Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 15 November 2019

Dubai theme park says fans misunderstood free flights offer

A summer promotion falls flat for some who bought IMG Worlds of Adventure tickets for a cheap getaway

Residents who bought admission tickets to MG Worlds of Adventure theme park complained they were unable to redeem free airline tickets in some cases. Antonie Robertson / The National
Residents who bought admission tickets to MG Worlds of Adventure theme park complained they were unable to redeem free airline tickets in some cases. Antonie Robertson / The National

Theme park visitors who say they lost out on a free-flights promotion misunderstood the offer, the park said.

The IMG Worlds of Adventure promotion allowed customers who bought an admission ticket for Dh299 to receive a guaranteed, free round-trip flight for a number of destinations.

Hundreds signed up, but not everyone was able to cash in their free flight after struggling to navigate the terms in the offer.

The park said customers failed to follow instructions or read the deal’s terms to receive a voucher to exchange for an airline ticket.

“There are a number of terms and conditions that must strictly be followed to redeem a flight ticket,” said Lennard Otto, chief executive of IMG Worlds of Adventure.

“Where a customer does not follow the correct processes, issues can arise.

“Our third-party partner and our own team at IMG are working hard to help guide any customers where needed and resolve any issues.”

Lennard Otto is the chief executive of IMG Worlds of Adventure. Antonie Robertson / The National
Lennard Otto is the chief executive of IMG Worlds of Adventure. Antonie Robertson / The National

Some of the terms and conditions included travellers being unable to choose their specific destination, the flight time or the airline.

Instead, they were sent a link where they had to choose three possible destinations from 21 options.

The offer could only be redeemed once the buyer had indicated their preferred dates and they had to do this within 48 hours of being sent the registration link. Free economy flights were limited to two per customer, but if four tickets were bought a discount of 50 per cent applied.

Airport fees and taxes still had to be paid, but were capped at Dh99 and no changes could be made after an offer had been accepted. One disgruntled customer spent almost Dh600 on tickets, but said that after following the offer’s detailed online instructions, he found his flight deal had expired.

Others encountered similar problems, but IMG said it had contacted each customer experiencing difficulties to solve their issues.

“My friends said it was too good to be true, and guess what, it was,” one customer said on Facebook. “I was told I had 48 hours to accept [the flight] and book after receiving the email. I opened the message 12 hours after receiving the flight offer, clicked the link provided but the offer had expired.”

The offer was heavily promoted online, on billboards in Dubai and on local radio from July 14 throughout August. Destinations including Beirut, Manila, Kiev and Cairo were made available under the offer.

The most popular free flight tickets requested were to Athens, Istanbul, Baku, Colombo and Mumbai, IMG said.

The company said hundreds of customers had already booked free fights, and those experiencing problems were in the minority.

The promotion was offered by a European third-party company specialising in airline deals.

“Our partner has done similar programmes successfully with some of the top companies in the UAE, Europe and other parts of the world,” Mr Otto said.

“As specified on the IMG website, the offer is provided by the service provider who has the requisite processes to service the redemption of tickets.

“There have been many successful redemptions of flight tickets.”

IMG Worlds of Adventure, on Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Road near Arabian Ranches, opened in 2016.

Updated: September 5, 2019 06:18 PM

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