The travel agency Destinos TV has so far spent more than US$500,000 to enable to get 270 people to Russia through regular flights. The agency had sold some 300 all-inclusive travel packages that included a direct (charter) flight from Costa Rica to Russia and back, for the World Cup 2018 games.
The charter flight was scheduled to leave on June 13, to be in Russia in time for the first game of Costa Rica’s national team on June 17. But it didn’t happen, the charter company reneged on its deal, leaving Destinostv to place its customers on scheduled airlines, at higher costs, paying up to US$2,900 per person for a flight when in normal market conditions would cost one third that.
The travel agency said that 270 of the customers did travel to Russia, 31 asked for a refund, said José Cortés, general manager of Destinostv.
Cortés, in an emotional television interview, said the charter company defrauded him. Cortés, before the cameras, held up a photo of Scott Smith, a Canadian who he says defrauded him, selling him on the “avion de los ticos”, a direct flight on a Boeing 777 which then changed to an Airbus 340. And then no airplane at all.
To make good on his customers, Cortés said he was able to recover on Monday, with the help of BAC Credomatic, US$525,000 dollars of the US$ 1 million he paid the charter company in advance and was able to recover another US$1 million from a Venezuelan provider.