1. Intitial booking made through Orbitz in 3/14/2011 for passage from Pittsburgh to Hyderabad, India round trip departing 8/7/11, returning 8/26/11. Flight plan: Pittsburgh to Toronto (Air Canada), Toronto to Frankfurt (Lufthansa), Frankfurt to Hyderabad (Lufthansa)
2. 8/7/2011 @12:31, text message from Orbitz. AC 8041 dept PIT 3:30p on-time.
3. We arrive at PIT airport check in at 2:00 PM. Attempt check in via kiosk. Unsure if bags checked through to HYD. Agents (of note, no Air Canada agents, United agents covering for Air Canada express) unhelpful. Reattempt check in at ~2:20. Told it is too late to check in as AC8041 changed to 2:55 PM, and we are not in the 1 hour window.
4. Orbitz contacted at 2:30 PM approximately. Initially agent does not believe flight change. Tries to talk to airport agents on my phone. Agent refuses. First offers to refund money. I say this is unacceptable. Says he will try to get us on alternate flight. Does not call back.
5. Try again after 1 hour. Another agent, gets me to supervisor. Repeat story again. Agent is polite. Says they will try to rebook. Does not call back.
6. Try again after 1 hour. Supervisor "Ronaldo". Repeat story again. Agent is polite. Says he might be able to rebook on Lufthansa, but I will be liable for change of schedule fee. I say this is unacceptable. Calls back with some options. Says he will try to contact Lufthansa. Does not call back.
7. Try again after 1 hour. Supervisor "Christian". Repeat story again. Agent is polite. I am open to any flight to HYD. Says he will look into it. Calls back at about 6:00 PM, says might be able to get us on a 7:03 PM Flight PIT->IAD->FRA->HYD. Does not call back.
8. Try again at 7:00 PM. Supervisor "Mandy". Agent very polite. Repeat story again. Am again open to any flight to HYD. Calls back with updates. Bottom line, however, unable to get in touch with Lufthansa. I ask to speak to next level supervisor. Tries, but unable to get hold of anyone. Advises me to try again 8/8/11 AM. I express my concern that I will have to start from scratch again, and that this is unacceptable. She expresses regrets, but cannot help.
9. Leave airport about 7 hours after arriving, along with 2 small children.
10. Contact Lufthansa myself. They have documentation of contacts between Orbitz and Lufthansa. Inform me that Lufthansa informed Orbitz in May of change of flight time for AC8041. Unable to rebook, since booking made through Orbitz.
11. 8/8/2011: 9:00 AM. After 3 tries, get through to supervisor "Daphne". After being on hold for 1 hour 15 minutes, situation still unresolved, with no time frame for resolution.
12. Try again at 1:00 PM. Supervisor Libby. Polite. Says will rebook from Dulles->Frankfurt->Hyderabad on 8/9/2011. She says I will not be liable for the fare difference/charges. States that she will call me back by 5:00 PM central time (6:00 PM here)
13. "Libby" calls back, saying that 2:00 PM was too late, and that the flight change was a "minor" time change, and therefore there is nothing she can do.
14. Libby's supervisor "Eve" ID# 64587, calls me back at about 8:00 PM that a) Orbitz is not responsible, as it is a "minor" time change, b) they will not rebook without me paying the rebooking fee, and c) there will be no refund.
It is now 29 hours after my initial contact with Orbitz.
1. I would have liked to get my family and myself to Hyderabad. A refund is the next most acceptable thing. To say that we can rebook at our own expense (at this moment $1700 per person) is not acceptable. Overall, I feel that we have been defrauded.
2. We did everything correctly, including checking in on time based on information provided by Orbitz. The Air Canada website recommends 90 minutes before flight time for US to Canada flights, and mandates 60 minutes. We were well within this when we first tried to check in.
3. We should not be liable for any extra costs incurred as a result of Orbitz's failure to communicate correct flight times to us, including sending us a misleading text message.
5. In fact, there should be suitable compensation for this sorry affair, in addition to rebooking us.
6. We are longstanding customers. Between me and my wife (separate account email: firstname.lastname@example.org), we have used Orbitz for travel abroad for the past several years, with at least 2 international flights per year booked through Orbitz.
As you can see, this has been a frustrating situation. As of now, I am $5,500 poorer, no flight, no chance for my children to see their grandparents this year, and little in the way of redressal other than going to the courts.