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Orbitz Airline Tickets

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Worst Airline Purchase/Flying Experience Of My Life
Posted by on
I booked an international flight on Orbitz 5 months before my actual trip. About a month after I booked and PAID FOR the ticket, I got an email from Orbitz saying there had been a change to my itinerary. When I called customer service, they informed me of my new flight times. Only after I questioned the new flight numbers did they realize they were giving me flight numbers for an entirely different airline. I told her that this was not the airline I booked, and she told said oh, we forgot to ticket you on the original flight you booked so we switched you onto these flights on this airline. I was OK with it as I was now on direct flights in lieu of stopovers, but found it pretty incredible that they could just forget to ticket you after you've booked and actually paid for a ticket. So I received an updated confirmation email, with ticket number, confirmation number for the airline, and updated flight information, as well as a reminder email with all of this information before my trip.

When I went to to check in the evening of my flight, the lady at the ticket counter told me that while I had a confirmation number, I didn't have a ticket as I'd never actually been "reticketed" for my flight. I was obviously very confused as the charge had gone through on my card 4 months before, and I didn't know how I could be "re" ticketed when this was the only ticket I'd ever had. upon calling Orbitz from the airport, now an hour and a half before my flight, the customer service representative put me on hold for 10 minutes before returning to the phone and telling me that what had actually happened was that the original flight I'd booked had been cancelled by the airline, and the new airline agreed to take on all of the passengers from that original flight. and that it had been my responsibility to call the original airline and have them reticket me for the new flight. she told me my only option at this point would be to go to the ticket counter for my original airline, get them to reticket me, then come back to the new airline, and check in.

first I explained that I was told I'd never even been on the original flight that I booked, so how on earth would I have ever known to call them to get reticketed. then I explained how it was now an hour and a half before my flight, and that there was no way that I was going to make it back to their counter in a different terminal to get reticketed, come back, check in and get through security on time. to which she replied "Well then in that case, you would miss your flight". She had no one other bit of advice or apology for what was going on. Thus I asked to speak to a supervisor, as my flight time was now getting closer and closer. The supervisor got on after a few minutes, and told me the exact same thing that the previous woman had told me. When I responded again that there was no way I could do that, she huffed and with a major attitude asked to speak to the woman I was with at the ticket counter.

at this point the woman at the ticket counter put me on the phone with the original airline, while she took the call from the Orbitz supervisor. After a moment while the airline I was on the phone with was telling me there were no more seats available on the flight I was meant to be on, the woman at the ticket counter handed the phone back to me basically saying the Orbitz representative had just said the same thing she said to me, to her, and was of no help whatsoever. I took the call back and told the Orbitz representative I was going to get myself rebooked (since they were obviously not going to help me do so), and that Orbitz could cover the difference in whatever ticket I had to book, at which point she told me oh no they would not, and they were not responsible in any way shape or form. At this point I hung up and didn't bother with them anymore, and the original airline helped me get booked on alternate flights. I ended up leaving for my vacation a full day later.

I contacted customer service the next day, each person that I spoke to giving me a different story about what happened and why they were not responsible. I wrote a long note to customer service on the website, and after 2 weeks of not hearing from anyone, I went back on and said that I was going to write all about my experience on travel sites if nobody got back to me. Of course then they write me back, saying they were sorry and offering me $100 credit to use on Orbitz. I said this wouldn't even cover the cost of the transportation to and from the airport twice. She then offered $150, after I forwarded her copies of all the confirmations I'd received from Orbitz concerning my original flight. Still not satisfied as they had not taken any sort of responsibility for what happened, despite offering the credit, I refused and basically said please explain to me how you are not responsible. at this point they offered me $200 to be charged back to my credit card or a credit on Orbitz, which was not even a quarter of the cost of the ticket that I booked, and never even got to use. they also included a note saying that was their last offer and they would no longer be responding to me. I asked them to charge my card back and that I would never be using Orbitz again.

I would suggest never using orbtiz, ever. book directly through the hotel or airline, or use a trustworthy site with some sort of customer service department that respects their customers.
     
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snowmanvt on 2010-01-19:
What an experience...the take-away from your complaint is one every consumer should know: go directly to the vendor (airline, hotel, rental car)for reservations, do not use a third-party site.
You will usually do as well cost-wise and if anything goes wrong there is just one party to make things right and accept responsibility.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Stay away from Orbitz!
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
I just used Orbitz for the first and last time in booking a round trip flight to Disney in Orlando. They misspelled my last name but got the other members in my family correct. With TSA security these days - the boarding pass needs to have your name as it appears on your ID. The dope at Orbitz proceeded to tell me I misspelled my own name but that he'd 'try and help me out'.

After 90 minutes (no exaggeration) the night before my flight, I finally got a new boarding pass printed out with my correct name - for only getting there. As a result, I did not have time to adequately pack and left some items at home which led to spending extra money for items there - $90 worth. I then tried calling Orbitz during vacation for same thing - get my name changed so I can come home with my family. That dope informed me that 'all the gate agents went home for the evening' even though we did this much later the first time before I left. That was another wasted 30 minutes.

Luckily the resort I was staying at had a TSA agent for resort check-in and he told me this happens sometimes with people getting married / changing names, long names leading to letters being cut off, etc. So I decided to not call Orbitz a 3rd time and waste more time away from enjoying vacation and just worked it out at the airport - took a little more time, but much easier than spending hours on the phone with Orbitz.

Orbitz also charged a $28 fee for arranging the flights. I will never use them again for the reasons above and as another reviewer pointed out, they cannot lock your seats in and if you're traveling with small children, you do not want them sitting alone. I will gladly spend more money next time and book direct with an airline.
     
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Ben There on 2012-09-08:
If you booked online then you probably did spell your own name wrong unfortunately. If you did it over the phone then Orbitz could have had a hand in it too.
bob932304 on 2012-09-08:
When you go through a 3rd party you do not get the same service as you do as if you book directly with the airlines. They know that your purchased 'discount' tickets.
Sinead on 2012-10-15:
Just putting my experience in, I booked in my maiden name knowing that's what my passport stated and because my Orbitz account was in my married name the computer changed my ticket into my married name without my consent I am currently battling with Orbitz customer service to reissue my tickets (after having paid them $50 for the name correction even though they admitted it was their fault). Airline are stating happy to reissue its Orbitz that are dragging their feet. The concequence I will be unable to get the appropriate visas for my trip if they don't hurry up at this point in time really think people should avoid Orbitz
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Lying About Refunding Me My Money
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
Orbitz has the WORST customer service department, and they completely ROBBED $1400 from me. I purchased my ticket in September of 2012 to go to Brazil. Due to extenuating circumstances, I was unable to go and I had to cancel my ticket about 2 months later. Mind you this was still 4 months before my scheduled flight.

I contacted customer service and asked to cancel my flight, which they did and they mentioned I will be changed $250 cancellation fee, despite buying the cancellation insurance". Later during that conversation I was told I had to contact COPA airlines to get my refund;. And when I contacted COPA they bounced me back to Orbitz..

Needless to say this back and forth bouncing went on for about 3 months, where I call either companie and would have to wait an average of 30-40 minutes (with Copa Id wait for more than an hour), be transferred between 3-4 agents till finally someone would speak with me, and finally I'm told that I should call the other company?.

Finally I decided to write to Orbitz' claims department.. After a number of emails (about 2 weeks) they said they will refund me my money, and this should take a few business days.. I mentioned to them that the CHASE CC which I bought the ticket with has been cancelled, and I would need the money to be refunded back to me in a different way|. They replied, "we can not do that, we can only refund the CC which you bought your ticket with. Don't worry, banks still have your information and will send you your money."

I waited about 2 weeks, then I called chase CC, which denied receiving anything from Orbitz. I asked them to send me all my CC statements, detailing every transaction with them. I also ran my credit report with both TransUnion and Equifax. The last transaction I had my statement was 4 months before Orbitz alleged their refund occurring. And the credit reports showed the LAST ACTIVITY on that account was also AT LEAST 4 MONTHS prior their alleged "transfer".

I shared all these documents with Orbitz customer service, and they STILL allege that they did the transfer, and I need to go figure it out on my own. They said they needed the May 2013 CC statement (the month of the alleged transfer), I pointed out to them the Chase document (dated June 2013) had ALL transactions that were made on that credit card. And the reports proof there are no activities on that account.

Despite sharing with them my most private information to proof my case to them, they refuse to give me what is rightfully mine, my money.

Do yourself a favor - save yourself the headache that I have been going through the past 7 months, and STAY AWAY FROM ORBITZ.
     
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Charlotte on 2013-06-27:
Hello,

My name is Charlotte, and I am part of the Orbitz Customer Relations Team. We want to learn more about your experience so that we can address the issue. Please email us at socialnetwork@orbitz.com and enter my name in the subject line, so that I can investigate further.

Thank you for your patience, and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,

Charlotte
Orbitz Customer Relations
Chicago, IL
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Why is this even legal?
Posted by on
LANCASTER, CALIFORNIA -- My mother had a hip replacement, in Illinois. I live in southern California. I bought a round-trip ticket on an American Airlines flight, THROUGH ORBITZ.COM, from Los Angeles to St. Louis, knowing well at the time of purchase that I might need to change the date on which I used it.

Before buying the ticket, I carefully reviewed the Orbitz Terms and Conditions Web page, and even went so far as to send an email to their customer service department asking them to verify via return email that the ticket I was purchasing could be applied as a credit should I need to change the travel dates. I received a return email - which I still have - verifying for me that I would, in fact, be able to do so. So I bought the ticket.

I did not use the ticket on the original travel dates, and upon contacting Orbitz to book a new flight and use the credit, I was told that since I hadn't "cancelled" the ticket by calling Orbitz or the airline, I had forfeited it entirely. The agent said it "varied from airline to airline" as to whether they would honor credits for tickets that had not been officially "cancelled" anywhere. The fact that Orbitz could not change my ticket for credit was specifically due, that first Orbitz agent said, to an American Airlines policy, not Orbitz's.

I then called American Airlines, only to be told by the AA agent that they would not be able to honor the ticket because it was an Orbitz policy that prevented doing so. I called Orbitz AGAIN, explained the situation, and the female agent (who, while polite enough, was impossible to understand because of a heavy accent) said she would call AA herself and intervene. She seemed particularly interested in the name of the AA agent that had told me the Orbitz policy prevented a reissue, and reiterated several times that if I'd had the AA agent's name, it would have helped the situation. (Why that is an issue, I'm still not sure, but be assured that I'll never again forget to get that information.)

So the Orbitz agent put me on hold, came back some time later to get from me the flight information for the new AA flights I wanted to book, and put me on hold again. After another long wait, she came back on and said she'd nearly had the ticket booked but the AA agent had hung up on her, as if that was some sort of explanation - for what, I don't know. And so I said, "Well, okay. So call AA back then. I'll wait."

Wait I did, even longer this time, only to have her finally return and say a NEW AA agent was unwilling to make the change, and did I want to talk to directly to AA? Furious, I then asked to speak to the Orbitz woman's supervisor and got a rude, infuriating jerk named Marcella, who essentially blew me off. I asked him to a) show me specifically on the Orbitz Terms and Conditions page where ANY of this business of, depending on the airline, being required to "cancel" a flight appeared (it did not; nothing even close); and b) to consider what it must be like to be in my shoes and hear first, from Orbitz, that the problem was an AA policy, then, from AA, that it was an Orbitz policy, and THEN that the rebooking had "almost" taken place only to be abruptly ended by someone at AA mysteriously hanging up on the Orbitz agent trying to handle my problem.

My complaint, specifically, is this: Why is this sort of B.S. even legal? If, when buying a ticket on Orbitz.com, it "varies from airline to airline" as to whether or not a credit will be issued for an unused ticket, depending on whether either either Orbitz OR the airline has been contacted by the ticket buyer to cancel the original travel dates, then why the hell doesn't it SAY THAT someplace obvious when you're buying a damned ticket? In my case, I had gone to some lengths - verifying the Orbitz Terms and Conditions, requesting an email verification - to be certain that the ticket would be reusable because the situation involved my mother and her post-surgery condition. Had I known I needed to actually "cancel" the ticket, by phone, email or any other means, I most certainly would have done so. I was certainly prepared to pay the $100+ in charges to change the ticket - why would I not have done whatever formal "cancellation" notification was required?

Moreover, I had a very similar experience in 2006 - again due to my elderly mother's health - involving Orbitz and an Alaska Airlines ticket that I didn't use and didn't do anything to formally "cancel," and the credit was accepted on a rebooking by Alaska Airlines without issue.

So. Why is this sort of ambiguity permitted? Why is Orbitz not required by law to clearly state in easily locatable terms that the circumstances surrounding a ticket's exchangeability (if there is such a word) vary SIGNIFICANTLY from airline to airline? And why a gray area in whether or not an exchange goes forward, depending on which airline agent or which Orbitz agent the latter's customer-service-line lottery decides will be dealing with you?

This should be a simple matter of stating basic contract terms on the Orbitz Web page. Among the first rude comments I heard from that Orbitz jerk Marcella was that I should look at my bank statement and see that Orbitz hadn't sold me the ticket - that the ticket charges came from American Airlines, not Orbitz. Why was he so quick to want to point THAT out?

This whole thing has been beyond unacceptable and I cannot believe there aren't regulations somewhere that would prevent this sort of robbery. I am out $401.69 and seemingly have no recourse, anywhere. I never asked for a refund, only a rebooking in the EXACT same dollar amount on AA, and was fully prepared to pay the usurious change fees without question.

Is there NO way to make the damned airline ticket-buying process a transparent, fair and legal one on Orbitz.com?
     
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Anonymous on 2007-08-31:
You never bothered to cancel? I don't think you will win this one.
tnchuck100 on 2007-08-31:
Orbitz is a mess as can be seen by the many complaints on this site. But, in this case if you did not cancel the ticket it was simply a "no show" at the air lines. You cannot recover. It was your negligence. Sorry.
Anonymous on 2007-08-31:
This is just another example why people need to deal with the airlines and hotels directly.

Don’t use these man-in-the-middle places.
jktshff1 on 2007-08-31:
ya got to deal direct....when will people understand????
runaway on 2007-08-31:
You want decent service? Try dealing with a travel agent or even the airline directly. You went the "cheap-as-possible" route, and any type of customer service is not included in the price. BTW, it's often cheaper to get your tickets straight from the airline, the last three times and an upcoming trip all priced out hundreds less, and I even booked hotels through them, too.
firstrateconsumer on 2007-08-31:
Cut out the middle man - in many cases you'll find you can book directly with airlines/hotels and get just as good if not better prices. I wouldn't waste my time with any of those so-called 'services'.
Hugh_Jorgen on 2007-09-01:
I think Chuck nailed it - how much trouble is it to make one quick call to cancel a ticket? After your experience with Alaska Airlines I would think you would know it's better to cancel than be a no-show. People come to this site frequently and wonder why the airlines overbook their flights - this is why.
Timboss on 2007-09-01:
If I understand this - you simply did not use the ticket on the original date and you did not call Orbitz or the airline to tell them. Now your ticket is canceled.

Did you tell them you were changing the ticket BEFORE the original flight? If you didn't, you're out of luck. You did not show up OR cancel the flight. Even with non-refundable tickets you can usually change them for $100 fee but you have to do before the originally schedule flight date. If that is the case I think you are out of luck. Can't say enough about using the airline directly instead of an online agency.
Anonymous on 2007-09-01:
Next time take the train.
GothicSmurf on 2007-09-02:
You have to/should change the dates of travel before the last date on the ticket. After that, I have to side with the airline.
mewsician on 2007-09-20:
My point in posting this is that nowhere - NOWHERE - on the Orbitz page, or anywhere else, does it say, plainly and in these words, that you much call and cancel a ticket directly with either an airline or Orbitz. Many seem to just assume that this is common knowledge, and although I'm 49 years old, a college graduate and someone who flies maybe once or twice a year, I didn't know this! Had I known the phone call was necessary, I certainly would have made the call. As I said in my initial post - Alaska Airlines said nothing about this last year when I did the same thing (I.e., bought the ticket, didn't use it, didn't call anybody). Alaska simply rebooked me when I called to use the credit I just assumed I had.

And my complaint is as much with the ambiguity of both American's and Orbitz's response - "it differs from airline to airline whether a no-show can rebook," etc. I simply feel that Orbitz should post that information clearly in their Terms and Conditions, and I also think they should clarify with airlines that it be one way or the other for Orbitz customers. No more of this "well, it differs depending on which airline you're holding the ticket/credit on."

And incidentally - I did get a call from Orbitz offering me a partial credit (though I'd already bought a replacement ticket directly from American), so although I will never, EVER use Orbitz again, I guess I should be grateful for tender mercies.
*Brenda* on 2007-09-22:
mewsician, it isn't just common knowledge, it's common sense. If you don't cancel the ticket than they don't have the opportunity to sell it.
DigitalCommando on 2007-09-22:
Brenda, no-shows are almost always replaced with PAYING standby customers. If a standby customer was not available, it's because that the plane has extra empty seats anyway, thus no loss of income due to his no show. When an airline overbooks the flight, do they refund the full ticket amount to you, and give you a free ticket for the next available flight? NO they do not. So why should they be allowed to keep 400 dollars for doing absolutely nothing especially in light of the fact that the consequences of "failing to perform" were not made available to this consumer until the negative event occurred. By law, business transactions are governed by written agreements between the parties, not by what you know or should have known. "common sense" is never factored in any court decision, it's what's written that counts.
*Brenda* on 2007-09-22:
They are almost always replaced with paying customers. ALMOST always. If there are seats left on a plane and they refund or give credit for this ticket that the OP didn't cancel then they ARE losing money. They are losing the money that he paid when he contracted to buy his seat on the flight.
DigitalCommando on 2007-09-22:
Hi Brenda, mewsician stated in his post that he wanted to transfer the credit to a different flight (they still get the money) he did not ask for a refund. Reread his comment.

I carefully reviewed the Orbitz Terms and Conditions Web page, and even went so far as to send an email to their customer service department asking them to verify via return email that the ticket I was purchasing could be applied as a credit should I need to change the travel dates. I received a return email - which I still have - verifying for me that I would, in fact, be able to do so. So I bought the ticket.

Even this confirmation included no warnings or requirements about the cancel/reschedule process. I would take them to small claims court if it were me.
OhBrutha on 2007-12-28:
She may have read the Orbitz terms and conditions, but, she flunks at being her own travel agent, which is what you are when you use an online travel website. On the traveler information page, in the booking path on Orbitz.com, where you decide if you want insurance, need a wheelchair, etc., BEFORE you click on 'agree and continue', the last paragraph has clearly labeled, stand out blue links with the AIRLINE's terms and conditions and the fare rules. The rules the airline has on the ticket is clearly marked, including being a no show and losing the value. When you click the purchase button, the airline charges your credit card directly, and you entered into a contractual agreement with American Airlines and agreed to their terms. The airline own's the ticket, not the travel website. The travel website agent, tried to plead your case, though you yourself broke your agreement with American Airlines. There are some airlines that on domestic flights will allow you to keep your credit minus the penalty when you no show, such as most Northwest, Delta, and Alaska domestic flights. American Airlines does not. Air Tran, if you don't cancel or change your flight a minimum of one hour before the flight, you lose. United and US Airways, you have until 11pm CST the day you missed your flight to cancel or make your new changes, with the penalty. If the Orbitz agent called American Airlines for you, she was going above and beyond, and yes, the airlines will hang up on anyone. The price/fare you paid would have had the same rules had you booked directly with American Airlines. Their policy is the same on their discounted nonrefundable fares, regardless of where you got it. Look at your credit card statement, the airline charged you directly. You didn't act responsibly by not reading the rules/contract you made with the airline. Orbitz didn't mislead you, it was a changeable ticket. You are the one that booked it, you are the one that decided to skip the terms of the contract you entered with the airline. I'm sorry you lost your money, but how can you blame everyone but yourself?
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My Orbitz nightmare
Posted by on
I had used Orbitz on and off for years without incident until last month (November 2009). I had booked a flight to my mother's for Thanksgiving week (my tickets were booked for leaving the Saturday before Thanksgiving and returning the Saturday after). Ten days before my trip, I returned home from work to a voice mail--a voice mail given in an accent so heavy that I had to listen to it three times before I could figure out who it was from (they had also sent me e-mail, but I had been in a meeting for the last two hours). The message said that there had been a major change to my flight (didn't specify which flight), and that I should call them. I promptly did, and got one of those annoying automated menus--but this one was more than annoying. It asked me if I were calling about a specific flight. Since the message had not referenced a specific flight, I was in trouble, because the automated menu would accept only "yes" or "no." I tried hitting zero to get a person, but to no avail. I wound up screaming "I DON'T KNOW" into the phone, and finally was transferred to a person. Turns out that Orbitz had indeed made a major change to my flight, one that lopped off the last leg of my trip, stranding me about a six- or seven-hour drive from home. In all fairness, the customer service representative I dealt with was great--she put me on hold several times, but only to contact the airline to see if anything could be done. It wasn't her fault that being put on hold meant that I was subjected to the world's loudest Muzak, which had a one-tune repertoire. Since I was on hold about an hour total, this wasn't pleasant. The only thing that she could do for me was rebook my return flight for the day before I had originally been scheduled to return--my other option was to cancel entirely and rebook (a Thanksgiving trip--ten days before).

I thought that chapter was over until two days later, when I received an e-mail from Orbitz, telling me that there had been a major change to my flight. My heart almost stopped. I called them immediately (I didn't get the hideous automated menu--perhaps my screaming two days before had permanently damaged it, or perhaps the customer service reps had threatened to strike if it wasn't disabled, since it was making their customers even more upset than they already were). Again, I got a perfectly fine customer service representative who checked my reservation. There was no change since the big change had been made Monday night--not a flight number, nothing. Apparently Orbitz was just noticing the change that their own customer service representative had made on Monday--American Airlines had sent me an e-mail itinerary Monday night.

I have another trip booked on Orbitz. I've rebooked the trip directly with the airline, at more than twice the original cost of the ticket (booked three months ago). When I went to Orbitz to cancel the trip booked there, it wouldn't let me cancel it. I have to call to get that done. I'm not thrilled about the pricey cancellation fees, and I can't imagine a trip that would be so unimportant that it wouldn't matter what days they changed my trip to, but I do want to get the little credit that remains. The loss of money is nothing compared to my peace of mind, let me tell you. I cannot imagine the circumstances that would have me use Orbitz again.
     
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Anonymous on 2009-12-22:
Orbitz made no changes to your itinerary, the airline had a schedule change. When you bought your ticket you agreed to their terms that they can change the itinerary at any time.
Anonymous on 2009-12-22:
Airlines change flights, NOT the booking agent. You should always confirm your flight with the airline even when you don't book with them. You should also check periodically to make sure all with your flight remains as it was so that changes do not come as a shock.
Inat on 2009-12-23:
soon consumers will learn to use Orbitz and other travel-agency type sites as informational only and book their air/hotel/car directly. Too many fees, rules, cancellations, etc. They are ONLY a middle man now and vastly different then they were 10 years ago
Yarnery on 2009-12-23:
I had never had anything quite this drastic happen before--and the airline had made no alteration to its schedule--I'd just gotten bumped from the entire last leg of my journey. I'd paid for a round trip ticket, and my ticket was no longer a round trip ticket. Got to say that I've never had this happen when I booked directly at the airline or through any other online booking site, or through a travel agent. I'm willing to grant that I didn't read the terms carefully, but I want no part of a booking site that defines round trip to mean that you get only halfway back.
Anonymous on 2009-12-23:
Yarney, you still are missing the point. Orbitz didn't bump you from the second leg of the flight. The airline did, for whatever reason.
JustGotScammed on 2009-12-23:
FYI. While Orbitz does not charge any fees when booking flights, they have set their default response for trip insurance to "yes". If you do not notice this, you will find out AFTER entering all your payment information. Your summary will show that you just paid an amount higher than the price quoted for the flight. If you call customer service, they will tell you that you did not check "no" for flight insurance. If you look at your summary, there is no indication that you have any flight insurance. Seems deceptive to me. Fortunately, the customer representative was very pleasant, cancelled my reservation as requested, and I received a full refund.
dm24vegas on 2010-03-04:
I agree with Lady, Orbitz did not cancel the last leg of your trip, it was the Airline. By the way, no travel agency, online or otherwise, will charge you a "cancellation" fee. The fee will apply only when you call back to use credit, and the airline will charge the higher fee always (see ticketing rules). When a customer makes a voluntary change to their itinerary, change fees will apply, or if you cancel -because you purchased a non-refundable ticket, they charge nothing to cancel, but they do charge to rebook at a later date. Good luck to you in your future traveling
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Beware of Orbitz.com Scams
Posted by on
I booked airline tickets for my family of four (including two minors) from Los Angeles to Rome via Detroit. There were four flight segments (on Northwest) : Los Angeles to Detroit, Detriot to Rome, Rome to Detroit and Detroit to Los Angeles. Orbitz.com displayed the seats "available" on all four flight segments and asked me to select my seats. Traveling with minors, I selected contiguous seats. I also booked a simultaneous transfer through Orbitz from Rome airport to city center. Once I gave Obitz my credit card number, they came back with my confirmation. The problem was I did not get the seats I had selected. So the seats that were advertised as "available" instantly became "non-available" as soon as they got my credit card number. Not just that, on all four segments my family got seats that were spread all over the plane (mostly middle seats).

I called Orbitz right away and canceled my reservation, including the transfer. That should have been the end of the matter. However, I got a charge of $125.00 on my next credit card statement. Orbitz claimed that I was not due any refund for transfer at Rome airport since the transfer was non-refundable type. That is not withstanding the fact Orbitz was trying to scam me in the first place using the classic fraudulent bait and switch tactic. Besides the transfer was tied to the arrival time at Rome based on the Orbitz booking and pretty useless when I book through someone else.

What are my options at this point? I have decided to fight these shysters.

First I am disputing the charge through my credit card company. I booked through Orbitz using my credit card. Any card holder is afforded some protection under consumer laws against substandard service and products once he has made a "good faith" effort to resolve this with the merchant. This may or may not work, depending how aggressively the credit card issuer pursues Orbitz.

If the credit card issuer fails to deliver results, there is always the option of Small Claims Courts. Small Claims may sound cumbersome and time consuming but they work. It is a level playing field where you do not need a lawyer and can represent yourself (in contrast a company like Orbitz has to get legal help costing hundreds of dollars an hour). The mere filing and proper service of summons usually results in a happy outcome where you can recoup your disputed amount, filing fees and then some. I have prevailed several times against large corporations in small claims. You will be surprised to see how much attention you get once you file these suits. All you need is a little patience. In California you can claim up to $7500 plus costs in a small claims suit. Collection is very easy when large solvent corporations are involved.
     
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MzDLBrand on 2009-09-29:
Quick question... did you bother calling Delta (Northwest) to check on getting seats together before you called to cancel? You probably would have saved yourself a lot of headache by doing that.
Ben There on 2009-09-29:
Are you elite with Northwest or Delta? Chances are you picked a seat that the airline will only give to a very frequent flyer. The seats are most likely still empty, but the airline - not Orbitz - is the one who is not letting you get them. They would not let you get them if you had booked direct as well. They appear on seat maps as plenty of people are elegible to assign them, just not you. I doubt you will have any luck disputing the charges over seat assignments as no airline or site guarantees seats.
Steve303 on 2009-09-30:
Since I was dealing directly with Orbitz and not Northwest (Delta), isn't it Orbitz's responsibility to make sure the seats are really available before charging my credit card and confirming my reservations ? Orbitz is the travel agent, right? Don't they have at least the obligation to check with the customer before going ahead and charging the credit card account ? I would understand if I was dealing with some bureaucrats in the Government, but not a private company. The point is, I am being penalized for Orbitz's callous attitude towards its customers.
Anonymous on 2009-09-30:
Steve, no because Orbitz has no way of knowin gif you qualify for those seats. They show availability because they are. However, you may not have the miles for a particular seat, or someone may have booked it before you. People don't realize these seats get bought by people all over the country doing the same thing you are. Orbitz is selling, but so is Priceline, Cheap tickets, The airlines themselves, travel agencies...

What we did when we went to Mexico with our two teenagers, is asked for seats together, and were not guaranteed them as most airlines go by a random seating these days. So when we boarded our flight and realized our youngest daughter's seat was in the back, we asked the man next to us to change seats. He was very willing to do so.
Ben There on 2009-09-30:
No airline or travel agent is under any obligation to get you an exact seat. Seat assignments are just requests, and yours was denied by Northwest. No seat is guaranteed - too many things change like flight cancellations and aircraft changes.

I have a feeling that free seat assignments for the average traveler will one day be a thing of the past. Pay more for your ticket, become elite, or pay an assignment fee if you want 22A.
Steve303 on 2009-09-30:
In response to LadyScot and others: Orbitz is a consolidator - they buy seats in bulk from airlines (at wholesale rate) and sell to consumers at retail. The difference is their profit margin. They know EXACTLY what seats are available to them. No need to be an apologist for this scam operation. If you do not believe me, read the other hundred complaints about Orbitz on this web site. No decent company has the same modus operandi as these guys.
Anonymous on 2009-09-30:
Steve, for every complaint against a company, there are compliments. A lot of the time, the problem is the customer just doesn't read. They see PRICE and ignore everything else.
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Horrible Customer Service
Posted by on
This is a copy of a comment I left for the CEO of Orbitz:

Mr. Harford, CEO of Orbitz,

I have a serious problem with your company. I had previously purchased a ticket for use in November of 2008, however was unable to Make My Trip. I called your company who assured me that I would be able to use the credit to purchase another ticket with the same airline if I used it by September of 2009.
Two days ago on February, Friday 13, 2009 I called and booked a flight from Anchorage Alaska to San Francisco through Salt Lake city and back, paying the difference in the ticket cost and other associated fees at that time.
I got the flight booked and even picked seats for the flight and was assured an itinerary would be sent out at once so I could make arrangements with other parties I need to contact in San Francisco. Upon checking my email the next
day I noticed the itinerary was still not there, so I called again and was assured the flight was booked, and that the itinerary would be sent out as soon as your customer service representative hung up on their end of the phone.
Well, I went about my business trusting that your service reps would be true to their word, however I later checked once more, and it was still not there so I called again and was assured that by Sunday morning it would be in my email. Sunday arrived and still no email from Orbitz. Sunday the 15th is the day I was supposed to contact several people in the San Francisco area in order to make arrangements for specialized equipment related to my visit to the area. I called a total of four times on the evening of the 15th with the following results.

Call #1 - I was told that there was a ticket but that the ticked had not been fully booked. (How is that possible? I also had a very difficult time understanding the very heavy accent on the other end of the line as well as problems with the phone lines cutting in and out.) As I was trying to sort out the problem I was hung up on.

Call #2 - I was referred to three different people, none of who I could understand well, who informed me that there was a ticked booked, but that it takes up to 48 hours for me to get an itinerary. I explained that I had been waiting for 48 hours. Then your representatives tried to tell me that my email account was not working, the very same email account that I had just been reading recently received emails on. I assured her that my email was working, but also when I commented to my wife that I was no longer going to do business with your company in the future, I was then abruptly hung up on by her.

Call #3 - I was told by another customer service representative that I could barely understand or hear due to bad phone lines, that now there was no ticket on my record at all. And that there was no record of me booking a flight. I asked to speak to a supervisor, whereupon I waited on hold for ten minutes and was hung up on before being able to speak to one.

Call #4 - My wife actually made this call as by this time I was in no mood to deal with the substandard customer service and mistreatment I had received thus far. She called the number provided on your website, asked for a customer service supervisor and had been held on hold for over an hour with no one even coming on to the phone lines to tell her that she will be taken care of sometime in the near future. When someone finally came on the phone my wife was informed by "Corrine" that the itinerary was posted on a third party site not even affiliated with Orbitz, which I had not been informed of, by either your companies website or your customer service representatives which I had tried to deal with previously.

There had been no attempt to solve the small problem I had originally by your regular customer service representatives, which, was just wanting a copy of my flight itinerary. And the fact that my Itinerary was posted to a third party website without my knowledge or permission is inexcusable. I am beyond incensed at my treatment by your company, your lack of accountability for your poor customer service and to be sure that this is not something that happens to others I will be posting copies of this message to you, the CEO of Orbitz to the local and National Better Business Bureaus, as well as all of the many sites now available on the internet which detail your companies long history of substandard customer care and lack of business ethics.

Should you care to respond to my complaints you may do so at EVBranscum at yahoo.com

Rest assured however that whatever you send will be forwarded to all my friends, acquaintances, business relationships and again to the many websites which have detailed your companies history of bad business practices toward your customers.

Sincerely,
Edgar V. Branscum
     
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dan gordon on 2009-02-16:
if you had actually hoped for help telling the ceo that his comments will be spread like wildfire on the internet severely diminish your chances of getting him to help you.
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Charged for Flight That Was No Longer Available
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
ILLINOIS -- I attempted to purchase two round trip tickets from Washington DC to Cancun, Mexico, but before the online transaction was completed, I received the following message: "We're sorry. That flight is no longer available." I immediately booked another flight that nearly matched my first attempted purchase, except for the last leg which terminated in Baltimore instead of Washington DC. I was charged for both flights.

I called Orbitz customer service and was told that I could get a credit for one of the flights, but not a full refund. The explanation was that the flights had to be exactly the same before Orbitz would consider the issue a website issue. I asked to speak to the complaint department and the representative told me that she was going to put me through to her supervisor. I was left on hold for 40 minutes and then the call was dropped.
     
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trmn8r on 2013-07-13:
It sounds like the first transaction was not completely rejected, because you were charged for part of that itinerary even though you got an error message that one of the legs was not available.

I assume this is hidden somewhere in the site terms and conditions, because it sounds like a ripoff. It is stuff like this that validates my decision to never use one of these third party sites. The premise is you'll save money and it is easy, but there are way too many problems for my money.
Soaring Consumer on 2013-07-14:
I suggest contacting your credit card company to dispute the charge.
custrelguy on 2013-07-18:
Hi, jenn276,
This is Robert, and I am part of the Orbitz Customer Relations team. I am sorry for the disservice from Orbitz. Please forward the Orbitz Record Locator to us at socialnetwork@orbitz.com. Please use my name in the subject line, so that I can investigate further.
Thank you for your patience, I look forward to hearing from you.
Sincerely,
Robert Woyach
Orbitz Customer Relations
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
Booked Flights Trusting Orbitz, but I Was Charged $450 Extra
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
CALIFORNIA -- I booked two flights to Europe on Orbitz website yesterday without checking other sites. Today I checked Expedia and found out they offer the same flight at $450 lower fare. When I called Orbitz, they said it has been 27 hours since I made my reservation and I cannot ask for any refund.

When I asked them about the commercials that they are running saying they guarantee the lowest price, they said what that means is if someone else uses Orbiz website to make exact same reservation within 24 hours and their reservation cost is less, then Orbitz will give me 110% of the difference. This requires believing in Orbitz doing the right thing, after they screw their customers. I will not use Orbitz website again.
     
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naz on 2013-05-28:
Always, Always check multiple sites before purchasing anything.
John Nicholson on 2013-05-28:
You snooze, you lose. As Naz says above, always check multiple sites.
Orbitz CR on 2013-05-29:
Hi,

My name is Sarah, and I am part of the Orbitz Customer Relations Team. We want to learn more about your experience so that we can address the issue. Please email us at socialnetwork@orbitz.com and enter my name in the subject line, so that I can investigate further.

Thank you for your patience, and I look forward to hearing back from you.

Sincerely,

Sarah
Orbitz Customer Relations
Chicago, IL
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StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty StarEmpty Star
A SCAM: Worse Policies and Customer Service
Posted by on
Rating: 1/51
I bought a ticket to Cabo on Orbitz and subsequently the price dropped by over 300 dollars. On their website, their PRICE ASSURANCE POLICY say they will match a lower price if someone books the same flight at a lower rate. THEY LIE! I spoke to the customer representative AND supervisor and their policy continued to get more complicated as we spoke adding layers of conditions until it rendered the policy useless to their customers. The bottom line is they did not reimburse me even though on their own website the same flight, on the same days and times is advertised for $300 less. IT IS A SCAM! DO NOT BOOK THROUGH ORBITZ! I WILL NEVER USE THEM AGAIN! THEY ARE A SCAM!
     
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Ben There on 2012-12-26:
Orbitz price assurance policy is slightly different than most of the airlines and travel websites.

Orbitz will refund you the difference if someone purchases the exact same trip as you - same flight #s, airlines, dates, etc... This does not mean just finding it for less, but someone has to buy it.

Everyone else - including the airlines directly - will refund if you simply find the same flights for less on another site... within 24 hours of your own purchase. After that time, you are stuck with your price regardless what the market does.

So the pro of Orbitz is that you might get a refund anytime between the time you purchase and travel - not just within 24 hours. The con of Orbitz is that someone else actually has to purchase the same trip through Orbitz.
trmn8r on 2012-12-26:
WoW - very helpful comment, Ben There, and voted as such!
At Your Service on 2012-12-27:
Good information Ben There.
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