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Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

Maryland
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Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

Hi everyone. I’m in the middle of a nightmare with Orbitz over a multi-city flight ticket. I think we may be nearing a resolution, but I’d appreciate if anyone has advice or comments on the situation which I shall summarize below:

6 months ago in Feb 2013 I bought flights only ticket from Orbitz for our trip to Peru:

30 Aug: Washington DC – Miami – Lima – Cuzco – Puerto Maldonado

5 Sep: Puerto Maldonado – Cuzco

14 Sep: Cuzco – Lima – Mexico City – Washington DC

2 Days ago Orbitz notified us of a change of flight departing Washington DC. Without consulting us, Orbitz re-ticketed us on a new flight departing 2.5hrs later, which meant we’d only have 50 min connection time in Miami which is ridiculous, considering we are going from domestic to international, and in Miami of all places (that airport is a mess).

We immediately contacted Orbitz. They rebooked us on a different flight…… but then called a few hours later to say there was an error and that the booking didn’t go through. After multiple lengthy calls over the next 24hrs Orbitz admitted their mistake and that we shouldn’t have been rebooked on the flight with an impossible connection. Orbitz’ internal procedures are now the problem – basically someone cost them $4000 they claim by rebooking the bad flight, and it will cost them more to rebook us on something that works. We are being given the run around… told the senior people who need to authorize funds for a rebook aren’t there and all sorts of crap.

The current situation is that Orbitz have not yet re-ticketed us but have put a hold on seats. They just need to get their act together and actually pay for them before the hold expires. I don’t have much confidence in them doing so. My wife spent 1hr last night getting escalated upwards on a call but still nobody was able to do anything until tomorrow. “We’ll update you before 7pm tomorrow” is all they say. . Now 48hrs before a huge international trip, this is totally unacceptable. As they were getting sick of us harassing them last night they did say they’d give us some compensation in addition to rebooking us.

I shall add that we have opened a complaint with the US Dept of Transport on this, but that’ll take a few days to even begin being looked at. Our priority right now is dealing with Orbitz to get a new ticket.

Sorry, that turned into a bit of a long rant but I can’t believe how big a problem Orbitz are making of this. They have admitted their mistake but seem to be digging in their heels regarding actually fixing it. How hard can it be for them to rebook… flights with seats are available online right now.

Thanks for any help or advice!

Fredericia, Denmark
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1. Re: Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

It's the airline that changed the flight and their computer booked you on the nearest available flight.

Elk Rapids, Michigan
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for Lanai
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2. Re: Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

You are stuck dealing with Orbitz since that is who you booked through.

50 Minutes is tight but not impossible at MIa assuming all flights are at least on time.

Stay calm and let Orbitz do their thing, getting upset with them is not going to help at all.

Not sure the US Dept of Transport has oversight on this. It was a simple schedule change by the airline and Orbitz is not an airline, they are a third party ticket seller.

Edited: 10:03 am, August 28, 2013
Maryland
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3. Re: Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

Thanks for your comments. I'm not sure this was a simple schedule change by the airline. Orbitz said it was their mistake, and that whoever did that at Orbitz was in trouble. We are trying our best to let Orbitz do their thing, but after 36hrs of no action and un-neccessary delay, I'm losing patience.

US DOT does have some authority for consumer air travel service complaints: dot.gov/airconsumer/file-consumer-complaint#…

My own research found that it can help if the DOT weigh in on the issue, and they can do even with agents I(not just airlines directly) But as my problem is time sensitve, I'd really only be looking to the DOT if it turns into a complaint or dispute.

Edited: 10:12 am, August 28, 2013
Elk Rapids, Michigan
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for Lanai
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4. Re: Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

Well good luck on it. Hope it all goes your way in the end.

USA
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5. Re: Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

Cave T,

Last winter I had a huge problem with Orbitz concerning a ticket change. To make a long story short, the customer service reps through the 800 number were completely incompetent and after hours on the phone, could not handle anything properly (including charging me an extra $600 for something without authorization). I googled their number in Illinois (it was not toll free) and left an angry message on a customer service machine in Illinois. I also filled out a BBB complaint. Within a few hours, a woman named Gena (pronoucned Jenna) called me back and she was competent. After a few phone calls, she fixed the problem, the tickets were correct and I was refunded my $600! So thank goodness for Gena at Orbitz! She also said I would get a $100 Orbitz voucher for their mistake, that I never received. But I was just happy to sort out the problem, and for them to acknowledge that they made a mistake. I used them because they simplified a multi-city route for me, but now I just book with the airline directly. It's just easier. Let me know if that advice helps. Try the US-based number during business hours. Good luck!

Italy
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6. Re: Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

We have said on here many times to forget about 3rd party websites and book directly throught he airline but I have to say that usually Orbitz is a very helpful company, it won't have been them that put you on the 50 minute transit time but the airline and quite honestly i would have accepted this as this now seems to be the normal transitting time through American airports, on all our last flights the transit time has been around this time frame. Anyway, I hope you get it sorted, let us know how it goes.

Maryland
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7. Re: Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

Thanks I'll let you know how it goes. We choose to go with Orbitz due to it being multi-city, multi-airline ticket so it was the best option. We have used Orbitz for years with no problen, and will continue to do so if this is corrected to our satisfaction.

Chiang Khong...
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8. Re: Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

Hi

why haven't you contacted the Airline directly?

I use Orbitz all the time , but I never deal with them

After I book I deal with the actual airlines I am flying.

sometimes we over think and worry and cause ourselves problems.

Edited: 3:55 pm, August 28, 2013
Maryland
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9. Re: Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

Trust me, I have tried the airline route.

Anyway...UPDATE: Orbitz have given us a new ticket and $200 compensation.

I called all 3 airlines (we have 3 airline reservation codes) to double check everything was good to go. All was well until I spoke with LAN. I don't know if LAN are correct to say this, but here's the issue:

My full Orbitz ticket itinerary has 3 Airline Reservation Codes (or whatever they are called... the 6 character codes).

They are with

US Airways

LAN

Aero Mexico

The full complete ticket has 8 flights. Each code covers multiple flights but no single code covers them all. I didn't think this was a problem.

I called each 3 airlines direct.

US Airways - they show flights 1-4. All good. No problem.

Aero Mexico - they show flights 7-8. All good. No problem.

LAN - they show flights 2-8. They say it's a problem and that flights 1-8 as per the TICKET should be the same against their reservation code.

Is that a problem? Our first flight with LAN is flight 3. Why do they care so much about flight 1-2. Does it matter that our first of 2 domestic flights before going on LAN isn't shown on the LAN reservation code?

Chicago, Illinois
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10. Re: Help! Orbitz flight ticket nightmare! Advice please...

If there's three operating airlines, there should be three of the 6 letter codes, called PNR codes, one for each airline. What's important is that each airline recognizes you are on the flights they are operating. In other words, the USAirways PNR number should show the flights on USAIrways, the Aero Mexico PNR code the flights on Aero Mexico, etc. I don't see why LAN would care if the other flights show up on their PNR code. As long as each airline recognizes their flights and as long as you don't miss a flight, you should be OK.

Part of the problem is your airlines are not related. LAN is part of One World. USAir, for now, is Star Alliance. Aero Mexico I think is neither. This is what happens when Orbitz stitches together an itinerary from unrelated airlines. Their systems won't always talk to each other. It's simply a complex itinerary. In hindsight, I'd have tried to book at least flights 1-4 and then flights 6-8 all on one set of partner airlines.

Edited: 6:29 pm, August 28, 2013