Are Airlines Responsible For Hotels Booked On Their Sites?

A Consumerist reader wrote into us to complain about a horrible experience he had with a hotel in Ft. Lauderdale he booked while making flight reservations on United Airlines’ website.

Writes Bruce:

When we arrived at the hotel, it is absolutely filthy. It looks nothing like the photos on the internet. The person at the front desk was new (his first day), he walked us to a room, but couldn’t open the door, we walked back to the front, he got the person at the hotel next door to help and said they were upgrading us. We went to the room and it was terrible, very old couch with stains all over it, several blinds were missing, the room furniture with dirty and beat up.

Bruce told them the room was unacceptable and they were given one at the neighboring hotel “and that room was as bad or worse… We flipped on the lights and cockroaches scattered.”

He and his family ultimately ended up at another, pricier hotel. Now, because he booked the hotel through their site. he’s asked United to A) refund the frequent flier miles he used to book the original hotel and B) compensate him for the $270 he spent on hotels in the interim.

So is the airline responsible for the quality of the hotel? Looking at the hotel on their site, users only scored it a 2.4 out of 5. A quick search of the hotel on TripAdvisor shows the following headlines for the first few reviews: “Fort Lauderdale Horror — do not go there”, “Establishment should be demolished”, “Disgusting” and “Hell hole.”

When Bruce contacted United, there response was that it was not their problem. Do you agree?