Orbitz Booked Me Into Hotel With No Vacancies

Andrew says Orbitz screwed up his trip to New York by booking and charging him for a room at a hotel that couldn’t honor the reservation. He arrived at the hotel at 9 p.m., but there was no room waiting for him.

A battle of finger pointing commenced. He writes:

The hotel staff contacted Orbitz. Instead of the Orbitz customer service agent and supervisor trying to rectify the situation, they first spent the better part of 20 to 30 minutes discussing whose fault this mistake had been – theirs or the hotels.

Finally, I was placed on the line with the supervisor (“Bob” with ‘call center’ static throughout) who first wanted to re-iterate that he felt it was the hotel’s fault that I had been booked into a room that was not available. That was of no use to me as: a)I had paid Orbitz for the room and not the Hotel so whose fault it had been was of no concern to me and b)I simply needed a place to stay that night.

I was then placed on hold for, and this can be confirmed both by your call logs and by the hotel staff at the hotel who were incredibly patient….a total of 2 hours. Let me say that again – 2 hours; while this supervisor (at a large travel website) started looking around for another place for me stay that night. You’d think he was just someone with a phone and a random number generator.

Had this been an individual or perhaps even a small travel agency, I might have seen past the incredible delay at simply trying to find a hotel room in the area – but I was speaking with a supervisor at Orbitz. His first attempt at booking a room found one on the other side of the city. I asked if, being a travel coordinator he might know the geography of a large, well-traveled area such as New York – he said as he wasn’t from the country…he did not. This complicated his search all the more. His 2nd attempt – he asked me to use my credit card to hold the room at a nearby hotel. Despite my giving him this number and despite the fact that Orbitz should be able to pay for a room, the reservation escaped his grasp.

After not receiving the room I paid for at the hotel and being on hold for 2 hours, I asked what any reasonable person would in this situation – that Orbitz pay in full for my room for the evening. He informed me, despite being a supervisor that he was not authorized to do that. Infuriated, I had him refund my credit card (a confirmation email of which was sent to me), and said that my business with Orbitz was done.

The Mayfair hotel staff was incredibly graceful. They also said that Orbitz was pretty much the only company that consistently went over their ‘room allotment’ leading to this problem ad nauseam.

If you’ve ever booked a hotel and been stranded, how did you handle the situation?