Don't trust Orbitz!

Old Jan 11th, 2007, 07:36 AM
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Don't trust Orbitz!

Has anyone had this problem before? We booked 9 tickets in 2 bookings in October. The Orbitz website let us select our seats ( important when traveling with 5 kids!! ) Then we received our confirmation email stating that the airline ( Delta ) was assigning seats at check-in. When I went on Mytrips to check on the flight, they still give you the option of choosing seats and some of my seats that I had chosen were available and some were not. I called and they told me they forward our requests to the airline. So I called Delta and they had no record of any requests! They let me choose seats today but they are not as good as my original choices and we are separated from each other. I called back to complain to Orbitz and the woman lied to me and said they had forwarded our seat info back in October and proceeded to read off the seat assignments that I had just obtained from Delta! I had the original seat numbers written down so I know they were different. When I tried to explain, she called me argumentative. I don't need the hassle of he said-she said ( or the lack of concern for an unhappy customer ). Next time, I'll book directly through the airline.
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Old Jan 11th, 2007, 08:12 AM
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You could have saved 5 bucks if you would have booked with the airline instead of Orbitz. That will buy you a drink on a U.S. airline. You could have gotten 500 extra Frequent Flyer miles.

I will check Orbitz to get the prices and then go to the airline's website to purchase the ticket.

But seat assignments are not a guarentee.
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Old Jan 11th, 2007, 08:24 AM
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Good points about booking directly with airline and that seat assignments are never guaranteed.

Occasionally, I do have to book via an agent or have flights on a 2nd airline booking through one airline's site. I always always go to that airline's site to pull up my reservations and confirm the seats I want.
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Old Jan 11th, 2007, 09:51 AM
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I would have booked directly but for some reason they weren't on Delta's website. Don't know why. Live and learn, I guess. I'm more upset about the way I was treated when I called back to complain. Customer service is not a priority for Orbitz!
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Old Jan 11th, 2007, 10:05 AM
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I believe the employees of Delta and Orbitz are in India. Be glad it is a toll-free number.
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Old Jan 13th, 2007, 10:40 AM
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I had a very interesting experience with Orbitz a couple years back.
I wanted to book airline tickets for my parents from Detroit to Cancun. I booked tickets on Spirit airline via orbitz and I got an email saying that they are processing my request (which I actually took as my flights are confirmed).
Thinking that my parents tickets were booked, I went ahead and booked my tickets from San Francisco to Cancun.

The next day I got a voice mail from Orbitz saying that the price of my parents tickets has changed drastically (think double) but they have already charged my credit card with the new amount. They said that Spirit airlines had raised the prices.
I tried to get a hold of the customer service reps for Orbitz and was redirected to an India call center where I was put on hold for an hour. My credit card was charged $1200 so I had no choice but to stay on hold.
I asked the customer service rep what it really means to be able to purchase a ticket on Orbitz... I got an email from them so that means that the price is at least locked... but they said that is not the case at all.
I told them that I just wanted my money back... they resisted giving me my money back for a couple weeks (yes... hours on the phone with the India call center) and then they finally said that they will refund my money in 60 BUSINESS DAYS!!! and there is nothing they can do faster.
I waited for 2 months and although that is just 60 days, not 60 business days, I called the india call center and again after hours of back and forth, I was told that there is no record of my conversations from a couple months ago so there is no money coming in...
I went ballastic.
They then refunded my money in 14 days.
Now, I just look up prices on Orbitz and then go on the individual airline sites to make the booking.
This happened a couple years ago so I am not pissed right now... but you should have seen me at the time.
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Old Jan 13th, 2007, 04:32 PM
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The seats you see on an on-line travel site are not necessarily available and/or up to date. Airlines save the premium seats (exit row, first couple rows) for their elite flyers. If you didn't see the seats available on Delta's website, then they weren't.
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Old Jan 14th, 2007, 10:31 AM
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Preselected seats (whether onthe airline or a third party site) are ALWAYS subject to change, and are not guaranteed. Best bet in this situation is to deal with the airline directly, and ask that the agent make a notation in the record that this is a family traveling together. Still not a guarantee but it can help.
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 05:14 AM
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Thanks for all your replies! I have booked many trips and gotten the seat requests that I asked for. Usually, the only changes have been if there is a schedule change. My problem is the way Orbitz gave me the option of choosing seats and then not following through with the airline. They should not be allowed to give that as an option and then tell you after you have paid for your tickets that you don't have assigned seats. The rude treatment from the "Customer Service" was the icing on the cake. BTW, the Delta operator did sound Indian but was perfectly understandable and competent!!
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 06:36 AM
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1. Check Orbitz for who flies where, when, and what relative fares are. If they show you that AA's fare is $250 but UA's is $600, there's a good chance they're right that, at that moment, UA's discount fares are gone. But don't assume that AA's $250 is still there until you see it on aa.com.

2. Always book directly with the airline, never with Orbitz et al. OP's experience shows vividly one reason why. Another is what happens when a connection is missed or a flight cancelled and you can't get to Orbitz and the airline won't deal with you.

3. If there's a particular reason you need to have the particular seats you've chosen, call the airline and ask to have a note in your record not to change the seat assignment. This is NO GUARANTEE they won't still try to change it, but it may be helpful if they change equipment or start to tinker with seating for some other reason. It may be useful to impress an off-shore res-agent that you had an existing claim to that seat.

4. Even with a note on your itinerary record, you should still check your reservation and seat assignment at least weekly before your trip, and daily in the last week.

5. Use on-line check-in as early as possible to get your boarding pass. If you see an unexpected seat assignment when you print it out, you at least can call in then and--maybe--avoid standing in line at the gate to argue with the agent there.

Ain't it fun to travel nowadays?
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 06:57 AM
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As posted by Soccr

If they show you that AA's fare is $250 but UA's is $600, there's a good chance they're right that, at that moment, UA's discount fares are gone. But don't assume that AA's $250 is still there until you see it on aa.com.

so what you are saying is that if www.aa.com does not show the $250 fare, then it's not available? It is, if www.orbitz.com is showing it as long as you purchase the ticket from Orbitz.

Another is what happens when a connection is missed or a flight cancelled and you can't get to Orbitz and the airline won't deal with you.

Once you are checked in the airline(s) take over the reservation. Delayed flights, missed connections? It will be the airlines responsibilty to accomodate you. No need to contact Orbitz, in fact they won't be able to do anything at that point.
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 07:26 AM
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AAFF, we always appreciate your fine-toothed-comb approach to everyone's posts, and you may be right acc/letter of the "law," but experience has repeatedly shown that it doesn't always go the way you declare it's supposed to.

In the case of messed-up connections, Continental told me and (on another occasion) AA told my SO that they couldn't help, that the ticket was booked through Orbitz and Orbitz had to help us out. They may have been wrong, but being right didn't get us to our destination. Ditto with "surprise" increases in fares when you think you're booking at $200 and you get an error message at the time of clicking on "purchase ticket now," and surprise! it's the higher fare. Orbitz and similar websites cannot be expected to be completely up-to-the-millisecond on these things -- they are not the source.
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 07:35 AM
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I was going to suggest that you contact Delta group sales for assistance, but they define a group as ten or more, so you are a little short. Perhaps they would give you some assistance anyway, since your group involves many children, and many flyers don't like to fly in close proximity to children.

If that doesn't work, be aware that airlines hold a number of seats for use by the gate agent in accomodating people with special circumstances, such as broken legs or infants. And in fact, the gate agent has the power to reassign any seat, even those which have been assigned (I think they try to minimize this, as it upsets the people who are reassigned). So I would suggest you arrive early enough that you can talk to the gate agent before things get hectic (say, half an hour before boarding time) and ask if they can accomodate you. Since you are asking for something that they have an option of granting, do not be argumentative or demanding. I think seating you with your children is not their highest priority, unless your children are helpless; I suspect all of us have seen parents seated with their children who manage not to notice that the child is acting up.

I don't want to demean Orbitz. There are many similar companies that provide minimal service at minimal prices, and when we choose to buy through one of these sites, we should not expect much in the way of hand-holding. One doesn't go into a Chevrolet dealer, pay Chevrolet prices, and expect a Cadillac. In the case of airline tickets, one actually pays more at such sites for service that is often marginal.
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 07:40 AM
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I'm talking from experience. I have personnaly managed all my bookings and have flown ~.5M miles in the last 5 years.

I know my stuff.

YMMV.
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Old Jan 15th, 2007, 09:57 AM
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Sidenote- Orbitz has teamed up with United for virtually any flight within the US, from the US to Europe/Middle East/Asia, etc to take 15% off! I regret buying my LAX-Providence ticket for $165...it's only $150 now! It ends Jan 25th, so act quick everyone. Happy travels!
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Old Jan 29th, 2007, 12:47 PM
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I have to speak up here because if it had not been for the incredible customer service I had at Obitz, I don't know how the h--- we would have gotten our daughter out of Israel last summer (during the war!) I already posted about this, but when I saw your thread, I had to comment. Really, they were on the phone with me at 2:30 in the morning for over two hours working this out for us. The service I received was unbelievable and really, I don't know what I would have done without them. Needless to say, it was a very stressful situation and they really came through for me.

I'm sorry you're having a problem and it just goes to show that people have different experiences with companies (I will never rent from Hertz again after what they put us through in France, yet some people like them.) But I have to come to their defense after all they did for me to get our daughter home safely.

Also, I always compare Orbitz prices to the direct websites of the various airlines and have usually found Orbitz prices to be better. But I think the point made to compare is valid and would advise others to do so.
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