The internet is a fine thing.
You open the page Swoodoo.com, a meta search engine for flights, type in the departure and destination airport, the desired travel date and the machine spits out a number of booking options.
I was looking for a flight from Venice to Frankfurt at short notice because the trains were so unreliable that every traveler had to worry about being stranded somewhere.
Flying also saves time, and every minute in Venice is precious.
So I booked a one-way ticket via Kiwi.com, paid 359 euros via PayPal, installed the Kiwi app and received a booking confirmation via SMS.
But where was my ticket?
It didn't show up in my email inbox or on the app.
At some point I went to sleep.
I only had one night in Venice, my return flight was booked for the following evening.
In the morning, when the sun bathed the lagoon in soft light: still no ticket.
Call the hotline.
Queue, the usual.
At some point there was actually a person on the other end of the line.
"We haven't received the money yet," said the man kindly.
"Having problems with your account?" I haven't had any problems with my account.
I asked: "Are you having problems?" He comforted me.
Patience, he'll get back to you.
“I advise everyone against this company”
Time passed and the streets came to life.
On the Internet I read little reassuring about Kiwi victims: "absolutely dubious", "I advise everyone not to use this company!!", "really bad association".
The man from the Kiwi hotline called back.
"We haven't received your money.
I can't help you.” In moments like this, you have two choices: freak out, or book a new flight and do some boating.
I chose the latter.
I would go to battle with Kiwi upon my return.
I absorbed Venice and flew back late in the evening.
This time I hadn't booked through kiwi.com.
PayPal offers buyers the opportunity to contact the seller to resolve a dispute.
Unfortunately, big companies like to wear down their small opponents by saying the same thing over and over again.
Kiwi suddenly unwound a new record: I would have received the ticket.
The ticket is unfortunately non-refundable, "unfortunately".
I disagreed, argued, appealed.
It went back and forth for a while with no agreement.
Now the buyer protection from PayPal was in demand.
I put the case in the hands of the online payment service.
A few days ago I received an email: "The case has been decided in your favor." Shower of confetti.
Sometimes justice wins after all.
Just don't give in too early.