Alexandros received an update from Orbitz about his trip and realized that United had changed the time of his flight. For various reasons he couldn’t make the new time, so he was lucky to have caught it—not to mention he could have missed the flight entirely had he not seen the change.
Orbitz sent me an email to remind me of an upcoming trip. What they and United Airlines failed to mention was that the flight had been rescheduled. It now departed 40 minutes prior to the originally scheduled time. I immediately called Orbitz to find my rights with United as far as getting to the airport in time.
I live outside of DC and do not have a car. As such, I booked the flight so I could take public transportation, rather than take a $50+ taxi ride. The 9:00 flight would the the very latest I could leave and still make it to the airport. Thus, those 40 minutes made the world of difference.
Orbitz said they could contact the airline for me to see what could happen. After being on hold for a few minutes, Orbitz informed me they could rebook me on another flight. This is where United decided to continue to make everything worse. They tried to book me on a flight that would change my air travel time from 2.5 hours (direct) to 6.5 hours (1 connection). I then suggested they give me a flight that leaves from the other airport in DC that would drop the time down to 5.5 hours. I will be carrying food so time is of the essence. It was a different initial flight, but the connecting flight would be the same. United said this change was not available to me. I kept insisting for a further explanation. After they refused to give it to me a few times, they finally caved in.
While in the process of trying to book me on the flight, the Orbitz representative kept coming back on the line saying they were still in the process. After being on the phone for 53 minutes, I asked her to just call me back. Oribtz was wonderful in calling me back promptly. The only problem is she came back saying United wanted $33 to change the flight since it would be leaving in a different airport. The reasoning was based on the change in the ticket price. I refused and suggested they pay for my taxi instead. Orbitz is still having trouble negotiating with United to even pay for the taxi. I will send an update as it becomes available.
In this whole ordeal, Carmela from Orbitz has been very patient and courteous. She has also been wonderful at calling me back. I hope she can help me work everything out.
A little while later, Alexandros wrote back in with an update:
United decided not to charge me the fee and gave me the flight. It is very strange to me that they would have tried in the first place. I was very patient with Orbitz in the whole process and was even willing to more than double my travel time. It would have been much easier for me if United just paid for my taxi. I was trying to be flexible to ensure I reached my destination. United made the whole process difficult and stressful.
The moral of this story: stay up-to-date on your flight information, and be prepared to spend some time fixing any problems the carrier might cause; with any luck, and a helpful CSR, your perseverance will pay off.