Couples sue travel agency for spoiling their honeymoons

By Huang Li-hsiang, Tsai Wei-chi and Jason Pan  /  Staff reporters, with Staff writer

Thu, Oct 11, 2012 - Page 3

Four couples who sued a travel agency for changes to the tour itinerary on their Italian honeymoons were awarded compensation of NT$12,000 each in a court ruling last week.

The four couples were part of a group of 22 travelers, who each paid NT$123,000 for an 11-day honeymoon trip in Italy offered by Huayo MI Travel Co.

After their arrival, things went smoothly for the first six days and on the seventh day they were scheduled to fly from Milan to Napoli.

However, delays at Milan airport prevented them from taking the flight and they were forced instead to take a tour bus from Milan, in the north, to Napoli on the southern coast.

What should have been a brief flight turned into an exhausting 13-hour bus ride.

Because of the long bus ride, the next day the group missed a scheduled sightseeing tour of Pompei and the Amalfi coast. Disappointed, the newlyweds decided to sue the travel agency.

Judges at the Taipei Shilin District Summary Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs in an initial ruling last year. Following an appeal by Huayo MI Travel Co, the second ruling was handed down last week, with the court upholding the original decision, requesting the company compensate each person NT$12,000.

Wu Ming-tsang (吳明蒼), a lawyer for the plaintiffs and himself one of the members of the tour group, said that after the 13-hour bus ride to Napoli, they were not able to visit Pompei and missed out on the scenic Amalfi coast, which he said was billed as one of the 50 must-see sights.

Wu said they were not able to see any of the “beautiful winding coastline and rugged mountains” as promised in the tour brochure, and that they had feared for their safety when the tour bus drove on the narrow coastal roads.

The travel agency had appealed the original ruling, saying it was not at fault, that the group was not able to prove the quality of the tour had been negatively affected and that the problem at the airport was beyond its control.

However, the court ruled against the company’s appeal, in a final decision with no further appeal allowed.