Orbitz Shmorbitz

10Dec07

Ever booked a flight through Expedia or Travelocity? It’s pretty easy these days to plan a trip. You can pick your dates, flight accomodations, hotel, rental car….everything. Well there’s another website out there kind of like Expedia and Travelocity: Orbitz? On their website, we can see that they pride themselves on being “One Step Ahead”…..except they overlook the fact that their website is difficult to navigate, they book impossible itineraries, and they have poor customer service. See this story below (taken from Maddox’s website):

  

I was booking a ticket a while ago and decided to try Orbitz instead of Travelocity or Expedia for a change. I was connecting in San Francisco for an international flight, and found two tickets that were almost identical, except one cost about $30 less and had a stop in San Jose. I figured that the extra stop wouldn’t make a huge difference, so I might as well save some money. WRONG. After I booked the ticket, I noticed something strange: there were no travel details on how I would get from San Jose to San Francisco. I called Orbitz and they told me that I would have to provide my own transportation from San Jose to San Francisco. What?

So I did some research and found the following:

  9:35 AM – Flight arrives in San Jose, California

  9:50 AM – It takes up to 15 minutes to exit the plan and collect luggage.

  9:55 AM – Up to 5 minutes to hail a cab or shuttle.

10:45 AM – Up to 50 minutes to travel to San Grancisco with heacy morning traffic.

My flight departed San Francisco at 12:45 PM (corrected), so I should have had plenty of time, except for one major detail: YOU NEED TO CHECK IN AT LEAST 2 HOURS EARLY FOR INTERNATIONAL FLIGHTS. This isn’t even taking account the time it would take to get through long lines and security. Orbitz made a mistake: they sold me an impossible itinerary. Having a delayed flight was not an option because I was on a tight schedule. There was no way I was going to miss this plane.

So I called Orbitz back, they told me to call Delta and United. I did, and I spoke to managers at both Delta and United who confirmed that the itinerary was impossible to fulfill, and both of them referred me back to Orbitz. Before I called to tear Orbitz a new one, I checked the fine print of my itinerary to make sure it didn’t mention anything about having to break the laws of physics for all or part of my trip. The email notification made no mention of this either. My conversation with Orbitz went something like this:

    

20 minutes later:

   

  

   

Orbitz flat-out refused to help me. So I ended up having to buy a one-way ticket to San Francisco for $144 just so I could make my flight on time. After numerous complaints to customer service, I finally got a response about a month later: Dear valued customer, blah blah blah, we don’t really [care] about your plight, so here’s a slap in the face in the form of a coupon to save $50 off your next flight with Orbitz.

No. Not good enough. I shouldn’t have to pay 1 cent extra for their mistake. I wrote back and told them that I wanted the full $144 refunded and they never responded.

I will never do business with Orbitz again, and neither should you. Here are just a few of the thousands of emails I’ve received in the last couple of days [with similar stories]:

I won’t use orbitz any more either. I booked a flight for my husband and I to fly from Cincinnati to Boston for a friends wedding. A few days before the flight I got check and make sure no flights have been changed and corirm plans and that is when I noticed they booked both tickets under my name! I was [livid]!! Orbitz refused to do anything and basically said too bad. I had to use my frequent flyer miles to get my husband another ticket. I then proceeded to find the CEOs of Orbitz telephone number using the wonder of the internet. I called every day and left a message and had my friends do the same for me. Eventually my money was refunded. I guess someone getting paid big sacks of money with dollar signs on it decided that giving my my $150 back was better than dealing with my [whining] every day into his voice mail.

Melissa

We too got ripped off. After sending the information on when we’d like the flight at Orbitz, we got a new screen showing us what our tickets looked like. And what do you know? IT HAD THE WRONG DATES IN A DIFFERENT MONTH. No question on us putting the dates in correctly–there was [sic] two of us filling it out. So we called. And they told us we have a faulty browser or something is wrong with our internet. Right. Definitely our Internet Explorer is faulty, and we are definitely the only people who use it. Or is it our internet service provider who is to blame? Yup, you guessed it: no refund.

-TB

I booked well in advance tickets from Rochester, NY to San Diego, CA.  400 whatever dollars who gives a fuck.  A few days before the flight I check the Orbitz site to get my eticket code and come to find out… MY TICKET HAS BEEN CANCELED. Why?  The connection time was under 40 minutes. Pretty stupid of me right?  WRONG. I typed in Rochester, NY I typed in San Diego, and then the days… and then Orbitz GAVE ME those flights with the under 40 minute connection time.  THEY TOLD ME to make those flights and didn’t let me know that I needed a longer connection time.  Not when I purchased the tickets, and not even by email to let me know there was a problem. So I had to purchase the tickets all over again, but since it was two days before the flight it cost three times as much. A call to customer support gave me the same [crap] you went through.  The stupid broad actually had the nerve to tell me, “You need to be your own travel agent.” I will never book with Orbitz again and applaud your efforts to bring down that sham of a company.

   

Maddox received thousands of emails from people like those above saying that they had emailed Orbitz’s customer service and sworn to never book flights through them.

  

This is the new form letter Orbitz is replying with to people who send them emails regarding this page:

Thank you for your recent e-mail regarding the comments about Orbitz.com which you saw posted on Maddox’s website, http://www.thebestpageintheuniverse.net. We understand your concerns and want to address them in this email.

The problem Maddox describes took place approximately three (3) years ago in May of 2002. As a travel agency, Orbitz displays flight schedules and itineraries obtained directly from the airlines. Each itinerary that we sell meets airline requirements for appropriate “minimum connection times”, including the flights purchased by Maddox.

In his message, Maddox takes great pains to detail his itinerary, but there are significant inaccuracies in the information he provides. He made the point that he was scheduled to arrive in San Jose at 9:39 am and depart from San Francisco at 12:00 noon. His flight was actually scheduled to depart at 12:45 pm so he had a total of 3 hours and 6 minutes to connect to the other airport, as opposed to the 2 hours and 21 minutes he claimed. Regardless of the fact that Maddox’s flight connection was valid, Orbitz offered him a $50 travel voucher as a gesture of goodwill when we were notified of his concerns.

We truly regret Maddox’s disappointing experience from three years ago and any concerns it has raised with our valued customers today. Orbitz elected to change its policy last year to no longer display inter-airport connections, so Maddox’s experience is unlikely to happen to travelers who book with Orbitz today. We’ve made many other upgrades to our website over the past few years and have been recognized by third party industry organizations for our consumer friendly web site and Customer Care program that offer travelers unique value.

We welcome our customers to share feedback on disappointing and positive experiences with our company as we continue our commitment to providing a superior web site and travel experience. Thank you.

Sincerely,
Orbitz.com

  

  

Hmmm, breach of customer confidenciality???

Well that about does it. Can you believe these guys?

DON’T USE ORBITZ.

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13 Responses to “Orbitz Shmorbitz”

  1. Here’s one quick tip for all the online travel sites like travelocity. Pick one and run your search for air, hotel, etc. This will give you an indication of who has availability and is likely the lowest cost.

    So assume you see that Northwest Airlines is the best option. Go directly to NWA.com and you’ll usually find a lower rate and a little more availability. I’ve done this with all airlines, many hotels and several car companies.

    It’s also easier to make changes when you’re dealing direct.

    If you don’t mind paying a few dollars more for someone else to have all the headaches, a good travel agent is still a good option. It takes some time, but if you find a really good one it can be worth it.

  2. Thanks for the tip, Steve! I, too, have found that the airlines themselves sometimes have better deals than the online travel sites.

  3. Should we ever use ORBITZ Travel Service again………may the flees of a thousand Camels settle in my crouch!!!
    To say Orbitz S*#ks would be an understatement!
    Rest assured should you ever need there help after booking with them ……FORGET-IT !!!! They don’t even want to know WHO-YOU-ARE.
    Orbitz booked us in La Royal Hotel, Metz, France, without ever contacting them (the hotel) regarding rooms or services. Had this hotel been within the US. boarders they would be CLOSED!! Exposed plumbing, electrical wires hanging everywhere from nails in the ceiling. Expsoed insulation in the room. No shower curtain. OH!, but they did have soap….
    The hotel advertised a continantial breakfast at 22 Euro’s Per Person…..Hell we’re lucky we got hot water for Tea, and ORBITZ after we contacted them for the second time by cell phone at $1.29 min, and put on hold for over 11 minutes each time …replied, ““well what would like us to do? “”
    SO regarding using the service of Orbitz….THINK TWICE B-4 USE!

  4. What an unfortunate story! Oh, Orbitz….

  5. 5 Amanda Bird

    A similar thing happened to me. I attempted to book a flight on Orbitz and their site froze. I never got an email or confirmation, but later saw two tickets charged to my credit card. I had already booked the two tickets directly with the airline so i ended up with four tickets. Orbitz refused to refund my money and told me to call the airline to “deal with it.” They told me it was my fault and that there sytem “never” makes errors. The airline told me to work with Orbitz to “deal with it.” Talk about hot potato…

    Long story short, Orbitz stole $500 from me. I don;t know what else to call it when someone threatens to call creditors on you if you don’t pay for a product that you never knew you bought in the first place…

  6. What are these people, insane? You’d think they would catch on sooner or later that customer service is a good thing.

  7. 7 Scott

    This site has got to go. I don’t usually write on blog and such, but my hatred for Orbitz runs so deep that I’ll support any effort to bing down this service. NEVER USE ORBITZ – FOR ANYTHING.

    As simple examples, Orbitz changed our flight reservations by more than three hours on one occasion, resulting in a near miss of the flight. We were only able to avoid the near miss because we live in such close proximity to the airport. When I spoke to Orbitz, their only answer was that I was responsible for checking for changes.

    In another incident, I booked a hotel in Asia through them because they offered the lowest rate. When I checked in, the reservation clerk asked me for my “airline employee credentials.” With my dumbfounded look, she explained that the rate I booked was for airline employees only, and since I was not with the airlines, I would pay the lowest available rate. The actual cost was a full 100% above what I had booked. Since I had just completed an 18 hour trans=pacific flight, the idea of searching for another hotel was out of the question. Only later, in the fine print (and in barely understandable English) did is say that the rate was special for airline employees. Shouldn’t this fact be up front when booking?

    Orbitz is deceptive, underhanded and ignorant to the needs f travelers. DO NOT USE THEM. Expedia, Travelocity and the many other options are more exceptional in every possible way.

  8. Orbitz are liars and thieves. claimed 3 out of 7 reservations had different return dates. Charged me $525 to change em then claimed the flight charge had gone up $147 per seat. Their web site had same price when I checked again. Now have to pay $968 extra for their mistake. copy EVERTTHING with these bandits. over an hour with customer service they blamed increases on airlines.Liars AND THIEVES. BOYCOT EM

  9. 9 Laura

    Will do, sir!

  10. I would never use again orbitz for any reason they arrogant, rude and dishonest!!!

    i booked flight reservation from orbitz for 3
    ( myself ,wife and 3 yrs old doughter. ) for 2 months early reservation. after next day they send me an e-mail, that i did not receive, says that my wife and my child “s seats are not available, so after I had with them on the phone literally 1 hour and 30 minutes they did not solved the problem now i have to fly my self where as my wife and child have to fly another plane. never again 0rbitz!!!!!

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