Cautionary tale: booking on Orbitz and other third-party 'travel agent' websites

Discussion in 'Newbies' started by harvson3, Apr 10, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. harvson3

    harvson3 Silver Member

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    This post isn't a question. It's advice for those who aren't experienced yet.

    Some weeks ago I found an open-jaw itinerary to Brazil and booked on Orbitz through the UR mall. It was cheap, I got >1200 extra UR points, and all was gravy. The ticket was a TAM codeshare on United, JetBlue, and TAM planes. The itinerary showed up on, so I picked my seats.

    This past Saturday, one week before travel, I noticed this line on under View My Reservations:
    ! A modification has been made to your itinerary. Please contact United Reservations to have your ticket reissued.
    This reservation was ticketed and confirmed on Wed., Apr. 4, 2012 at 7:06 p.m. Central Time.
    I called United, who directed me to TAM, who directed me to Orbitz.
    As far as I can tell, from various sources, TAM cancelled/modified the last leg, and cancelled my ticket. The first United leg also changed slightly, but I gave up waiting on hold to get the complete explanation on its role. I've spent almost four hours on the phone with all three companies to finally switch flights. Orbitz couldn't purchase the same (only slightly modified flights) because we're near the departure date and those flights in those fare classes are now unavailable. It's going to cost us at least $200 to rearrange our schedules for Saturday.
    This is the first time that a booked ticket has been cancelled on me. I have, twice before, made reservations on Orbitz and Expedia that failed to ticket, realizing my mistake only later.
    At no time in this process did I receive an email or phone call from any carrier/website. I really believe that both the carrier and the website could be more active in alerting customers.
    The CSRs at all sites were very patient and helpful; the looped hold music just made my blood pressure rise.
    1. Periodically check your booked itineraries.
    2. Make sure to confirm with the airlines any flights booked on Orbitz/Priceline/Travelocity/Expedia, and make sure that a ticket has been issued.
    3. Re-confirm your flight when you still have adequate time to re-configure plans.
    4. As always, be nice to people on the phone.
    Happy flights!
    cennas, tommy777, wrxmom and 2 others like this.
  2. violist
    Original Member

    violist Gold Member

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    Orbitz is fine until something changes on the supplier end, and there's no
    talking between the two, and, as you can see, all heck breaks loose. Add
    the new UA into the mix and you have a toxic situation indeed.

    Did you put multiple FFNs into your reservation?

    I have a very easy Orbitz ticket - semi-mileage run, outbound UA, inbound
    US. Back in the olden days, Orbitz handled two FFPs okay, but now, as the
    tix was issued 016, the Continental number got plugged into both ends of
    the ticket, which was fine until upgrade time, when I called US to see what
    had gone wrong (no US FFP in the record) and got US to put its number in,
    which it had to "take control of the ticket" to do. But then I couldn't check
    in to the outbound, as it was on UA metal, and it was now controlled by US.
    And I couldn't check in to the inbound (to get priority on the same-day list)
    because it was a UA ticket. Lesson: I should have done two one-ways for
    $20 more.
    wrxmom likes this.
  3. Wandering Aramean
    Original Member

    Wandering Aramean Gold Member

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    Orbitz is your travel agent and they are obligated to make you whole. They should have been able to fix your flights without charging you a higher fare.

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