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More complaints surface about travel agency

Dale Ashton continues his daily sidewalk protest in front of Adventure Travel & Cruise, and the travel agency has changed the message on its sign in response. - Tim Kelly/Staff photo
Dale Ashton continues his daily sidewalk protest in front of Adventure Travel & Cruise, and the travel agency has changed the message on its sign in response.
— image credit: Tim Kelly/Staff photo

A Port Orchard man who endured a problem-filled Christmas vacation to Disneyland has been picketing outside a travel agency since Tuesday, claiming the agency owes him something for all the hassle he and his family went through.

Dale Ashton booked a 7-person, all-inclusive vacation to Disneyland through Adventure Travel & Cruise. He paid more than $5,500 in cash for a package that was supposed to include airfare, hotel stay and four-day passes to Disneyland, but his family ran into problems when they got to the park, he said.

After arriving at Disneyland on Dec. 23, Ashton and his family were told that the park passes that were supposed to be part of the travel package had not been purchased. Also, he found out that only four of the seven airline tickets had been booked for a return flight to Seattle on Dec. 27. Ashton paid $1,931 to get both problems resolved, he said.

Ashton said Adventure Travel & Cruise did reimburse him for his out-of-pocket expenses, but his family's lost time and his hassles dealing with the travel agency were not accounted for, he claimed. He thinks travel agent Launa Bluhm did not book all the flight and hotel reservations and purchase the Disneyland passes when he paid for the package well in advance, and he plans to picket outside the business until proper restitution is delivered.

"I call my experience the 'travel agency who stole Christmas,'" he said.

Bluhm, who has owned and operated Adventure Travel & Cruise for 25 years, admitted the Disneyland snafu was her travel agency's error due to purchasing the passes with a credit card. But she said all seven return flight tickets for the group had been booked. She said the airline might have been unable to find the reservations when Ashton called, and then they were canceled when he bought three additional tickets.

Ashton said he was unable to get the three tickets for the same flight on which the other four family members were booked, resulting in his young grandsons being on a different flight from their parents.

Bluhm said she felt bad that so many things went wrong on the family's vacation, and that she would like to reach an agreement with Ashton on some compensation for the troubled trip. But she said Ashton was very aggressive when he came to the travel agency last week and demanded a refund of $2,200.

Detective E.J. Martin with the Port Orchard Police Department said Ashton recently contacted him regarding his problems with the travel company.

Martin said 8-10 people have contacted him by phone, email or in person with similar complaints about Adventure Travel & Cruise.

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