A New Zealand couple is out $1,159.83 after booking an airplane tour over the Grand Canyon with a company claiming it never received their reservation.
Peter and Sylvia Thornhill paid for their “dream” trip nine months ago by credit card, scheduling a private charter flight over the West Rim of the national park with Utah Airways, KSL reports.
Prior to the trip, the Thornhills received a confirmation email claiming to be from the company. Peter also called to confirm their reservation on Wednesday, the day before the scheduled flight.
“We double-checked before we left New Zealand. My husband, Peter, rang Utah from home and spoke to somebody who confirmed that the flight was still a go,” Sylvia told KSL.
Once in Utah, when the day of their flight arrived, Dean Olsen with Drive Utah Executive Shuttle took them to the Ogden-Hinckley Airport, but that’s when they realized something was wrong.
“I decided to walk into the airport with them because something felt unsettling. When we walked inside, it was empty. Nobody was there,” Olsen told KSL.
Not only was there no plane waiting for them, the airport confirmed the company wasn’t scheduled to fly at all that day.
Utah Airways co-founder, David Story, told KSL the company has been non-operational for 18 months while they improve their aircrafts, and if anyone books on their website, they refund them immediately.
Olsen thinks the company is scamming people. “This happened two months ago to a Chinese couple who came with one dream to see the Grand Canyon,” he said. “I think this company is targeting people who live out of the country, because they think they have no recourse.”
But Story promises he never received any information from the Thornhills and he doesn’t have their money. “Nobody is being targeted. Why would we do that? Our company mission is to lift and inspire. I really don’t have this couple in my system. I don’t have their money,” he said.
Sylvia said she “couldn’t eat all day” after discovering they’d been scammed. “It was just so disappointing … We spent our entire day in Utah trying to backpedal and fix this mess … My hands were shaking. I was in a delayed shock. I was really looking forward to this, but now it’s just a lost dream.”