Answer: Cara should have been able to check her baggage all the way through to Munich, no questions asked. When you phoned Travelocity, they should have given you a straight answer about why that wasn’t possible and helped you and your fiancee figure out a solution.
But neither she, nor her father, Robert, examined the schedule closely. If they had, they’d have noticed a small notation: “Airport change from New York La Guardia (LGA) to New York J F Kennedy International Airport (JFK).”
That’s right. Dawkins would have to take a cab across town.
Travelocity seems to be doing well despite a depressed travel industry. How has good customer service contributed to your company’s recent performance?
Thanks, Chris, for the vote of confidence. Our customer service team has come a long way since introducing the Travelocity Guarantee four years ago and by remaining committed to its principles, I think we’ve helped the company’s bottom line. Plus, our ongoing investment in training our agents on how to best support customers through all kinds of scenarios has paid dividends.
Answer: Travelocity should have issued a prompt refund for the new airline tickets you had to buy. Actually, it shouldn’t have come to this at all. As your online travel agent, it should have ensured you were rebooked on another flight — just like it promised.
Traffic to the three major online travel agencies — Expedia, Orbitz and Travelocity — is trending upward, as bargain-hunters snap up discounted airline tickets, hotel rooms and rental cars. It helps that the agencies eliminated some of their booking fees a few months ago.
Expedia’s bounce (in blue) is the most dramatic, with traffic levels markedly higher than it was at this point a in 2008. The other two OTAs (Orbitz in yellow and Travelocity in green) are holding steady, versus last July’s levels.
You might think that rebounding traffic would translate into an upward stock price. Not necessarily.
Question: I’m writing to you on behalf of my roommate, who is serving overseas in the Navy. She recently paid $1,767 for tickets from Bahrain to Atlanta for two weeks of R&R. Her online travel agency, Travelocity, had to issue a paper ticket because the two airlines she’s flying — Gulf Air and Delta Air Lines — don’t have a ticketing agreement.
But the tickets never arrived. She contacted Travelocity, which told her to buy a new ticket and file a lost ticket application. She paid for new tickets and flew back to the States. But when she asked Delta for a refund, they turned her down because she had gotten paper tickets through Travelocity.
After a few more phone calls and emails between her, Delta and Travelocity, she realized that no one was going to refund her money. So she disputed the charges for the first ticket on her credit card — and won.
Kohlman and his wife had booked a package through Travelocity that included flights, car rental, and a week-long stay at The Fairmont Banff Springs. But things took a turn for the worse when they checked in for their flight in Sacramento.
Q: I think I get it. It takes a gnome to remind us that there’s no shortage of deals this summer. Get it? Shortage?
Roaming Gnome: Oh, I get it alright. Very funny, Chris, but don’t you know that the best things come in small packages? Let’s see you try and fit snugly into the overhead baggage compartment, shall we? And besides, my pointy red hat adds at least another couple of inches to my height.
Question: I’ve been having some problems with an airline reservation, and was wondering if you could help me. I recently had to cancel a reservation I had made through Travelocity. I spent eight hours on the phone with their incompetent customer service agents trying to use the credit I received to reschedule another flight on the same airline.
Travelocity finally gave me a flight and a confirmation number, but when I checked the airline Website, it hadn’t been ticketed yet. I don’t want to get to the airport and find we have no tickets and can’t fly. I spoke to Travelocity about this again last night, and was promised an email “within four to eight hours” with a resolution. I haven’t received a response.
Travelocity has charged my credit card $2,700 for tickets I don’t have. I can’t deal with its customer service department again. I’m at my wits end. Help! — Martha Schmidt, Sykesville, Md.
Answer: Travelocity should have changed your reservation quickly instead of keeping you on the phone for eight hours. When it promised you a response within four hours, it should have given you one.
At this point in my answer, I normally outline Travelocity’s missteps and then suggest a few things you might have done differently. But let me start with you this time.
Based on your letter — the fact that you preferred talking to someone on the phone instead of dealing with a Website — I think you may have booked your airline tickets through the wrong company. Travelocity is an online travel agency. That means for best results, reserve your trip through Travelocity.com.
You could have canceled your reservation online by clicking on the “Your Account” link at the top of the home page, logging in, selecting “Check Current Reservation” and then clicking “Cancel Reservation.”
If you don’t want to do that, why not use a travel agent next time? Sure, a human agent might charge a booking fee, and may not always have the lowest price, but that person will be there when you need to make a change. You will almost certainly not have to talk to a company representative for eight hours.
That’s not to say anything Travelocity did was excusable. Its well-publicized “guarantee” would leave any reasonable traveler with the impression that problems are dealt with quickly. “If something isn’t right, don’t let it ruin your trip,” it says. “Call us immediately instead! We’re here 24/7 to work with our partners to make it right, right away. Our customer care professionals are ready to help.”
I guess it all depends what your definition of “right away” is.
I asked Travelocity to take another look at your case. When you first contacted Travelocity by phone to apply the unused tickets to a new itinerary, the company didn’t receive a confirmation from the airline. Travelocity rebooked a similar itinerary with nonstop flights on a separate reservation, which accounted for the delay. “In the spirit of the Travelocity Guarantee, we waived our exchange fees on both bookings,” a company representative told me.