Elderly cleaner left in the lurch after travel agency closure gets help to fly to Hokkaido

Madam Teo Ino Meo (in yellow) was supposed to leave for Hokkaido on Monday (Dec 5) when her travel agent shuttered its doors.
Madam Teo Ino Meo (in yellow) was supposed to leave for Hokkaido on Monday (Dec 5) when her travel agent shuttered its doors. ST PHOTO: ARIFFIN JAMAR

SINGAPORE - Cleaner Teo Ino Meo, 68, will soon fulfil her dream of seeing snow for the first time.

Online travel agency Klook and budget carrier Scoot are collaborating to send Madam Teo to Hokkaido after her holiday plans went awry when travel agent Sky Travel & Tours shuttered its doors on Monday (Dec 5).

The sudden closure left the widow, who paid $2,400 for a week-long Hokkaido tour, and other Sky Travel customers in the lurch.

Madam Teo had learnt hours before her flight on Monday that the tour would not proceed through a text message the agency allegedly sent to its customers.

When the team at Klook read about her plight they decided to help her, said social media and content manager Beatrice Lee, 25.

"We're in the travel business and it is within our power to help," she said.

"What more it's holiday season and this poor woman got her holiday stolen from her."

 
 

Klook will be meeting Madam Teo and her travel companion Madam Beh Choon Ann, 80, on Friday to discuss details of the trip.

Said Miss Lee: "Nothing is concrete yet, but we do want to give Madam Teo and her friend a good break."

Madam Teo had saved up for months before deciding to travel to Japan to experience snow for the first time.

Scoot will also chip in to fly the elderly women to Hokkaido.

The airline's spokesman said: "We were excited to come on board when Klook approached us to fly (Madam Teo) to Hokkaido to realise her dream of enjoying a well-deserved vacation there."

Scoot is also offering a 20 per cent discount on flights to Hokkaido for those registered on the same tour as Madam Teo, using the promotional code SUREFLY, which is valid until Dec 11.

Another reader who was so moved by the cleaner's plight was business owner Julia Lee, 32, who intends to start a crowdfunding campaign to settle accommodation for the trip.

She suggested raising funds for the elderly woman in a comment on The Straits Times Facebook page on Wednesday (Dec 7), and has received over 100 requests from people interested to contribute.

She added: "We plan to raise about $4,000 but we're still ironing out the details; Madam Teo doesn't want to handle cash and we also want to be as transparent as possible.

"We'll work something out so we can fulfil her dreams."

In a statement on Tuesday, the Singapore Tourism Board said a Notice of Revocation of Travel Agency Licence had been served on Sky Travel.

As of Thursday, the Consumers Association of Singapore (Case) said it has received 13 complaints about the closure of Sky Travel.