Yesterday, a travel blogger figured out that by changing United Airlines’ online booking page to Denmark, travelers could take advantage of what appeared to be a crazy conversion rate to buy super cheap tickets between London and Newark. But what do they say when something seems too good to be true? Yup. It probably is: United now says it won’t be honoring those fares, blaming a third-party software provider. [More]
Over at Elliott.org a reader has sent in a screenshot from a recent attempt to book a discounted hotel room in Venice. The price was supposed to be $375 a night marked down from $537. It seemed like a good deal until he saw the taxes and fees…
Continental thought 82 minutes was plenty of time for Chris to catch a flight connecting in Newark from Washington to Delhi. It might be, but Continental’s own data show that the Washington flight arrives late 96% of the time by 103 minutes on average. Chris wanted to switch to an earlier flight so he could make the once-daily plane to Delhi, but Continental wouldn’t let him switch unless he paid a $250 change fee. Unsatisfied with the answer, Chris hung up and kept calling back until he got the answer he wanted.
If you’ve been avoiding the big travel websites because of their booking fees, you might want to reconsider. Orbitz, Travelocity and Expedia have all stopped charging airline booking fees until May 31.
Reader Mike has lots of frequent flier miles that he’d like to cash in with Continental Airlines. As he found out, this is extremely difficult. Here’s an email he sent to the CEO of Continental, Larry Kellner:
American Airlines told Justin that they could not accept his American Airlines credit card due to a bug in their spiffy new booking system. Justin wanted to charge a trip to Disney World on the card, which unlike standard credit cards, is supposed to work exclusively for purchasing tickets with American Airlines.
Orbitz Worldwide, Travelocity and Priceline.com users can now book flights on JetBlue. [BusinessWeek]
Two weeks before our departure, American contacted me and said it needed to rebook me because of a scheduling change. My new itinerary had me flying on SN Brussels Airlines instead of Swiss. I asked if I needed new paper tickets and was told “no.”
We’re not saying the rest of you are dumb, but when physicists from CalTech can’t manage to make travel arrangements without getting stuck with hundreds of dollars in “change fees,” there might be a problem with the website. And by problem we might mean “scam.” And by scam, we might mean, “policies designed to increase fees by being deliberately confusing and overly restrictive.” In this case, Sean, a Senior Research Associate in the Department of Physics at the California Institute of Technology, was trying to book a new ticket with money from a credit on a previously canceled ticket, which is much harder than identifying the unified field theory.
Reader Adam L’s most unsavory experience at a Santa Cruz Travelodge this week included:
Even with Orbitz’s notoriously inept customer service – behind that facade of campy commercials and flash games, there’s…more facade – this is a new one. Reader Missdona booked a room at the Bellagio hotel last week. Yesterday, the price dropped $20. She tried to lock in the lower rate but was unable to online and the phone people consistently put her on long hold only to disconnect her or refused to help. She decides to cancel and book with the hotel direct. A phone rep tells her that cancelling will cost $25.
Here’s an interesting phenomenon, Dave writes in about his experience buying a flight through Expeida.