Orbitz Complaint - My Orbitz nightmare - Airline tickets and customer service
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.