This could end up being very long, and if you don’t really want to hear about it, please feel free to not read ahead. Please don’t read to the end and then leave a comment telling me what I should have done. It’s clearly too late for that. I am pretty much throwing this out there as a last ditch effort, as I have been told by several people that throwing a hissy fit on some social media is a really good way of getting the attention of a company that doesn’t want to pay attention to you, or is trying to avoid your issue as hard as they fucking can. At this point, that’s where I stand with Expedia.
So, as you may know, if you read this blog regularly or follow me on twitter or instagram, I broke my leg in March. It was a massively unfortunate accident, and it derailed several plans about how I was hoping to spend my summer. Initially I had hoped to spend two weeks or so in Portugal over the summer. I have never been to Portugal, and it would have been my second ever trip to “The Continent”, the first being in Paris over New Years. One of the things I was looking forward to doing in Portugal was spending time at the sea, and of course, surfing. When I broke my leg, I knew that a big summer trip was out, and that if I did go anywhere, it would be nowhere near any ocean, so that I would not have to sit and look at it, knowing I couldn’t enjoy it. I did that once before in Kauai. It sucked.
But I did want something to look forward to over the summer, for “after” the injury, when I could walk again. Not something overly taxing, and I didn’t want to be away from home for too long. I decided to look for some place that I had never been, in the United States, where I could I stay in a really nice place, and just kind of be away. In April, I hopped on Expedia, and looked at several cities that I had been curious about, and found a lovely hotel that I was really excited to visit, and so I booked my airfare and hotel for a long weekend in June in Nashville. And at that time, I opted for Expedia’s trip insurance, just in case my leg wasn’t good enough to go.
As the time drew near, I realized that I would be able to make the trip, and I was looking forward to it. I knew it would be a little bit difficult with my leg, but I thought it would a great idea to sit in a beautiful hotel, with my leg up, writing and reading, and whatnot. I bought a ticket to the Grand Ole Opry, just because “when in Rome.”
The only downside of the trip that I booked was that a non-stop wasn’t available, and so in order to make the timing work the way I wanted it to, I booked a red-eye out of San Francisco.
Fast forward to the day of my departure in June. I was mostly packed, just throwing the last of my stuff in my bag, and about to head out the door around 8:30 or so for an 11:30 flight. I was going to get a ride to the train station, and take the BART into the airport, which takes awhile. Just as I was throwing my toothbrush into my bag, double checking my packing list, and putting on my shoes, I got an alert that my flight was cancelled. Thankfully, I hadn’t already left.
I got on the phone, and called the airline. I sat on hold with them for over an hour. At that point, it was getting really late, and I was tired. As I was sitting on hold, I got an email from Expedia saying that I had been rebooked on a flight in the morning, and to call immediately to confirm. I hung up on the airline, and called the number in the email.
When I spoke to the representative over the phone, she said that the airline had booked me already for the 6:00 am flight, which would connect through Dallas, and I wouldn’t get to Nashville until about 6:30 that evening. This meant I would lose a day of my long weekend, I would miss the show at the Grand Ole Opry, and oh yeah, I had no way of getting to the airport by six in the morning, since the BART doesn’t run that early, and it was too late to call for a shuttle to pick me up. I was already exhausted, so I asked about the trip insurance. The representative told me that since it was before the time i had booked the flight to leave, and since the cancellation would be due to the airline (American Airlines, for the record) that I would qualify for a full refund of the hotel and the airfare. I told her that I would like to cancel.
She explained that I would have to wait on the line, because she would have to contact the airline with me on the call to cancel since they had already booked me on the 6 o’clock flight. She put me on hold, and I continued to hold for over an hour, again.
And then I was disconnected.
I called back, and explained my whole situation again, and the person I spoke to said that they would continue to try to get in touch with the airline, and that someone from Expedia would call me back once the airline was on the phone, so that we could complete my cancellation, and get my refund. Meanwhile, they had already processed the hotel cancellation, and I should expect that refund in a few days.
It was close to midnight when I got off the phone. I tried to stay up for a little while, expecting someone from Expedia to call me back. At some point, I fell asleep. They never called me back.
The next morning, I called again. I was placed on hold again. I was disconnected after a long period on hold again. I called back. I was told again that someone would try to get through to the airline, and then call me back, and that I didn’t have to wait on the line, as long as I would be available to take their call. I hung around my apartment all day, waiting for them to call me back. My vacation turned into a staycation, and then it turned into being stuck in my apartment, waiting for a call back. Yes, I could have taken my phone and left the house, but I didn’t want to risk missing the call, so I thought it was best to stay home where I knew I would hear it ring. They never called.
Over the next several days, this cycle repeated. I would call Expedia whenever I knew I had a couple of hours to spare, be put on hold, put the phone on speaker, try to relax and enjoy my time off, eventually get dropped from hold without resolution. I was told almost every day that if I got dropped off the call, they would call me back as soon as they got American Airlines on the phone. That never happened. Finally, a day or two before I had to go back to work, I was told by a supervisor at the call center not to worry about the refund, they would take care of it, I didn’t have to call anymore, I would just get an email in a couple of days to confirm my cancellation and refund.
I waited five business days, and I didn’t hear anything back from Expedia. No phone call. No email. No refund. I called them again from work.
This time I was told something completely different. I was told I would have file a claim with the travel insurance company. This is the first I had heard of another company being responsible. The person I spoke to from Expedia transferred me to the insurance company – Aon Affinity/Berkely Travel.
The representative from the insurance company, after I explained the whole situation, told me that I would not qualify for a refund, based on the policy I had purchased, and that all I could get was a credit from the airline. I was so angry and flustered, and I explained that I had been told exactly the opposite by Expedia. He said I would have to file a claim, and that I would find out what I was eligible for.
I thought that the phone call was what was needed to process the claim. I got an email from the insurance company a few days later, and because I was irritated, I didn’t read it closely. A few weeks later (admittedly, I’m not sure exactly how many weeks), I double-checked the email, and realized that I had been mistaken. I still had to file paperwork in order to get a refund or credit. If someone had said that first night that I had to fill out paperwork, I would have done it then, but at this point, I was tired of dealing with it, and for some reason, kind of embarrassed that it hadn’t been resolved. I shouldn’t have been embarrassed, though. None of this was my fault. I did the responsible thing by purchasing the insurance.
So, it took me awhile to get over all that and fill it out, but I finally did, and I submitted it.
Last week I got a letter from them. According to the letter, the type of travel insurance that I purchased from Expedia at the time that I booked my trip was not provided by their company. The policy I had purchased was Expedia’s own, and they were the responsible party for dealing with my cancellation and refund, and that I should contact Expedia.
I have not tried to contact Expedia. I dread dealing with Expedia. I don’t ever want to deal with them again. Their customer service is a nightmare.
I know now that I should have been taking better notes, getting the names and IDs of all the people I spoke to, and logging the dates and times. I should have stayed more on top of it, instead of putting off dealing with it. I should emailed them, and called them more.
But I already missed my trip. And spent hours of my time dealing with this. I didn’t want to give them any more of my time. I missed my trip, but I thought it would be alright, because at least I could spend the money on something nice for myself.
So, Expedia sucks. American Airlines probably sucks, too. If I could have gotten in touch with them in the first place, I might not have had to cancel my trip at all. I wouldn’t have had to call Expedia at all.
But I’d rather know that Expedia sucks.
Aon Affinity / Berkely Travel isn’t all that great, either, since they could have told me at the beginning that they weren’t the ones who I had purchased the insurance from. How hard could it have been to look that up?
Has anyone else out there had a horrible experience dealing with Expedia and trip cancellations? Or any bad experience with them at all? Let me know about it down in the comments. Let’s vent.
Oh, and for my trip to New Zealand in a few months, I’m booking the hotels and stuff myself. No more Expedia.