Expedia Itinerary modified to a different one than promised

  • Hi Guest, welcome to the help forum. You can get fast answers to your customer service questions here. We have a dedicated team of advocates who are ready to help. Just go to the section that matches your question and ask us!
  • If you've posted a question or issue for our advocates to assist with, please be sure to check back frequently for responses and requests for clarification.
  • Did you know you can get email notifications when something new posts to your favorite forum? It's easy. Just click the "watch" link right next to the "post new thread" button at the top of your favorite forum. The rest is easy. Now you'll never miss another conversation.
  • Want to become an expert user? Drop by the How to use this forum section and all will be revealed. We'll show you how to make the most of your experience.
Dec 16, 2019
14
15
3
48
Hello. I'm not a newbie to travel and have been following Elliott.org for awhile now, but even with all the warnings, I got involved with Expedia. The reason? $500 cheaper than booking direct with the airline.
I booked flights to the Maldives for my family of 4 for spring break. The departure day is Monday, as my kids have a mandatory sports tournament to end their season on Saturday. The trip leaves from LAX which is not even in the state we live in. I planned to fly down to LAX on Sunday, giving us an extra day to be sure we don't have any problems.
The glitch? Last week I got an email from Expedia telling me my flight had been changed. Looking online, the new itinerary had us laying over in Shanghai for multiple days, cutting short our "real" vacation. The options were: accept this itinerary or call us. So, I called. I was offered a 1pm flight the day before (Sunday). Totally out of my comfort zone, but better than cancelling the trip. It could not be confirmed at that time (something about the airline not answering their phone), so I was to receive a phone call the next day. Nothing about the pending new itinerary in my online reservation, so no way to double check the times/dates. The phone message the next day stated that my 1pm flight had been confirmed.
I check my online itinerary - NOPE! - it's a 1am flight (so basically Saturday). Literally impossible to make. :(
I have spent more than 3 hours on the phone with various Expedia people after the change. The first promised to fix things, then couldn't get a hold of the airline and never called me.
The second said that since I agreed to the "change" agent, I am liable for any costs with a change of itinerary. I insisted on speaking with a supervisor (unavailable) and no one called me back. Today, I finally tried again, only to be told (after reaching a supervisor) that since I agreed to the new itinerary, it's all on me.
I'm just so upset. I was not offered a way to rebook on my own, or I totally would have.
Lessons learned: don't rebook based on verbal report from the agent; is $500 worth it? - stick with the airlines directly.

Is it worth trying to escalate this somehow? I DO have a recording of the "change" agent leaving me a message about my 1 pm flight (that doesn't exist). Flight prices have jumped up drastically. It was $1800 for all 4 of us originally! Now flights are $1000 apiece. Change fees as charged by the airline add up to $500 per person. I understand Expedia doesn't want to eat this cost, but I don't think we can even make this new itinerary....
 

VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
3,453
4,218
113
the United States
This is worth escalating in my opinion. If you do, I recommend that you reference the recording that proves the offer.

I see that you have already concluded that you should book directly, but I want to point out something that furthers that logic. The cancellation rules established by the DOT do not apply to travel agencies like Expedia. These "OTAS" may choose to comply, but they are not obliged to do so.

When things go wrong, the weaknesses of intermediaries are quickly revealed . . .

Some do's and don'ts when writing
Do not use inflammatory language - be polite, as that increases the likelihood of success
Do not attach files - their email system may discard your email before anyone reads it
Do not start with the CEO - begin at the lowest level in the company contacts shown here: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/expedia/
Present a brief summary (list) and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level
 
Jul 13, 2016
479
975
93
57
Is it possible that you mis-heard 1am as 1pm. I suspect the agent may have given you the correct info in the message, and then you called back and accepted the 1 o'clock flight, not realizing it was 1am. When I am faced with a similar situation, I always check the airline's schedule to see if there is a better alternative--that would have also shown me that there was no 1pm flight on Sunday.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Pixie Pie and VoR61
Dec 16, 2019
14
15
3
48
This is worth escalating in my opinion. If you do, I recommend that you reference the recording that proves the offer.

I see that you have already concluded that you should book directly, but I want to point out something that furthers that logic. The cancellation rules established by the DOT do not apply to travel agencies like Expedia. These "OTAS" may choose to comply, but they are not obliged to do so.

When things go wrong, the weaknesses of intermediaries are quickly revealed . . .

Some do's and don'ts when writing
Do not use inflammatory language - be polite, as that increases the likelihood of success
Do not attach files - their email system may discard your email before anyone reads it
Do not start with the CEO - begin at the lowest level in the company contacts shown here: https://www.elliott.org/company-contacts/expedia/
Present a brief summary (list) and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level

Thanks for your reply. When you say "reference the recording" - do you mean offer to send a file to them if requested?
 
Dec 16, 2019
14
15
3
48
Is it possible that you mis-heard 1am as 1pm. I suspect the agent may have given you the correct info in the message, and then you called back and accepted the 1 o'clock flight, not realizing it was 1am. When I am faced with a similar situation, I always check the airline's schedule to see if there is a better alternative--that would have also shown me that there was no 1pm flight on Sunday.
Yes, I did consider that I may have misunderstood my first phone call with the change agent - my original flight was 12:XXpm, so 01:XXpm made total sense to me. I had not thought to research departures before calling to rebook - it was the holidays and I was pinched for time. Since the problem was in the middle leg, I thought that I might end up with complete reroutings. But, ultimately, I do have a recording with the agent saying 1pm.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,697
10,485
113
San Francisco
I hope that this can get worked out with Expedia. As more and more people make arrangements on a device, with little research, often in a hurry, not knowing who they're dealing with, I'm afraid that we will see many more issues like yours. I'd definitely start planting the seeds with the family to consider skipping the sporting event so you can make the flights as now booked. Surely you can't throw away a whole trip and all that money for a game.

Meanwhile, do your own research to see what alternative flights might be available that would work. You're often dealing with low-level people at an online booking service, and you might be able to help them find something for you. The idea of an airline "not answering the phone" is ridiculous; they've been paid a nice commission and need to help you. It might be possible to pay an experienced travel agent to help you put together something that you can present to Expedia and "help" them do their jobs. Good luck and please let us know what transpires.
 
Dec 16, 2019
14
15
3
48
I hope that this can get worked out with Expedia. As more and more people make arrangements on a device, with little research, often in a hurry, not knowing who they're dealing with, I'm afraid that we will see many more issues like yours. I'd definitely start planting the seeds with the family to consider skipping the sporting event so you can make the flights as now booked. Surely you can't throw away a whole trip and all that money for a game.

Meanwhile, do your own research to see what alternative flights might be available that would work. You're often dealing with low-level people at an online booking service, and you might be able to help them find something for you. The idea of an airline "not answering the phone" is ridiculous; they've been paid a nice commission and need to help you. It might be possible to pay an experienced travel agent to help you put together something that you can present to Expedia and "help" them do their jobs. Good luck and please let us know what transpires.
Thanks! I know I shoulder some of the blame since I didn't research before I called for alternate flights. We can't skip the sporting event - it's the state championships, my daughter is a senior in high school and she is up for nomination to accept a scholarship that will be announced at that event. It's really a no-go. We can't skip it. There's a VERY small chance that her events will be in the morning only and then everything will be fine, but they usually announce the schedule one week prior!!

When I booked the flight, I DID think about insurance, etc. And I decided it was worth the risk. And sometimes I have to eat the cost when things don't work out. I'm just upset that they told me the time wrong. Because I would have known to pick a different flight then.

The airline not answering the phone per Expedia happened twice and it was over the New Years holiday, so maybe they were super busy?...

Lastly, I knew I was in trouble when I talked with the second agent who told me my new flight would arrive the same day as it left - when we are traveling east to west over the international date line. He would not acknowledge there was a change in date.
 
Nov 22, 2019
127
165
43
I know it should be frustrating but try to call over and over until someone is helpful, and be calm with the agent over the phone, they probably get angry customer everyday! Can you change your incoming flight to LAX?
What I don't understand is :"laying over in Shanghai for multiple days", is it a multiple city trip that you bought? It doesn't matter anymore I guess but I was curious. Also some companies (Delta, Alaska) have a policy of pricematching other OTAs, I don't know for non US companies.
 
  • Like
Reactions: jsn55

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
22,908
22,853
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
I know it should be frustrating but try to call over and over until someone is helpful, and be calm with the agent over the phone, they probably get angry customer everyday! Can you change your incoming flight to LAX?
What I don't understand is :"laying over in Shanghai for multiple days", is it a multiple city trip that you bought? It doesn't matter anymore I guess but I was curious. Also some companies (Delta, Alaska) have a policy of pricematching other OTAs, I don't know for non US companies.
In 18 years of being a travel agent I have never seen an airline price match an OTA.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Patina and VoR61
Aug 29, 2018
258
308
63
59
Is it possible that you mis-heard 1am as 1pm. I suspect the agent may have given you the correct info in the message, and then you called back and accepted the 1 o'clock flight, not realizing it was 1am. When I am faced with a similar situation, I always check the airline's schedule to see if there is a better alternative--that would have also shown me that there was no 1pm flight on Sunday.
Without knowing the exact dates of the tip, I went to look at flightstats to see what flights might be at 1PM vs 1AM... This past week, there were no flights at 1AM but UA 198 flies daily at 12:50PM from LAX to PVG.

I could not determine the original departure airport for the original poster (except it is "out of state" from LAX.) . But I wonder why the OP didn't attempt to book the trip on one PNR; it might still have been re-routed because an airline changed it schedule, but the OP might have had a better sense of whether the re-routing would work for the trip. Further, there might have been more options for re-routing instead of being locked into LAX.
 
Dec 16, 2019
14
15
3
48
My flight to LAX would come from PDX. Booking on one itinerary added $600 to the trip. I was planning to use miles.

My itinerary from LAX is one layover in Shanghai. both ways. China Eastern changed it to over 48 hours layover on the way over (cancelled the Maldives flight) that day.

So, last night, after discussing with family, I tried looking for an alternate cheap itinerary. I can find one leaving on Tuesday at 12:30pm (my original schedule one day later!), layover in Shanghai, coming back on my same flights. It's currently $591 which is pretty close to what I paid. Not able to make changes online.

I called Expedia - first person this time couldn't even locate the flights I was asking for. Found me flights that cost $4000 in change fees.
Called again later using a number I googled - randomly had a supervisor pick up. Even the new cheap itinerary I found would be close to $400 per person in change fees and would lose us one day.

BUT this supervisor was totally on my side - he offered to escalate things and have the recording of what the agent told me listening to. We'll see what happens...

In the meantime, I'm planning a fully refundable alternate trip for spring break in case this one doesn't work out.
 
Dec 16, 2019
14
15
3
48
Well, Expedia sent me a denial email insisting that they "followed correct process" when booking my changed flight. They did not address the fact they told me the wrong times in a recording!
I will not be paying their change fees to rebook my outgoing flight - I don't trust them to do it correctly. They couldn't even find the itinerary I wanted one of the times I called! I've already spent 9 hours on this on the phone and countless hours of worry. This is how big travel companies win - people just give up the fight.
I will be starting my letter campaign to executives asking for a refund. I haven't cancelled the trip outright yet though - I don't know whether that would help me or hurt me. Suggestions?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
22,908
22,853
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
This is why we advise you book directly with the airline. There are often changes in air schedules when you book and if you had booked direct- you could easily have canceled the flight if there was a substantial change.

For now- you’ll have to wait for a response from the executives at Expedia. Only write to the first executive and give him a week to reply. Move up weekly. Start immediately- don’t waste time.
 
Dec 19, 2014
626
1,723
93
48
The real issue isn't Expedia per se, but the mere fact that you are trying to fit an itinerary with limited flight schedules into a very tight time frame.
Male is a destination that may only have 1 flight a day and sometimes not every day. So, rerouting options are few and far between.
Compounding the issue, you are then flying to LAX, and on a separate ticket.

I don't fault travelers from using Expedia. But, as this case highlights, on itineraries with limited scheduled flights, working with Expedia can be difficult.

What is your financial penalty if you cancel the trip to Male and look for an alternative destination? vs What is the financial penalty of making any changes to the itinerary? vs Waiting until you hear from an Expedia executive?
 
Dec 16, 2019
14
15
3
48
The real issue isn't Expedia per se, but the mere fact that you are trying to fit an itinerary with limited flight schedules into a very tight time frame.
Male is a destination that may only have 1 flight a day and sometimes not every day. So, rerouting options are few and far between.
Compounding the issue, you are then flying to LAX, and on a separate ticket.

I don't fault travelers from using Expedia. But, as this case highlights, on itineraries with limited scheduled flights, working with Expedia can be difficult.

What is your financial penalty if you cancel the trip to Male and look for an alternative destination? vs What is the financial penalty of making any changes to the itinerary? vs Waiting until you hear from an Expedia executive?
Canceling the trip - I assume lose my original cost (total $1800) - change the schedule, have been quoted $1600-2000 total. Same as my original cost. I can buy a new itinerary for $2400, again, only available through Expedia, booking through the airline costs $3400.

I keep wavering between cancelling my flight and asking for a refund (not a strong position to complain from but shows how badly I was impacted by the misquote of time by the agent) or maintaining the tickets hoping that China Eastern will re-route my trip again on their side, allowing me to made changes. Advice on this part? I really would like the best chance to recover (refund) or use (free re-book) my original $$
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
22,908
22,853
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Canceling the trip - I assume lose my original cost (total $1800) - change the schedule, have been quoted $1600-2000 total. Same as my original cost. I can buy a new itinerary for $2400, again, only available through Expedia, booking through the airline costs $3400.

I keep wavering between cancelling my flight and asking for a refund (not a strong position to complain from but shows how badly I was impacted by the misquote of time by the agent) or maintaining the tickets hoping that China Eastern will re-route my trip again on their side, allowing me to made changes. Advice on this part? I really would like the best chance to recover (refund) or use (free re-book) my original $$
As a travel agent I would never offer an opinion on your two choices you give. None of us has a crystal ball to predict what the airline will or won’t do. I never had a change at all when I flew China Eastern so hoping for a schedule change isn’t anything I would hang my hat on. If you had written proof or had a recording of the conversation with the agent to be able to prove they told you the wrong time - you might be able to get them to refund but without that you are the only one who can decide how much you can lose by canceling.
 
  • Like
Reactions: ADM and VoR61
Dec 16, 2019
14
15
3
48
I sent an email to executive contact #1 requesting a refund. In the meantime, China Eastern DID just change my flights AGAIN! I am unable to cancel online. :(
I will call Expedia and see if I can cancel now that the airline has AGAIN changed my itinerary.