For years, some have accused America’s largest hotel chains of colluding with travel booking sites like Travelocity, Expedia, Orbitz, and Priceline to make sure that the room rates offered to consumers on these sites are the same. This practice, claimed plaintiffs in various lawsuits, effectively allowed the hotel chains to determine their own prices and kept the booking sites from competing against each other; meaning consumers could be paying more than they should. But a U.S. District Court judge feels differently. [More]
Here’s a tip to hotel managers around the world — Paying for reviews is bad enough. Advertising that you’re willing to pay for positive feedback is only going to communicate to your guests that you run a bad hotel and that you expect them to not have anything nice to say about your establishment. [More]
You know those paranoid sci-fi stories where everything the protagonist thought he knew about reality starts to come apart at the seams and he has to question whether he really is married to Sharon Stone or maybe he’s really trapped on an island with that Hobbit guy? Well, that’s what Orbitz is doing to Devin (well, maybe not the Sharon Stone part). [More]
April called up Orbitz to make a change to part of her flight itinerary, because customers can’t be trusted to handle that kind of thing ourselves, and must speak to a trained customer service representative. The helpful employee she spoke to apparently can’t be trusted to handle reservations, either, because–click!–he canceled the whole thing when she only needed to change part of the reservation. Now she apparently has a large credit with United, when not all of her travel was on United. How wonderfully useless. [More]
Travel reservation site Orbitz says it has data showing that customers who use Apple computers to book their hotel rooms have a tendency to go for pricier rooms, so Orbitz has just gone ahead and decided that when Mac users visit Orbitz, they will see more expensive options first. [More]
Orbitz has been slapped with a $60,000 fine by the Dept. of Transportation because the travel site violated federal laws that require clear disclosure of taxes and fees associated with airfares. [More]
Isn’t it just so cute when big companies get back together after a breakup? Four months after Expedia expunged American Airlines fare and schedule information from its online listings, the two foes have announced the listings will be restored to Expedia and its affiliate Hotwire. [More]
Things are starting to get ugly in the battle between airlines and travel-booking websites. Less than one week after American Airlines pulled its listings from Orbitz.com, Delta has announced its flights will no longer be listed on three other sites. [More]
In a contract tussle, American Airlines has removed all of its fares from Orbitz. [More]
Online “marketing” company Webloyalty has settled with the New York AG for $5.2 mil. You know how when you buy movie tickets and at the end it says, “You won a free $10 gift certificate!” And then if you read the small print it says that if you accept the gift certificate you get signed up for a discount club that charges a monthly fee? Yeah, that was their game. [More]
One thing that always has mildly irked me about searching for airfare is all the ads. Do you want to look complete the same search through one of our partner sites? Do you want to add on a hotel? Yadda yadda, just gimmie da plane! Da plane! Well now you can strip away all that gimcrack and tomfoolery and go directly to Matrix, the software that powers sites like Orbitz, Kayak, FareCompare, and Hotwire. [More]
This morning, travel service Expedia announced it will abandon its book by phone fee, which it first implemented last May. This makes it the only major online travel agency to not ding customers with a fee for booking flights over the phone, notes consumer travel advocate Christopher Elliott.
Austin bought two tickets to Aruba last December. By the end of February, Orbitz had changed his itinerary so many times that now they were only flying him as far as Atlanta, and 11 days later were flying him back from Aruba—it was apparently up to him to get from Atlanta to Aruba in the first place. At this point, the only option was to request a refund, which Orbitz said would take 60 days. Two months later, Orbitz told Austin that they’ll give him his money back in 60 days. We’re pretty sure that’s 120 days total, and there’s still no guarantee Austin will see his money.
Ryan’s wife is currently traveling alone with their 3-month-old son on the way to an unexpected funeral near Salt Lake, Utah. Despite the fact that she paid for the rental up front as part of an Orbitz package, the local Hertz jerks are refusing to give her the car unless she goes to an ATM and brings back $200 cash, which they say they will mail back in check form a few weeks after she returns the car. Even Hertz says this isn’t their policy, but they can’t seem to stay on the phone long enough to help Ryan and his wife.
You’d think a whole bus is hard to hide but Orbitz had no problem trying to sneak one past Harry McCracken when he was booking a flight to Las Vegas. He noticed at checkout there was a $14 ground transportation fee that had been “added for [his] convenience.” Paging backwards, tucked in a list of about 40 upgrades and local attractions was a $14 bus fee. The tricky part was that all the others were opt-in and this one was opt-out. Naughty Orbitz, trying to sneak a bus onto an airplane!
You won’t get the best deal booking your hotel room through third-party sites like Expedia or Travelocity, according to an anonymous hospitality industry insider. Inside, four excellent reasons to book directly with a hotel to guarantee the best rooms at the best prices.