My wife booked a flight two months ago to Osaka via Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi with Vietnam Airlines (important business trip). Because there is an internal flight involved and you cannot enter Vietnam without a visa, we were going to get a visa - not too expensive. But then we received an email from Expedia that the flight was changed, with the new schedule showing that the flight is now going direct to Hanoi. Great, we thought. No need to get a visa - no internal flight.
Saturday night we are getting from Expedia via email the final itinerary, and in it - look and behold, there it is again, the internal flight inside Vietnam between Ho Chi Minh and Hanoi!.
What can you do at 10pm Saturday night when the flight is Monday morning? There is no way of getting visa on arrival in Vietnam itself - and you MUST get such a visa overseas. You cannot fly into Vietnam and get it there.
A very long story short, we spend half a day Saturday on the phone with expedia reps, who could not get in touch with any Vietnam airline offices anywhere in the world. The refused to book us another flight unless we paid the difference - why should we? They said we had to get to Sydney airport earlier on Monday (3.5 hours away from our home - so my wife had to leave home 5am in the morning for that) and talk to Vietnam airlines. In other words, they refused to take the responsibility, and gave us a hell of a Sunday, with all the calls and especially, the uncertainty.
Monday morning my wife was at the airport early to learn that the change of route was not the doing of Vietnam airlines. In fact there is no direct flight from Sydney to Hanoi at all. Expedia made up the itinerary (we have the email to prove it).
My wife just got a visa in Sydney airport but that cost her (all up) $300. Again, Expedia refuse to pay for this visa, so we did.
So finally, the meat:
First, please know that Expedia is not to be trusted when things go wrong - even if it is their fault. Such a behaviour over such a small cost for them is surprising and distressing. Refusal to take responsibility for their mistakes.
Second, what can we do (besides flooding the air-travel forums) to recoup our losses and also punish them for their behaviour. If we let them get away with it, the next customer, and the next, will be treated in the same way. If many of us stand up, only then will they change their attitude.
Thanks and sorry for the long spiel.