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Purchased on Orbitz/flying on partner airline

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Dec 23rd, 2002, 08:20 AM
  #1
CIndy
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Purchased on Orbitz/flying on partner airline

I have a complicated one: I purchased rt for BOS to CDG on Orbitz. Continental has my reservation for the BOS to LHR, although I am actually flying on Virgin. AirFrance has my reservation for LHR to CDG. I am told that my connection is very tight. (1hr 20 min) and that it will take at least 1 hour to go gate to gate in the best scenario at Heathrow. I will be changing terminals and going thru customs. None of the above people know who would be responsible to get me on another Air France flight in case I should miss my flight. Orbitz says Continental; Continental says Air France; Air France is not quite sure and who knows about Virgin Atlantic. Has anyone ever run into this. Also do you think that Virgin will check my luggage through to Paris? Perhaps I am worrying in advance. I just want to have an idea of what to do if I should miss the flight. Thanks
 
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Dec 23rd, 2002, 10:41 AM
  #2
Andre
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Cindy,

Did Orbitz sell you these tickets as part of a single itinerary???

If so, then call them back RIGHT NOW and insist that they rebook you on a later flight from LHR to CDG (there are tons of them). You should tell them they had some nerve selling you a "defective" product like that!!

If you booked both legs separately, then you could have some trouble... First, you should check with Continental (who will be checking you in at BOS) whether they have a luggage interlining agreement with Air France (they almost cetainly do). If not, you should rebook right now no matter what the cost because it is absolutely impossible to make that connection. If Orbitz won't budge, BMI generally has the lowest fares from LHR to CDG.
www.flybmi.com

Assuming your luggage is checked through, but you miss your connection, you can only hope that Air France will be generous and rebook you on a later flight for free - they could slap on a hefty surcharge. It will be up to the ticketing agent to make that call, so be VERY nice... Forget about Continental/Virgin, they did their part (getting you from BOS to LHR), what you had planned afterwards is no problem of theirs...

Hope this helps,
Andre
 
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Dec 24th, 2002, 04:55 AM
  #3
Cindy
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Thanks Andre. Orbitz was absolutely no help. COntinental did tell me that Orbitz sold me a connecting flight that was not "legal". Orbitz said this was not so. They refused to rebook without the airline charge of $150 and additional costs. The manager at Orbitz would not let me speak and told me that if I kept interrupting him he would disconnect, which he proceeded to do. Continental was sympathetic, but do not have an agreement with Air France and so could not rebook me. They could put me on a standby basis with Air France, but advised me that this was not the way to go. They did tell me that they would help me in London if there was a problem as they were the Airline ticketing me in Boston. I'll keep my fingers crossed. There are five of us traveling and I cannot afford to make a change at my expense.
 
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Dec 24th, 2002, 07:22 AM
  #4
Andre
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Cindy,

Thanks for the heads up on your progress so far - if I understand you correctly, Orbitz DID indeed book your complete itinerary this way. I would advise you to complain to them IN WRITING, perhaps addressed to Jeffrey Katz (their CEO). Hopefully, they will respond in a timely fashion. If not, you will at least have a paper trail should you need to be reimbursed for any extra fees Air France were to charge you for rebooking after a missed connection.

That said, I may have been a little pessimistic: according to Heathrow's web site, you should have (just) enough time to make your connection. Check this link:
http://www.baa.co.uk/main/airports/heathrow/terminal_information/flight_connections_frame.html
roll your mouse over "which connection" on the upper lefthand side and click on Terminal 3 (where your flight from BOS will land), then on "Terminal 3 passengers connecting to Terminal 2" (which AF uses). As you can see, they say to budget a minimun of 60 mins. So, if your flight arrives on time (eastbound transatlantic flights most often do), you should make it, especially if you're already checked through to Paris (see below). Again, this is only valid if your luggage has been checked through - otherwise there's no chance you'll make it.

By all means try to get your boarding passes to CDG in BOS already (if CO can't issue them, you could try going over to the Air France counter for this). According to Air France's web site, the minimum check in time is 45 min. before departure.

Good luck!
Andre
 
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Dec 24th, 2002, 08:19 AM
  #5
Judge
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Cindy
Andre fails to tell us his profession.One might think he is a lawyer?I WOULD NOT be overly optimistic about recouping any "fees" you might have to shell out to get to where you are going.Yes, few will argue that Orbitz prepared and "sold" you this itinerary.However, you did have "opportunity" to back out before you committed.Mind you I am playing Devil'sAdvocate here.Andre has indeed provided EXCEPTIONALLY intelligent information and concern.As a poster,I am appreciative of this.Since as you well know,there can be less than that.However,Orbitz is not under any obligation to repay any expenditure you are forced to make in order to get to where you are going.Yes there are rules,regulations,etc etc.Too many people forget that when you are at a departure gate especially in a foreign country,you are at the mercy of the gate agent.I too would advise saving all receipts all paper work you possibly can get your hands on.But dont expect any magic from Orbitz.I have had many friends who have been completely SOL because of their propblems with the dot com travel companies.
Happy Holidays
 
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Dec 24th, 2002, 09:23 AM
  #6
Andre
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Thanks for the kudos, Judge!

BTW, I'm not a lawyer. I actually work in the travel business (for a tour operator in Europe).

I wouldn't condemn all dotcom travel companies just because Orbitz sold Cindy these tickets. I have unfortunately also seen real, live travel agents screw things up pretty bad...

Also, I think Cindy's chances of getting Orbitz to reimburse any fees incurred by a missed connection are pretty good - it would just require a certain amount of time & effort.

It simply boils down to being VERY careful when purchasing air travel.

On the one hand, the fare structure is completely crazy - after all, why should flights on 2 different airlines with a plane change be cheaper than a nonstop connection in the first place?? In a competitive market (and god knows transatlantic air is competitive)pricing should be based on cost - yet the airlines continue to deny this fact and poach each other's passengers with stopover fares they lose money on. Go figure.

Secondly, connection times are often unrealistic. As a matter of fact, airlines themselves will often sell you tickets with itineraries that don't work most of the time. Sure, they'll put you on the next available flight - provided there are free seats - but the hassle factor is often huge.

In summary, try to schedule at least 2 hours connection time and avoid itineraries which take you on different airlines which are not part of the same global alliance (e.g. Skyteam, Star, OneWorld). If you must break these rules, make sure to schedule a loong break and buy your ticket for the entire itinerary directly from one of the airlines you will be flying.

Sorry if I went off on a few tangents here

Andre
 
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Dec 24th, 2002, 04:01 PM
  #7
Cindy
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Andre: I appreciate all your info. Of course, I have learned something from this; make sure I leave enough time between flights when changing airlines, especially internationally. I know that I purchased these with full knowledge of the times. The price was very good; $349 before taxes, $416 inclusive of everything. As I purchased 5 tickets, I was looking for the best price. In the past I have taken non-stop from BOS, which of course is the best way to go. It will certainly be an adventure. Again, I appreciate your information.
 
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Dec 25th, 2002, 05:36 AM
  #8
Andre
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Cindy,

just reread the whole thread and have a small doubt. Since Continental and Air France don't have any codeshare deals anymore, I simply assumed that Orbitz had issued you 2 separate tickets on different airlines.

However, if in fact you are flying on a SINGLE ticket entirely issued by Continental, then that airline is indeed responsible for getting you to your final destination. They will be obliged to rebook you free of charge on a later flight to CDG if you miss your scheduled connection at LHR.

How do you know if this is the case? Check if Continental issued the LHR-CDG coupons (you can see this on the upper lefthand side). If so and each person has only 1 coupon saying "passenger receipt" which shows the entire itinerary and the coupons are numbered sequentially from 1 to 5, you are OK!

If this is indeed the case, please accept my apologies for needlessly alarming you...

Andre
 
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Dec 27th, 2002, 04:58 AM
  #9
Cindy
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Andre: Continental did issue all legs of my trip. Thanks for the info; we are looking forward to our trip.
 
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Dec 27th, 2002, 01:18 PM
  #10
Andre
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Yikes, Cindy, I really feel stupid now! I guess that's what you get when you ask for free advice ;-)

Bottom line is CO has to get you all the way to CDG. If you miss your connection at LHR and Air France gives you any trouble, go to the Continental counter and request that they rebook you free of charge - they must.

This explains why Orbitz doesn't see why it should have to intervene - it acted as a pure reseller of a single ticket, not as a "packager".

I must say I'm extremely surprised that CO would issue a ticket with such a strange routing. Their main partner airline in Europe is KLM, while Air France cooperates with Delta. On top of it all, as you mentioned the transatlantic leg is operated by Virgin - weird stuff. Oh well, what do you care, as long as you get there & the price is right ;-)

Have a great time in Paris!
Andre
 
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