Khai Lip blogged about his bad experience in detail on what he has to go through to get home. Very detail and amazing. His experience is not the first tho. My seniors went thru such pain. My batchmates and I also did. And so did many people in the following years. Not surprising in the future as well!
Azad has a bad reputation in Nizhniy, but still from time to time people look for him for his very cheap airline tickets. From year to year, people hear ticketing problems and and almost all are associated with Azad. To be fair to Azad, 70-90% of the tickets bought from him are valid and many Malaysians in Nizhniy were able to fly home without problems.
The other 10-30%? If you buy from Azad, you hope you are not in that 10-30% group!
I remember in my first year, when my passport got robbed, it sure did make my travels a lot harder. But as I recall, very little of my problems during travels were associated with the absence of passport (even the immigration lady was lenient on me). All my problems at that time were from Azad and his agent RSMU student, Shahrul – may he live (or die) in peace.
That time (summer 2005), it wasn’t just me. The people who bought tickets from Azad were then my first year batchmates and several seniors. When the expectant flyers heard that the flight tickets for all 50 of them were not ready (despite the planned flight was less than 24 hours), they came all the way from Nizhniy to Azad’s office in Moscow. Everyone yelled at Azad and Shahrul. Everyone was kicking their butts. Embassy was involved. Things were ugly.
Some people got to fly home as planned. Me and some others were stuck for 5 days in Moscow.
We were with Shahrul (the agent) that 5 days. Since he was responsible for ticketing problems, he let us stay with him, he treated us lunch and dinner and all. Nice gesture. But that doesn’t mean I give up USD250 he owes me just like that. Not to mention $$$ he leeched from others who got stuck.
We heard all these notorious stories of Azad. Why not we stop buying from him? Stop trusting him. Stop stalking him and be your own independent travel planner.
Many people already know how excruciating it is to not get the flight tickets even a month before the planned date of departure, especially when it is exam month. Why choose a Azad’s cheap ticket, (I haven’t bought flight ticket from him since then, let’s assume $100 cheaper), when you have to worry every nanosecond the ticket is not in your hand? Even if it is in your hand, can you be sure it is valid? Are you sure your booked flight is already in the airline’s computer system?
Last year, many chose Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) because the flight from Moscow to KL was really cheap, but due to political conflict in Pakistan, all PIA flights were canceled last minute.
Again, is a $100 cheaper so worth it???
Next time, before buying, calculate the risks:
- Do you need to run back and forth to Moscow to kick Azad’s butt every step of the way till you get your tickets?
- Is it worth your studying time during exam month to worry every nanosecond not having the ticket?
- Is there any risk for money to disappear when you deal with Azad and his agents?
- How much of your phone credits are finished because you have to call Azad in Moscow (every 10 minutes for example)?
- Can you be so sure that the flight price will not go up last minute due to Azad’s poor management of your ticket?
Can you even save a single buck buying flight tickets from Azad?
I don’t plan to take down his business (or his agents’). But if it gets down, I am really glad.
How about the agents? Sounds cool tho. A.G.E.N.T. Not cool to me. I pity them. They always get all the blames for Azad’s mismanagement. Maybe at some point they also mismanaged. Probably they took the money for personal purposes. How do these people sleep at night?
I advise everyone to stop buying flight tickets from Azad and his agents. But if you still want to, it’s up to you. As long as your stupidity doesn’t affect me in any way, you can buy Azad if you wish. Don’t say you haven’t been warned with all the notorious stories.
If want to buy tickets, buy from agents in Malaysia or the airline offices in Moscow, Kuala Lumpur or any other cities. There are even several trusted travel agents in Nizhniy Novgorod. Not cheap, but at least it is less likely that your souls will be eaten alive (by Azad).