CHICAGO, ILLINOIS -- Travelers must beware of Customer Service agents that have the power to ruin your trip over a simple misunderstanding. I booked four fights with Orbitz to surprise my husband and celebrate the rebuilding of our restaurant which had burned down twice within two years, first by arson and second by a cigarette being carelessly discarded. As the trip approached I began to be concerned that we would not be completely done rebuilding. I called Orbitz to ask what the policy was regarding changing our travel dates.
The agent reviewed the cancellation policy and offered to check alternate travel dates. The tickets were originally less than $425.00 a piece. To change our travel dates by a week, would be more than $1000 additional per ticket. At this point I decided I would just tell my husband about the trip so he could ensure the building was done and we could travel as planned. While on the phone with the customer service rep, I sarcastically said, "That amount of money makes no sense, I would be better off to cancel my tickets and booked new tickets from scratch."
He took this as my instruction to cancel my flights. However, he never confirmed this with me. Instead I found out I had no tickets, two nights before my trip when I went to print my itinerary. After hours on the phone with Orbitz who would not reinstate my tickets and claimed they sent me an email, I booked new flights with another carrier. I had too much additional money at risk as I had paid for four nights at a hotel and two fishing trips. Money I would not get back if I did not go.
Now ten months later I am still fighting for my money back. My credit card company credited me two of the four tickets and now Orbitz has sent me a letter if those tickets are not paid for in seven days they will send it to collection. Obviously in today's economy, I cannot risk my credit being ruined so I have no choice but to pay. Another ridiculous part of this is that to pay for those tickets and protect my credit I have to call Orbitz.
I tried to call last week and was on hold for 45 minutes and gave up. Now as I type, I have been on hold 48 minutes and 13 seconds with no answer. Travels need to beware that customer service for companies is often times outsourced and even if you feel you have no language barrier with that person, they still may not understand tone or sarcasm.
Service was horrible -- and all because of their inability or unwillingness to assist a client in need of help. I wouldn't mind so much, but these guys didn't even try! A mistake was made in my reservation. I was given a reservation at the wrong Barcelo hotel, the Barcelo Nicaragua instead of the Barcelo Montelimar. This cost me hundreds of dollars and caused my vacation to be spent at the Nicaraguan Barcelo in the middle of slummy Managua instead of at the all-inclusive beach resort at Barcelo Montelimar.
When I asked for help from Orbitz to fix this error, I was met with indifference and incompetence. The Orbitz agents apparently are not trained to listen. (Several times I found myself saying, "Please put on your listening ears.") I tried very hard to get this agent to write down the number of the Barcelo Montelimar so she could call me back and help me. She put me on hold without taking it while she called the Barcelo Managua, a call she said no one answered!
I'm not making this up. That's what I was told. No one answered! That hotel is very efficient and answers all its calls. I ought to know. I was there five days. Did she make more than one attempt to get the call through? Of course not. I suppose she felt that one attempt was enough to fulfil her obligations. Was an effort made to call Montelimar to help rectify this horrible error? Of course not. Orbitz, I find, is very adept and articulate in expressing their inability to do anything, but as far as accommodating a valued customer in need of assistance, it is wholly incompetent. Their offer of a 75 dollar voucher as compensation was an insult.
Fortunately, I am an experienced traveller and I speak Spanish fluently. I had a fantastic time in Managua and the surrounding areas. But what if I had been a less experienced traveller? I think Orbitz's handling of this problem was disgraceful and I will certainly forward these comments everywhere I can on the internet.
Terrible service! I have several stories about Orbitz. My husband flew to Europe when volcano erupted and "stuck" in Frankfurt. The flight was canceled, and I called to Orbitz to change the tickets. They told me that though I booked with them, I have to change directly with the airlines (4 airlines!). OK, I called the airlines and changed the tickets. Then I called to Orbitz again to be reimbursed for the ticket my husband didn't use (because he had to take the train to his destination). When I checked the trip in a while I saw that the whole trip is canceled (and return tickets as well).
I called Orbitz and asked about it and they told me that I requested to cancel the whole trip (though I asked several times that I want to cancel only one ticket from Frankfurt to original destination, and not return tickets). Then they said that I shouldn't have changed the tickets with the airlines if I booked through them (is it normal?!) It took them more than an hour (all this time they kept me on hold) to figure out that the trip actually was canceled because of the volcano and it cost me so much nerves as I thought they canceled everything and I had to rebook return tickets for 10 times the price I bought them...
We booked a trip to Las Vegas. We chose the seats (which were "confirmed" according to Orbitz) and ended up on other seats, because Orbitz didn't confirm anything with airlines. The seats we got were emergency exit seats which were not reclining. 6-hour trip was a nightmare! A call to Orbitz did not help, one of the representatives told us that if we don't like the service, we can book directly with the airlines (of course, we will do it next time, but I don't understand then why Orbitz is still in business), finally after long conversations and complaints they gave us $25 voucher for the next trip with Orbitz (very nice, as we are not going to use it anymore!)
Same Las Vegas trip. We ordered B&B hotel package through Orbitz. There was no information about it in the hotel system. Once again, we had to call to Orbitz... By the way, all these calls took hours and hours. They keep you on hold forever.
I was trying to book a vacation for 6 people for about $6500.00. First when I called they said the flight that was listed on-line that we were interested in was no longer available (of course) so we could choose an alternate one (all of which were more expensive) and that we would have to book two separate trips because they can only reserve 2 rooms at a time.
So after booking 4 of us and two rooms we tried to book the other 2 with one room but the transaction would not go through. I said I would call my bank to check on it. When I did I discovered two additional charges (besides the $4400 for the first 4 I had just paid) for $1189 each. I contacted Orbitz about this and they said they were 'soft charges' that occurred when they tried to book the flights that were not available.
They said they would contact my bank. After getting disconnected a couple times and trying to get back to the same person I was talking to (impossible I was told), I finally talked to a supervisor. Basically I was told by my bank that they could do nothing and that the charges would have to 'roll off after a few days' and told by Orbitz that was the only thing they could do.
One agent told me after all of this that "that's why you shouldn't use a debit card." They should have told me that before they accepted my card- like the car rental companies do. So I had to cancel my other reservations because I could not guarantee that we could book the rest of our party. They told me that it would take up to 5 days to get my money refunded.
So here I am after spending a day arguing with Orbitz and trying to book a fair size trip with them and having them charge my bank account $6778, with no reservations and no way to book somewhere else because it will take 3-5 days for me to get access to that money again. I don't know about most people but I do not have a spare $7000 to work with. This is one of the most frustrating unpleasant experiences I have had - with anyone! I just hope I can get flights when I finally get my money... Damage Resulting.
I used Orbitz to buy 5 tickets for my inlaws to visit from Argentina. The itinerary was Buenos Aires, Atlanta, Los Angeles on Delta and Los Angeles to Phoenix on US Airways. The first problem that cropped up was that US Airways changed their flight from LAX to PHX. They had them on a flight that left 30 minutes after arriving in LAX.
I called Orbitz and the agent explained to me that it was a "legal connection". I asked her how anyone could get off a plane at one terminal, get on a bus to another terminal, go through security, and get to the gate in 30 mins. It took almost 20 minutes until she finally figured out that it was an impossible connection and they rebooked them on a later flight.
On the day of departure, Delta was delayed out of Buenos Aires 1hr 45 mins. I saw that they would not make their connection in Atlanta to LAX and called Orbitz. The agent to put it kindly, was not the sharpest knife in the drawer. She proceeded to tell me that there was no problem since the flight went on to LAX and they would not be getting off the plane. I asked her if she was looking at the same Delta reservation that I was looking at where it said "note plane changes in Atlanta". She said it did not matter because they would not be getting off the plane. I then asked if somehow the plane was going to magically change from a 767 to a 757 with the passengers on it.
To say that she was completely clueless and totally inept at her job is putting it mildly. I gave up after and hour on the phone. I ended up calling Delta directly and spoke to a wonderful agent in international who booked my inlaws on a direct flight to PHX and it took all of 10 minutes to accomplish. Orbitz has no clue about serving their customers once they get your money. I will never ever use Orbitz again.
My husband and I booked international flights from the US to New Zealand, from NZ to Australia, then back to the US. We made it to NZ with no problem, but trying to go from NZ to AUS, we were told we had no valid ticket numbers, and were asked for supporting paperwork that we had never been sent. We very nearly missed our flight. They actually just let us on because I had a printed confirmation saying we had seats, and even though they didn't have it in their system, Air New Zealand just had great customer service, and overrode the system to get us on.
In Sydney, trying to get home, we got the airport 3.5 hours early, and spend those hours at the ticketing desk, because we were told once more that we had NO VALID TICKETS. Orbitz had issued us tickets numbers that did not exist in the airline's system, and even when we called them from Australia, Orbitz said it was not their problem. Our ticketing agent with the airline finally got it worked out, but these short paragraphs cannot properly express the stress that came with possibly having to buy 2 more international tickets. Also, Orbitz had once again failed to send us the paper tickets we were supposed to have been issued, making everything else more difficult to deal with.
After finally making it back to the States, I called customer service and spoke with a manager, upset about having been issued false tickets and not having received my paperwork. Her response? "Well, obviously you're back in the US, so I guess I'm not sure what the problem is." That is a QUOTE. No apology, no offer of compensation through a discount on the next flight, or even a small percentage of a refund - although I asked for those things. She repeated that she didn't see a problem, since we were back in the states.
I was extremely upset by the false tickets and lack of paperwork, and all the stress it caused, but I was APPALLED by their horrendous lack of customer service. They have permanently lost our business, and I would advice everyone to steer clear!
We made reservations on Orbitz for a flight from Seattle to Newburgh NY on AirTran. AirTran changed our flights and notified Orbitz but not us. Orbitz did not notify us of any changes. We discovered the new schedule ourselves only accidentally. The new flights had us arriving at Newburgh at midnight, after our rental car place had closed. We called to protest the new schedule, and Orbitz told us to call AirTran. We called AirTran. An AirTran representative proposed we instead take a red-eye flight the day before so that we could arrive at noon rather than midnight. We agreed to this change.
We arrived at the airport for the red-eye and AirTran denied all knowledge that we were reserved for the red-eye flights. They told us that they did, in fact, have space on the red-eye flights and could get us on them. However, they said, they would charge us each a $75 change fee. Further, they said there was a price differential. In total, we would owe them $500 extra for a fare that originally totaled $845 -- a 60 percent increase! The changing of our flights was initiated by them, yet they wanted to gouge us for an extra $500!
When we refused to pay this, we had to take a cab home for $45 and come back again the next day for the flight that got us into our destination at midnight. The only thing that saved us was that the rental car company agreed to wait for the AirTran flight. AirTran continually referred to Orbitz as "the travel agent" and blamed everything on Orbitz.
When I complained to Orbitz later about our experience, Orbitz asked me to provide "a specific time" and a phone number when they could contact me. I provided both, and Orbitz said in its e-mail response that "I have forwarded your information to our Customer Service Department and you can expect a call at the number you provided and at the time requested." I arranged my schedule to be available. It's now more than two hours past the agreed upon time and I have not heard from Orbitz. My advice: don't use Orbitz. Don't use AirTran.
This is one of the worst online booking experiences I had. The problem is their customer service, which is even worse than Comcast's. I booked an international trip with non-refundable tickets, having in mind that there's no way I would want to cancel the trip altogether, and if I need to change things I could.
Fairly soon my wife's plans changed and I called Orbitz to change wife's ticket for another date and possibly a different airport. I spent more than an hour in conversation with some lady, who could not change the airport and could not explain why (mentioning FAA regulations among other things). I asked for a supervisor, spent more time on hold and finally the supervisor lady explained to me that not only can I not change the airport, there are not any tickets for any date with prices less than 3 times bigger than what I paid.
Now, I could perhaps believe that, but I was at the computer and a simple search on Orbitz.com turned up many flights with much better pricing and entirely within my parameters. I tried to give the lady the flight numbers, but for some reason she was unable to see them in "her system". I hung up and wrote an email to Orbitz's CEO and director of customer service.
A day later some customer service lady contacted me and basically repeated the same stuff. It took several more emails and a phone call to straighten the things out to the point where I could purchase a ticket to one of the flights I found on their site. Now I have 2 identical charges on my credit card (where only one is expected) and I'm disputing that. On Orbitz.com I'm unable to see me or my wife traveling anywhere - only itineraries for my children are visible.
I'm worried they somehow mingled the information and I'm going to have trouble at an airport (there are many on that trip). I travel a lot. I book my trips online as a matter of habit and I used all sorts of websites: Expedia, Travelocity and a few others and I had to talk to many customer service organizations. This one is THE WORST - no exceptions.
NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- Changing a flight with Orbitz was the most frustrating experience. All I needed was to move the flight one week later. I didn't have set times, I didn't have any airline or airport preferences, I didn't even have any price issues. All I wanted was to make sure it was a non-stop flight... at whatever the cost, it didn't matter. Simple.
I am a generally easy going person, but after being placed on hold every 5 minutes and being told over and over that "unfortunately for you" there were no non-stop flights (I knew there were, I had checked the airline already... there were tons of non-stop flights from Orlando to New York and back again) and that they would have to place me on hold again, I was done.
It would be easier to just cancel the flight and rebook with the airline itself (minus the cancellation fees and plus the difference in flight prices, which was actually cheaper at the airline than what Orbitz ended up charging me). But I didn't want to do that. The credit would be under my niece's name and that would cause all kinds of problems. But dealing with Orbitz was becoming a lesson in futility. So I decided to just cancel the flight.
Well, when I asked to cancel the flight, a new non-stop flight for the exact days that I had originally hoped for, miraculously appeared. They had been lying to me for an hour! I knew they were lying and gave them all kinds of room with dates/airports/etc but it wasn't until I was going to scrap the whole thing that they did what they could have done an hour before... give me the flight that was right there on their screen from the beginning. That's completely unnecessary.
Never Again. I will not use Orbitz again. I will make sure that the companies I work for and projects I do are not booked with them. I will make sure that none of my friends or family books with them. It's not about ego... it's about policies that cause their customers to lose time, money, and peace of mind (I can deal with losing two out of the three, but not all three... Come on, that's seriously bad business). To top that off, they obviously promote dishonest customer service... flat out lies.
How do you trust a company with policies like that? You just don't. Luckily, there are a whole lot of other agents to choose from... so I don't have to (not cheaptickets either- I think they're the same company). Sacrificing my time and peace of mind is not worth the baited couple of dollars!
2 hours on hold and how many countries??? I am informed now that the flight/ticket I canceled last year, all $683 is no longer "valid". In other words, they, in this case American Airlines, gets to keep it. My frustration is Orbitz sent me an email when I canceled the flight due to health problems, that I could apply the unused ticket to a new flight by August 6th, 2007. I tried for days to follow their instructions to no avail, and after 2 hours with Customer Service, was told it was American airlines policy and nothing could be done- my $683 now belonged to American airlines.
Orbitz connected me to American Airlines and told me to try to talk to them. Their supervisor was very business-like and very clear, my problem was with Orbitz, American had a policy and tough **. I tried being nice and asked them to work with me that they had $683 of my money and all I need was 14 days. She was shocked that I could think American had any obligation and told me to take it up with Orbitz.
I will fly any airline BUT American for the rest of my life. I will book travel using any means BUT Orbitz. And for my part, I was obviously too stupid to know the rules they play by and I am $683 poorer. But what has it cost them? It is now my deep desire to ensure that American Airlines and Orbitz lose an equivalent amount as penalty for their inability to know how to deal with repeat customers, what the COST TO THEM WOULD HAVE BEEN ZERO. And that my friends, is as stupid as it gets.
I encourage people reading this to use another airline and travel service and make your trip for equal to or less than you would pay on Orbitz and AA. I am not asking for sacrifice, but a fleeting moral victory that inability to empathize with their customers should be penalized. Good travels to you all and a safe return.