Beware of Jawala Travels (NYC)
Posted May 9, 2004
Vaisnavas, Beware of Jawala Travels & Tours, Inc. (NYC Travel Agent)
Please accept my humble obeisances. All Glories to Srila Prabhupada and all those surrendered souls who continue to carry on his divine mission!
I am posting my experience of bad connections as a warning for other Vaisnavas making travel plans to Mother India.
I purchased a round trip ticket from LA to New Delhi from Rekha Mudgil at Jawala Travels & Tours, Inc. to leave on 12/24/2003 and return on 3/13/2004. The airlines involved were China Airlines and Air India from LA to New Delhi and Indian Airlines and China Airlines returning from New Delhi to LA.
Upon arriving in Hong Kong, China Airlines reps informed me that I was not on the Air India list of passengers to New Delhi. Several hours later Air India reps informed me that stand-by was past full and that this would be the situation for the next few days. Since the airline was on heightened security due to the George Bush war, I could not leave the airport -- no one reenters without a confirmed seat. Luckily, China Airlines issued me a temporary permit so that I could enter the main tourist area to eat. After more deliberation I purchased a ticket from Cathay Pacific Airlines for over $600 (HKD $4642) to complete my trip to India the following morning.
After sleeping on the floor of the airport for a few hours, I called Rekha Mudgil after her office opened. She promptly scolded me for having purchased another ticket and suggested that I remain in Hong Kong to fight it out with Air India.
At the Air India office in New Delhi a rep informed me that my name was not in the system and faulted my travel agent. At the China Airlines office, the reps gave me a hard copy of their correspondence with Jawala Travels and pointed out several discrepancies suggesting that the travel agent had not properly confirmed all of my seats.
When I returned to the States in mid March, I telephoned Rekha Mudgil and tried to discuss my case with her. She was short, rude and argumentative. At one point she told me that I was lucky that Air India had made proper hotel arrangements at the Hong Kong airport. (I'm not sure where she got this idea.) When I reminded her of our conversation from the Hong Kong airport in which it was obvious that there were no such accommodations, she hung up on me. Mudgil has not since E-mailed or apologized to rectify this situation.
These are the cold facts. Copies of my tickets (China Airlines and Cathay Pacific) and a full itinerary issued by China Airlines are also available. I have already spent too much of my devotional time trying to rectify the incompetent and devious behavior of Jawala Travels and don't have the patience to pursue it much further. I can at least warn other Vaisnavas to be aware of this questionable travel agent and not to waste Laksmi by supporting this company.
For the future I have learned that one must call every airline involved in an itinerary to be certain that the seats actually exist and that the travel agent has actually done their job. Up until this time I had been under the impression that once a ticket was purchased from a travel agent, the seats were guaranteed. Obviously not.
I hope this letter saves other Vaisnavas from wasted devotional time and money.
Devadeva Jagatpate db
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