Orbitz Tries To Sneak Bus Onto Plane (Ticket)

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!

Orbitz Sales Tactics: “Convenient!” And Sleazy! [Technologizer]


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  1. dragonfire81 says:

    Opt-out things like this are dirty, dirty tricks. I wonder how many people have been caught offguard by this before.

    It’s pretty sad that we live in an age where you have to read through every last bit of fine print to make sure you aren’t getting screwed one way or another.

    On a side note, I never use Orbitz. I hate that site.

  2. Darrone says:

    Most travel sites do this, at least for vegas (just booked a trip).

  3. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    If they had sent him something in the mail that he didn’t order, and then charged him for it, he would be legally entitled to keep it as a gift. Maybe we should think about imposing a rule like that for these dirty-trick situations.

    • bonzombiekitty says:

      @speedwell, avatar of snark: While I think it’s an annoying trick to get people to pay for stuff, you still have an obligation to look through all your charges before you approve the transaction. It’s not as though you approved the transaction, and THEN they hit you with another charge for a service you didn’t want. If you approve the transaction, and the charge is listed there, it’s ultimately your fault.

  4. GTI2.0 says:

    and Gray Line, for the most part, sucks. They do everything in their power to ensure that you end up taking a cab even though you’ve prepaid for their vouchers.

    They once insisted on picking me up *4* hours before a flight (at 4:30am) even though I was less than 15 minutes from the airport. I said no thanks and ended up having to eat a cab ride.

    Never again.

    • HRHKingFridayXX says:

      @GTI2.0: To add on to that, don’t purchase tickets for any shuttles or cabs in advance. You’ll have a whole afternoon of waiting to check in, so waiting for a cab or shuttle isn’t a big deal. Just remember to pick up some cash before you leave the airport.

      Also, with shuttles you never know how many other stops you’ll make before they let you out. When I took one, we were the last ones after about a dozen other hotel stops totalling at least 30 minutes.

      • gStein_*|bringing starpipe back|* says:

        @HRHKingFridayXX: when i was at school in florida (Eckerd College) there was a shuttle service called SuperShuttle that came to the campus and dropped us off at the airport.
        no other stops, because there were enough kids that used the service that we could fill a van. (i think they also gave us a discount, $20 each way)

        • HRHKingFridayXX says:

          @Gstein: I’ve taken the supershuttle as well, but not in an area with only a few points of interest. I live in the DC area, and for some reason they can never organize things so that the shuttle is filled with all students from the same school. Oh no, you had to go to almost every school and then it was off to BWI.

          But, they are very punctual and reliable. I will give them that.

      • valthun says:

        @HRHKingFridayXX: a lot of hotels have free shuttles too, check with the hotel you are staying at for details. Although those places are fairly close to the airport.

    • dvdchris says:

      @GTI2.0: My advice for Vegas is just rent a car. It’s really not that expensive and you have your own way around, can leave for the airport when you want to, and so on. The last time we went and had an actual car to drive around in was the best experience I’ve ever had getting around Vegas.

  5. jamesdenver says:

    Frontier Airlines automatically checks their insurance option, so it ups your price upon checkout.

    They’re a great airline, but that issue has been brought up in local blogs and such as being bad internet etiquette.

    • Xerloq says:

      @jamesdenver: Seriously? I won’t fly with Frontier again. Flying home on Memorial Day 2002 out of Balitmore, no one was at the counter to check people in. 800-number has no idea where they are, and won’t help. 20 minutes before the flight leaves the site manager shows up cursing and swearing about why he should have to give up his holiday to help us “dumb people who don’t know that it’s a holiday.” I understood his frustration, but why take out his staffing problems on the customer?

      The 100 or so of us waiting make the gate – surprise, no gate agent. Manager Foul Mouth shows up, and gets us on the flight to Denver, and is somewhat apologetic this time.

      At Denver, I deplane and wait just outside the door for my gate-checked items as I was told. The flight attendant tells me to clear the jetway, that the gate checked items are going to be taken up to podium.

      At the podium, I ask the gate agent for a status on my gate checked items. She rolls her eyes, and yells “Don’t you know that the gate checked items are at the bottom of the jetway?!? You were told to wait there for them.” I relayed the flight attendant’s instruction. “She didn’t say that. Now I have to go get your crap because you’re too stupid to follow directions.”

      Excuse me?! What’s you’re name and who is the manager.

      “I don’t have a name and I am the manger!” She then shouted to another agent, then disappeared. The other gate agent appeared with my items, and apologized that her her manager didn’t want to give her name, and she couldn’t give hers beyond “Nancy.” I couldn’t press the issue there because I had to make my connection home, thankfully on another airline.

      I emailed, called, and wrote corporate without response. I will never fly them again.

      • RedwoodFlyer says:

        @Xerloq: Frontier is only alive because of their loyal backing now….they’re running on the fumes of goodwill from pax who flew them when they didn’t suck.

  6. bologna_wallet says:

    Harry McCracken… Seriously? Is he going with his brother Phillip?

  7. CoarseLive says:

    I have found again and again that these booking websites are good for getting an idea of which airlines have the best deals, then I go to the individual websites to get even better deals from those airlines.

    In a word, I’ve learned not to buy at the booking sites, but to begin my shopping there.

  8. georgi55 says:
  9. citking says:

    The same thing happened to me. You know what? I just don’t use Orbitz anymore. Expedia might have done this too.

    Another secret: If you are staying on the strip at a hotel that uses a shuttle, the cab ride is always cheaper.

  10. BillyShears says:

    That is kind of sneaky, but $14 is about what you’d pay for a round-trip to and from the airport on Grey Line in Vegas.


    Those dimwits let someone on the shuttle walk off with my bag. On top of that, they managed to find it in under 24 hours, but took an extra day to get it back to me because apparently there’s only one guy in the whole Vegas operation who has the authority to release it from their lost and found and he needed to come back first.

    They asked if I wanted to come down there and pick it up instead. At 3am. On a Saturday night. With no transportation to get there. Keeping this post PG-Rated, let’s just say that I refused to get off the phone with them – or refuse to stop calling them – until they released my bag and put it on the very next shuttle to the hotel.

    I had my bag at 4am.

    Seriously, don’t use them. Ever. Take a cab; it’s probably only going to be $5 more than the shuttle and you don’t have to worry about someone who’s not paying attention grabbing your bag from the back instead of their own.

    I have half a mind to send them a bill for the 1-2 days worth of clothing I needed to buy while I was without my bag, but to be completely honest it was stuff I was meaning to buy anyway…just maybe after the trip.

    • cubsd says:

      @BillyShears: Billy, you are sooo right. I once mistakenly took that shuttle, and I tell everyone I can to avoid the Grey Line shuttle like the plague.
      I was staying at a Harrah’s casino, and checking in at their front desk there at the airport. The desk agent checking me asked if I wanted to purchase “their” shuttle to the hotel, they could add it to the bill. I thought that it would be convenient, but I was so very wrong. It turned out it was the Grey Line shuttle that didn’t show up for 20 min. Ok, not that bad, but when I got on the shuttle there was no air conditioning. In Las Vegas. In July.
      The driver really took his time loading the luggage, but the real delay came next. Apparently, Grey Line allows passengers to just hop on the shuttle and pay the driver, even though there is a booth selling shuttle ticket right there on the curb. So everyone has to wait for some jerk who couldn’t be bothered to go to the ticket booth like everybody else. While normally this transaction should take lass than one minute, it somehow took as long as getting a home equity loan. Did I mention that there was no air conditioning?

      From the time I got on this traveling oven to the time I got to my hotel, it had been one hour. If I had been a roast, I would have been ready for the dinner table.

      Never take the Grey Line shuttle in Las Vegas.

  11. quail says:

    Buyer beware…

  12. ARP says:

    I’ve seen this more and more on travel sites like expedia, orbits, etc. and its not just for Vegas. They’ve added cancellation insurance, rides to/from the airport, etc. I haven’t seen them automatically book a tour, but I’m sure its coming.

  13. matt1978 says:

    @bologna_wallet: Don’t forget Zack.

  14. thrillhoV says:

    i just booked a trip to vegas and noticed the same thing.
    it was the first thing on that long list, so it was easy to spot, and the price quoted at the start included it, so it was not a shock, but a nice surprise when i removed it and lowered the cost of my trup.

  15. thrillhoV says:

    trip, not trup… sorry I’m on the phone and not proofreading like i should. :)
    I found the inclusion of the ride a little shady, but at least it was right there at the start of the page. (no scrolling necessary to see the charge)

  16. Leohat says:

    This one is a bit shadey but a lot of hotels are requiring that packages be booked with some kind of “tour componet”. Either air, car, transfer or tour.

    It is deliberate obvuscation of the hotel rate so you can’t directly compare the rate between travel agencies. That way the hotels can give differant deals to differant companies.

  17. bdgbill says:

    Orbitz also does that with their “Travel Insurance”. It is almost always opt-in but once in a while is opt out. Three or four times I have been hit with bullshit charges.

  18. Anonymous says:

    We booked a trip to Cancun via Orbitz this past weekend. We saw them sneaking this ground transportation in, so we opted out. However, as we finalized the details of the trip, Orbtiz kept sneaking it back in. I think we had to remove this two or three times before we finally purchased the trip.

    If you’ve ever been to Cancun, you know better than to purchase these generic ground transportation packages. The transportation often doesn’t even show-up, and you’re forced to pay for a taxi/bus on the spot. If they do show-up, you’re packed-in with 20 other people going to 20 individual hotels, and it takes you 3 hours to get to your hotel. Worthless.