Cities and suburbs, real and imaginary.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Expedia Sucks.

I spoke to two individuals on the phone with Expedia while trying to resolve a major booking error that left me stranded.

I spoke to two people on the phone about it, both of them were so incredibly rude I was amazed they worked in customer service.

They talked to me like I was a five year old, and used demeaning tones of voice and did not do anything to help me with my situation. The situation was misreading a "0" for an "8", one time in November, likely off my iPhone screen. As everyone who knows me knows, even on a large computer screen, I read with giant glasses because I am practically blind. In the process in place, at no other time would any sane, rational human being have been able to discover there was a mistake with the dates, as that one e-mail is the only e-mail they send, and the only contact I recieved until I found out my flight had been cancelled.

Looking back over other Expedia flights, I used to receive this 24 hour advance notice of a pending flight. What happened to that? Did my spam filter eat it, or did they just stop sending those because they're actually trying to be unhelpful, and strand people? Seriously, Expedia, spam filters do eat e-mails with HTML from time to time. It just happens. When regular customers call with major booking errors, it is very, very rude to assume I am lying when I'm saying that I had to call and confirm with the airline and heard nothing about my return flights - as I did not think I needed to ask about flights ten days away.

Expedia, I boo at you. BOO! HISS!

I had no other opportunity to realize this was in error until I received e-mails telling me I had been canceled out of flights I didn't even know where happening, oh, and now I am stranded in Portland.

After my very unpleasant experience with Expedia, I took a deep breath and called the airline itself. The airline, at least, acknowledged that I had already purchased one ticket, and should probably receive credit for that.

How bad was Expedia's customer service? The guy at the airline, itself a discount airline - US Air - was actually helpful in resolving the issue, polite, professional, and pleasant. You have to have pretty bad customer service to be outdone by an airline.

Boo Expedia! Boo!

The supervisor I spoke to on the phone was named Darcy, and I really don't understand why she felt it necessary to be so rude to me. Does she have any empathy for my situation, where I am suddenly stranded in the middle of Maine, and looking at shelling out a couple hundred bucks to fix something I didn't know was a problem until it exploded?

Also, Expedia, where was your confirmation e-mail? You know, the only e-mail I see in my inbox between purchasing the tickets is one trying to sell me incredible cruise deals(?). It is no surprise to me at all that a spam filter would pick that up as spam. Because it is. THat's why I pushed the spam button. And that's probably why your confirmation e-mail has already been lost to the aether as spam. Because you've been sending me lots of unwanted spam. (You realize, expedia that affects my ability to receive important e-mails from you, yes? Like if I get about twenty e-mails from someone about their attempts to sell me spoons, I'm probably not going to get the one about how my hamster just died. Because, at this point, I'm shouting "SPOOOON SPAAAAM" to this hypothetical e-mail person and dumping it into the very intuitive filters that keep me from getting such things as incredible discounts on cruises <- which I absolutely hate as the worst vacation idea, ever.)

Anyway, that is where I found the last e-mail I ever got from your company, by the way, until I got a cancellation: in my spam folder. The only other e-mail I have from Expedia is trying to sell me a cruise. And there's no flight information at all included in that e-mail.

Frankly, I'm amazed the cancellation e-mail made it through the spam filter.

This sounds very ranty, and it is a bit of a rant, but please bear in mind this is about Expedia, and not US Air, and that it is not only resolved, but I am amused and smirking while I rant because I am amazed at how Expedia seemed to do everything they could, at every step, to make my trip awful, scary, and more expensive.

My experience with US Air was this. I called them. I pounded the zero button three times, like some kind of summon human ritual, until I got a human. The human connected me to another human who could solve my problem. The problem was fixed, immediately, politely, professionally, etc. If I hadn't had the experience with Expedia, I would be posting a lovely note about how the airlines are such nice people, and isn't it nice to know they're looking out for travelers.

And let me do that now. The airlines are basically nice people who are doing what they can to look out for travelers. (Except for those silly check-bag-fees... But when I was checking in and my bag was a couple pounds overweight, the guy at the counter let me repack my bags to at least try and get a little closer to the scale's margin of error, and he even urged me to do so, and even let me slide a little on the weight at no extra cost because he was basically a nice person who was doing what he could for travelers... So, kudos airline!)

Boo Expedia. Boo.


Patrice Sarath said...

may I send all my empathy your way because that truly sounds like an utter disaster. But pounding zero and calling it the "summon human ritual" is so completely fantastic that I am smiling, even though I want to go all HULK SMASH! on Expedia on your behalf. So no HULK SMASH! from me, sorry!

rmoraes23 said...

Expedia is the subprime of travel agencies. They sell rotten air tickets and I´ll tell you why. Me and my wife bought tickets to Rome and back, with a stopover on the return trip. When I tried to choose seats assignments with the airline they told me it wasn´t possibile because the connection time on the stopover was invalid, which means it was too short and the air company would never sell such a ticket and therefore couldn´t make any alterations. I called expedia and they lied to my face saying it was a valid connection time and that they had booked seats for us. Imagine my surprise when we sat separately on the plane and didn´t make the connecting flight on our way back...

Chris said...

I receive email promotions that I wanted to stop, but Expedia doesn't allow you to opt out of their email promotions online. This should be illegal by itself. So I tried to close my account, which they also don't allow you to do online. You have to call. When you call you wait. A woman says she can't help you close your account, she needs to put her supervisor on. You wait. On comes the supervisor. She also, cannot help you close your account. She has to put her manager on. You wait. And wait. Remember, this is just to close an account, nothing else. After 15 minutes, a 3rd comes on and after some mindless chit chat, finally, you are honored by being allowed to not be harassed by irrelevant email promotions or wait almost an hour to transact the simplest of tasks. Thanks, Expedia for not missing a final opportunity to waste my time.