Price Assurance is a feature of Orbitz that guarantee the lowest fare for you. It works like this "You buy a ticket today. If between today and day of your departure the price goes down you get the lower price as a refund." The scam is in their fine print. Someone must purchase the same ticket for the same date using the same airline through Orbitz. Let's break this down to understand why this almost never fetches you the lower price.
On an international trip a larger plane is used. Typically Airbus A330 which has a seating capacity of around 295. You buy a ticket in advance (hoping to rely on the price assurance). So you end up with a median price. This means half the 295 passengers get tickets more expensive than you and the other half maybe lower than you. You also want to exclude the 30+ business class seats. You're left with 132 potential customers who may end up with cheaper tickets in economy. (Total Capacity of plane - business class seats)/2.
Out of the 132 potential customers who may end up with cheaper tickets Orbitz may sell 20% of them. Let's be generous and say they sell 40%. You're left with 52 eligible customers who may potentially have lower fare than you. Out of the remaining 52 customers they must also have booked the exact same return date as you (If they're returning at all). I've booked tickets where I return the next day. I've also booked tickets where I return a year later (Assuming a year threshold).
So what are the chances that someone on your plane meets all these conditions? Leaving on the same date to the same destination and returning on the same date. In the same seat class and has also booked through Orbitz? I'd say astronomically small. On any given flight there's probably a less than 14% chance anyone would get a price assurance offer from Orbitz. This is not just for you but for the entire plane! To put it another way, for every 7 planes flown, you may end up with one lucky customer who gets the price assurance. This is not Price Assurance. It's misleading at best.
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON -- I was flying from Narita to Beijing then to Manila (it was the best option at the time) the email I got from Orbitz said that I had a 2 hour layover in Beijing before my flight to Manila. It even gave me the time and the length of layover. When I checked in at Narita Airport, the airline representative said that they didn't have a flight to Manila from Beijing on that day. She thought I was staying for 2 days in Beijing and I told her that that was wrong. I even showed her the itinerary that Orbitz sent me.
There was nothing she can do; they don't fly everyday from Beijing to Manila. But I didn't want to go to Beijing because I don't have a visa to go there and didn't want to sleep at the airport for 2 days just to wait for my flight. I had to be in the Philippines sooner than that. So I had to buy a ticket to Manila, thanks to Orwitch. The cheapest ticket I found was almost $2000, double the multi-city ticket of my original itinerary from Tokyo to Manila to JFK.
4 hours of lugging my luggage/waiting around, an extra trip to the appropriate terminal, $2000 later? I'm not using them anymore and told myself that I had to let people know. Little did I know that there's been so many other people displeased/disappointed/angry at Orbitz. And now, I'm one of them. They need to get their you know what together. Being in a different country and having to buy a brand new ticket because of Orbtiz's mistake has got me furious.
Orbitz also doesn't give you the airline's ticket number; just theirs. So I went back and forth between the internet cafe and the ticket counter just to try to find my ticket numbers for the airlines, which I need in Manila to get through immigration. I had a great time in Japan and I can't believe I'm leaving this way because of an Orbitz glitch. Never again.
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.