05 04:40:54 PM  

The Stealth Hippopotamus: I've used a few dozen tourism agents before; I've always gotten all my paper work (ie:plane tickets, tour vouchers) before leaving.

WTF Russia?


Seriously. How were they planning on getting back before? Have the tickets mailed to them while on vacation? If they were to be emailed, why weren't they emailed when they got their departure? Those tickets should have been booked before they left home. All of this implies that the company knew they were going under weeks ago and stopped bothering to book return flights.
 
2014-08-05 04:41:13 PM  
No no, is not lack of return ticket. No return needed. Home is where heart is, yes? Heart is in your body, therefore you are home now. Pleasure doing the business with you.
 
2014-08-05 04:42:28 PM  

Boo_Guy: That's what Russia wants you to think,  those people are actually spies.


West Coast. East Coast. Down here is Mexico. First wave of the attack came in disguised as commercial charter flights same way they did in Afghanistan in '80. Only they were crack Airborne outfits. Now they took these passes in the Rockies.
 
2014-08-05 04:44:20 PM  
Perhaps they did not buy the return tickets in advance because they planned on going bankrupt.
 
2014-08-05 04:45:10 PM  
 
2014-08-05 04:45:16 PM  
The problem is doubtless not the lack of an existing return ticket with the failed TO but the fact that the TO is no longer honouring that ticket. Ad hoc arrangements with other carriers will most likely follow, though it might take a while and this can indeed be maddening for the stranded tourists.
 
2014-08-05 04:46:04 PM  

To The Escape Zeppelin!: The Stealth Hippopotamus: I've used a few dozen tourism agents before; I've always gotten all my paper work (ie:plane tickets, tour vouchers) before leaving.

WTF Russia?

Seriously. How were they planning on getting back before? Have the tickets mailed to them while on vacation? If they were to be emailed, why weren't they emailed when they got their departure? Those tickets should have been booked before they left home. All of this implies that the company knew they were going under weeks ago and stopped bothering to book return flights.


My guess is the travel company chartered flights and/or buses.  I did two school trips in Europe where I had no tickets for transport within Europe because we went from city to city on a chartered bus.  If the travel company ran out of money to pay for the bus in the middle, we would have scrambling to plan on how to get to the airport to go home.
 
2014-08-05 04:46:57 PM  

To The Escape Zeppelin!: The Stealth Hippopotamus: I've used a few dozen tourism agents before; I've always gotten all my paper work (ie:plane tickets, tour vouchers) before leaving.

WTF Russia?

Seriously. How were they planning on getting back before? Have the tickets mailed to them while on vacation? If they were to be emailed, why weren't they emailed when they got their departure? Those tickets should have been booked before they left home. All of this implies that the company knew they were going under weeks ago and stopped bothering to book return flights.


My understanding is that these tour operators had booked charter flights. When the tour company goes belly up, they don't pay for the charter flight, and the charter flight doesn't run. So, while the tourist may have a ticket printed for that charter flight, there is no plane for the tourist to get on.
 
2014-08-05 04:48:36 PM  
Who on this planet goes on a trip without their return ticket in hand?!  I've never even heard of that before.
I mean, generally speaking, it's the norm to buy round trip tickets!  It's pretty unusual to buy one way.
 
2014-08-05 04:48:49 PM  
Headline fail, subby.  The Ruble is in a tailspin generally, having very little to do with sanctions and everything to do with their economy sucking wind while the Ukraine business scares off, well, real business. FTA:

"The negative political and economic situation has influenced the number of bookings" and a drop in the value of the ruble "has hit buying power" of Russians, Labirint said in a statement.  Tour firms which had reserved a large number of seats on charter flights found themselves in difficulty when demand dropped.  Tourism officials said Labirint had built up a debt of 1.4 billion rubles ($39 million, 29 million euros) owed to the unit of national airline Aeroflot, which carried its clients.
 While Western sanctions have yet to have a significant direct impact on the Russian economy, the Ukraine crisis and the threat of punitive measures has hit the value of the ruble, which has slid by 11 percent from a peak last September, and clouded sentiment.  Even before the Ukraine crisis, economic growth had nearly stalled and the country was threatening to fall into recession."


As you would have seen later in the article, if you had read it, the tour operators are barely above pyramid scheme class in their finances and when the Ruble took a dump, so did their entire model.

/still fascinating to read, even if subby didn't
 
2014-08-05 04:50:05 PM  
This kind of thing happens not infrequently in Europe when a tour operator fails, as explained by several posters now. Does this never happen in the US?
 
2014-08-05 04:51:41 PM  

pjkraatz: As you would have seen later in the article, if you had read it, the tour operators are barely above pyramid scheme class in their finances and when the Ruble took a dump, so did their entire model.


And just barely related to this in terms of being tourism, the beaches in Crimea took a massive hit with Ukrainians staying away this year and Russia was basically paying people to go there and having a hard time getting them over there being forced to use boats.
 
2014-08-05 04:57:16 PM  

Eutychus: This kind of thing happens not infrequently in Europe when a tour operator fails, as explained by several posters now. Does this never happen in the US?


Never.  That's why we're better than you.

Just kidding.  I think vacations by charter tours are less common in the US compared to vacations where your travel is on common carriers (particularly for flights).  So, even though I'm sure TOs fail, you don't hear as much about it.  Although there are some pretty shady TOs that send kids down to Cancun every year.
 
2014-08-05 04:57:18 PM  

Eutychus: This kind of thing happens not infrequently in Europe when a tour operator fails, as explained by several posters now. Does this never happen in the US?


I think the biggest difference is that leisure charter flights are SO much more common over there than here in the USA.
 
2014-08-05 04:57:40 PM  

Eutychus: This kind of thing happens not infrequently in Europe when a tour operator fails, as explained by several posters now. Does this never happen in the US?


The industry here exists but doesn't dominate the way it did at the dawn of air travel.  "Tours" are more common for groups, like students (e.g., EF Tours) then they are for regular folks.  Even travel agents are harder to find.  It's just too easy to buy a ticket online, fly 2000 miles and get out to explore on your own.  Alternately, tours are for when you get there; you hire a tour company to drive you around or guide you through a site.  All-inclusive tours here aren't as common, it would seem.
 
2014-08-05 05:02:19 PM  
In capitalist Russia, uh, something, tickets ...
 
2014-08-05 05:02:47 PM  
Well, I never knew that.

Here there are entire airlines (such as Air Méditerrannée) that seem to operate almost exclusively for TOs (although you can buy regular tickets on them if any seats are left over). I often wonder what they do with their fleet out of season.
 
2014-08-05 05:05:25 PM  

pjkraatz: Eutychus: This kind of thing happens not infrequently in Europe when a tour operator fails, as explained by several posters now. Does this never happen in the US?

The industry here exists but doesn't dominate the way it did at the dawn of air travel.  "Tours" are more common for groups, like students (e.g., EF Tours) then they are for regular folks.  Even travel agents are harder to find.  It's just too easy to buy a ticket online, fly 2000 miles and get out to explore on your own.  Alternately, tours are for when you get there; you hire a tour company to drive you around or guide you through a site.  All-inclusive tours here aren't as common, it would seem.


Yep, travel agencies are a dying business in the US. Since charter flights are so rare agencies were mostly putting packages together from separate sources and the agent organized and booked everything separate. But since the internet people can just do that themselves. Maybe someone can confirm it but it seems that sites like travelocity or orbitz aren't nearly as common in Europe.
 
2014-08-05 05:09:36 PM  

MooseBayou: In capitalist Russia, uh, something, tickets ...


www.adeptpage.com
more like uh, something rockets.
 
2014-08-05 05:10:14 PM  
pjkraatz:  It's just too easy to buy a ticket online, fly 2000 miles and get out to explore on your own.

Missed this. I hate organised tours, but here it can be way cheaper to buy an all-in charter deal including return flight, hotel, and in some cases meals, than step on a regular carrier (before you've even booked a hotel etc.).

Another great attraction for me (living in provincial France) is that in summer, TOs fly to lots of destinations from regional airports that are not served at any other time of year. I much prefer a small, relatively local airport to the hassle of a huge hub and probably spending a night in an airport hotel in Paris to be sure of catching the flight.

Once on-site we typically take an official excursion on day one to get the lie of the land and then find a hire car and escape.
 
2014-08-05 05:17:59 PM  

To The Escape Zeppelin!: The Stealth Hippopotamus: I've used a few dozen tourism agents before; I've always gotten all my paper work (ie:plane tickets, tour vouchers) before leaving.

WTF Russia?

Seriously. How were they planning on getting back before? Have the tickets mailed to them while on vacation? If they were to be emailed, why weren't they emailed when they got their departure? Those tickets should have been booked before they left home. All of this implies that the company knew they were going under weeks ago and stopped bothering to book return flights.


You don't know how charter companies work.

That's OK, people seem to have a problem with the concept. Maybe it doesn't exist outside of Europe?

---

You purchase a travel at the charter company. The charter company charters a plane, and rents a hotel, flies you down there, and then they charter a plane to fly you back.

What do you need a plane ticket for? Nothing.

Except, if the charter company goes bust, and doesn't charter a plane, in which case you're stuck.

---

In Western Europe, the charter companies all pay in to an insurance, which means that if one charter company goes bust, the remainder of the charter companies ensures that bills are paid for your stay at the hotel, and for your return.

Obviously they get more business like this, because taking a charter is safe.
 
2014-08-05 05:18:38 PM  
In Soviet Russia... Tour takes YOU!
 
2014-08-05 05:19:44 PM  

durbnpoisn: Who on this planet goes on a trip without their return ticket in hand?!  I've never even heard of that before.
I mean, generally speaking, it's the norm to buy round trip tickets!  It's pretty unusual to buy one way.


It's a charter company, look it up.
 
2014-08-05 05:20:09 PM  
What I am getting out of this Eutychus is that European airlines are willing to give a discount for bulk sales of seats and hotels will do the same.  I do not know if that happens in America, but I assume that it does not.  Also perhaps Americans don't like a travel agency sticking them to an itinerary.
 
2014-08-05 05:20:21 PM  
grumpycat_good.jpg
 
2014-08-05 05:20:42 PM  
That's inhumane... To expose those poor countries to Russian tourists any longer than needed.
 
2014-08-05 05:25:37 PM  

Eutychus: Well, I never knew that.

Here there are entire airlines (such as Air Méditerrannée) that seem to operate almost exclusively for TOs (although you can buy regular tickets on them if any seats are left over). I often wonder what they do with their fleet out of season.


Many vacations in the US involve simply driving for extended periods of time, with the occasional stop at locations that strike your fancy.  Flying can be very expensive, and it often might be cheaper to just drive.  Also, most of our cities have terrible public transportation, so if you don't have a car of your own you'll have limited options for exploration.
 
2014-08-05 05:26:21 PM  

Panty Sniffer: What I am getting out of this Eutychus is that European airlines are willing to give a discount for bulk sales of seats and hotels will do the same.  I do not know if that happens in America, but I assume that it does not.  Also perhaps Americans don't like a travel agency sticking them to an itinerary.


There's no itinerary involved.

What happends is that the travel agency has a menu, where you select your date, destination and hotel.

And that's it. They don't give a fark what you're doing at your destination. All they do is to drive you to and from your hotel, and fly you back and forth.

---

That is btw. how I travel. Since the tour operators charter a whole plane, and often a whole hotel, they'll often end up not selling every seat/room on the plane/hotel. But they'll be paying for the whole thing anyway.

So when I travel, I go down to the tour operator, and ask them what they've got.

Last time I got an all inclusive 14 day stay in Mallorca for 300USD. :)
 
2014-08-05 05:26:33 PM  
I just finished booking almost the exact trip to Spain that I saw on a tour operator site, but booked the flight, hotel, car rental, airport parking all separately, saved about £200.00 in the process, got a extra night and am flying during sociable hours instead of red-eye.  As an added bonus, it looks like there will be fewer Russians when I get there.  Yay, internet!
 
2014-08-05 05:26:39 PM  

Fank: fu)ck russia


I used to remember when the Republicans hated the Russians so much, they blackballed anyone even associated with them.

These days, if you don't love the Russian leader, you're a RINO.
 
2014-08-05 05:28:42 PM  

Panty Sniffer: What I am getting out of this Eutychus is that European airlines are willing to give a discount for bulk sales of seats and hotels will do the same.  I do not know if that happens in America, but I assume that it does not.  Also perhaps Americans don't like a travel agency sticking them to an itinerary.


They don't really happen within the USA, but they do exist from the USA to the Caribbean.  The biggest ones are http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacation_express  and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apple_Vacations.
 
2014-08-05 05:31:10 PM  

Panty Sniffer: What I am getting out of this Eutychus is that European airlines are willing to give a discount for bulk sales of seats and hotels will do the same.  I do not know if that happens in America, but I assume that it does not.  Also perhaps Americans don't like a travel agency sticking them to an itinerary.


Hotels and mini-resorts do seem to be largely bought out in many cases ,yes. Airlines less so: like I say, many TOs seem to rely on dedicated charter airlines or indeed have their own - Thomson Airways being a big one in the UK.

On all the charters I've been on you're committed to the flights (which are often at weird times of day and with exact departure times at late notice) and the accommodation, but not to any itinerary (though you can choose tours with this option too). I don't think I've ever bought a tour through a bricks-and-mortar travel agency, though many (older) people do: TOs also advertise their flights through proprietary websites or on sites like ebookers or lastminute..

Last summer I had date and location constraints that meant I didn't explore the charter option. The alternative ended up being a Ryanair flight to Cyprus from Belgium with a serviced apartment picked following a trawl through TripAdvisor. I had my reasons, but it was more expensive than a charter flight from my local airport.

Then again, I didn't find myself in the same hotel as my neighbours/compatriots.

This year, I returned to my native UK for a holiday and it was easily twice as expensive as a typical charter trip to a sun-drenched Mediterranean island.
 
2014-08-05 05:33:04 PM  
Roughly speaking, to travel without travel agency you need to know the language. Either the language of the country you are traveling to or English.

Knowing English, you may pretty freely move through Europe by yourself.

Unfortunately, a lot of Russians don't know any language other than Russian, so if they'd buy a ticket for themselves, what would they do in a foreign airport? Look for taxi and speak with taxi driver in Russian? What about hotels? Etc.

Thus, Russians are often travel with tour groups, where there is a translator/guide, taking upon himself all the interaction with the outside world, and charter buses, planes, hotels prepared for big Russian groups speaking only Russian, etc.
 
2014-08-05 05:34:29 PM  

nightbringerggz: Eutychus: Well, I never knew that.

Here there are entire airlines (such as Air Méditerrannée) that seem to operate almost exclusively for TOs (although you can buy regular tickets on them if any seats are left over). I often wonder what they do with their fleet out of season.

Many vacations in the US involve simply driving for extended periods of time, with the occasional stop at locations that strike your fancy.  Flying can be very expensive, and it often might be cheaper to just drive.  Also, most of our cities have terrible public transportation, so if you don't have a car of your own you'll have limited options for exploration.


I would add that especially with the beaches, there's less isolation in the USA (and the ability to drive is a big part of that as you mentioned), so airlines can use businesses travelers and snowbirds for more regular scheduling (compare Miami to Mallorca for example).
 
2014-08-05 05:34:53 PM  
spawn73:

That is btw. how I travel. Since the tour operators charter a whole plane, and often a whole hotel, they'll often end up not selling every seat/room on the plane/hotel. But they'll be paying for the whole thing anyway.

So when I travel, I go down to the tour operator, and ask them what they've got.


One of the surreal things about these flights is that to a destination like, say, Turkey, the flight is 95% noisy excited French tourists off on holiday and 5% Turkish migrant workers heading back home for a while, and nobody in between.
 
2014-08-05 05:48:30 PM  

Eutychus: spawn73:

That is btw. how I travel. Since the tour operators charter a whole plane, and often a whole hotel, they'll often end up not selling every seat/room on the plane/hotel. But they'll be paying for the whole thing anyway.

So when I travel, I go down to the tour operator, and ask them what they've got.

One of the surreal things about these flights is that to a destination like, say, Turkey, the flight is 95% noisy excited French tourists off on holiday and 5% Turkish migrant workers heading back home for a while, and nobody in between.


Heh yeah.

Or when you order off-season, the whole hotel is full of weirdos.

Like the 14 day trip I took to Mallorca, that went over the Christmas and Newyears eve.
 
2014-08-05 05:53:30 PM  

Gosling: No no, is not lack of return ticket. No return needed. Home is where heart is, yes? Heart is in your body, therefore you are home now. Pleasure doing the business with you.


I loved this.

/Don't worry, I rinsed it off.
 
2014-08-05 06:01:04 PM  
What's the plan? Russians don't take a dump without a plan.
 
2014-08-05 06:20:01 PM  
When I lived in Russia the GF and I went to Croatia on a trip arranged through a tour company. Went off without a hitch, but we did fly on a chartered flight, not on scheduled flights. Flew on one of these, Tu-204

upload.wikimedia.org

Fairly modern for Russian aviation, but man did that thing creak when it banked. The company that operated the flight, Caucasian Mineral Springs Aviation evidently doesn't exist as a separate entity anymore.
 
2014-08-05 06:21:04 PM  

zerkalo: When I lived in Russia the GF and I went to Croatia on a trip arranged through a tour company. Went off without a hitch, but we did fly on a chartered flight, not on scheduled flights. Flew on one of these, Tu-204

[upload.wikimedia.org image 300x200]

Fairly modern for Russian aviation, but man did that thing creak when it banked. The company that operated the flight, Caucasian Mineral Springs Aviation evidently doesn't exist as a separate entity anymore.


Hell, this may be the plane we flew on:

upload.wikimedia.org
 
2014-08-05 06:23:33 PM  

Panty Sniffer: What I am getting out of this Eutychus is that European airlines are willing to give a discount for bulk sales of seats and hotels will do the same.  I do not know if that happens in America, but I assume that it does not.  Also perhaps Americans don't like a travel agency sticking them to an itinerary.


I don't like being stuck on a plane, bus, and hotels surrounded by other Americans. I've been dragged on tours marketed to Americans in Europe and, no offense to my fellow countrymen intended, I don't to go to Europe to hang out with more Americans.

The other factor might be the lack of currency and language barriers for domestic travel. Most American vacationing is domestic just because the country is big enough to keep that interesting, and it's just really not that hard to make your own arrangements.
 
2014-08-05 06:25:02 PM  
Is it wrong that I think it's actually the second one?
 
2014-08-05 06:27:07 PM  

farkin_Gary: In Soviet Russia... Tour takes YOU!


Read this in Yakov Smirnoff's voice.  I LOL'd
 
2014-08-05 06:32:07 PM  

mjohnson71: Boo_Guy: That's what Russia wants you to think,  those people are actually spies.

West Coast. East Coast. Down here is Mexico. First wave of the attack came in disguised as commercial charter flights same way they did in Afghanistan in '80. Only they were crack Airborne outfits. Now they took these passes in the Rockies.


Awesome, love the reference.
 
2014-08-05 06:34:24 PM  

Skirl Hutsenreiter: Most American vacationing is domestic just because the country is big enough to keep that interesting, and it's just really not that hard to make your own arrangements.


From where I am, Reykjavik and Los Angeles are equidistant.
 
2014-08-05 06:41:20 PM  
Oh, flyink near Ukraine? Only need one way, you will be savink money. Trust us, tovarish.
 
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