Hopper: The Biggest Scam in Travel Booking
I'm a travel agent and self proclaimed "deal queen". I love getting good deals and I pride myself on finding the best travel deals possible.
In November of 2019 I booked my family's first trip to Hawaii for the end of April 2020. I booked an ocean view room at Disney Aulani's Resort and Spa. I immediately entered our travel dates into my Hopper app. If you're not familiar with Hopper, you enter your travel dates and destination and Hopper will notify you when prices on your flights drop.
In mid January while at an ice cream shop with my toddler, my phone started buzzing. It was the notification from Hopper that I had been waiting for. Our flight prices from LAX to Honolulu dropped to just $198 round trip per person on Hawaiian Airlines.
Prices this low are RARE. In the past, I had used Hopper just to research flights and booked directly with airlines. I was so stunned at the prices, that I decided to book directly with Hopper with the fear that I would miss out on the deal (sometimes these prices go as quickly as they pop up) if I fumbled around on the airlines website for too long entering my travel info.
I went to the Hopper app, entered all of our personal info and right before I was about to cash out Hopper asked if I would like to purchase their "Cancel for any reason" insurance. For an extra $65 each way, I decided to take it. My husband travels for work frequently and I took the extra insurance just as a precaution, in case something were to happen and we had to re-schedule out flights..
Fast Forward to the end of March 2020 and BOOM. Covid-19. We all know how this story goes. Our flights were canceled.
I contacted Hopper on March 26th. Of course, you cannot contact them by phone (NOT helpful). Initially, I could not contact them by email either. I had to fill out a form with my confirmation number, name, and all the jazz.
Fast forward to almost 2 weeks later and I get this email from Hopper:
Ummm....EXCUSE ME?! You can't refund me? And the airline can't refund me? So now I need to reach out to the airline?? As a travel agent I have worked with a lot of travel companies, and this was just SO absurd to me. I contacted Hawaiian Airlines and sure enough they told me exactly what I expected: Since I booked with a third party, Hopper was the one that needed to contact them to cancel our flights and they were not blocking them from doing so.
After responding to that email, I got another email from Hopper that I would be refunded in "airline credits" only -- even though I purchased the cancel for any reason insurance. You see, Hopper is sneaky. They added into their terms and conditions AFTER I booked that any cancellations due to Covid-19 would NOT be a valid reason for refund. I wrote them an email back regarding this and haven't heard back.
Fast forward to today (April 15th). I found a Twitter account called Hopper Horror Stories. I noticed quite a few people tweeting that they reached out to their airlines and were advised that the airlines granted Hopper refunds on canceled flights in ACTUAL DOLLAR AMOUNTS and NOT in the form of points. Hopper is NOT passing this money back to their customers as they should.
Here's my online chat with Hawaiian Airlines from tonight:
There you have it. Hopper sent me a bogus email telling me that I would be refunded in airline credits -- that I would likely never use -- when in reality the airline said they refunded me in dollars and NOT points!
I currently have a dispute filed with my credit card company. I have tried to email Hopper back and I got an email stating that they are "no longer checking this email box". So I don't even have a way to contact them at this point in time.
I will update this blog post once I get more info from my bank, and plan on reporting then to the Better Business Bureau. PLEASE learn from my mistake. NEVER book with Hopper.