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Confusing air ticket fare class: update

Discussion in 'Orbitz' started by Sailher, Nov 30, 2016.

  1. Sailher

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    I posted earlier about purchasing tickets from Orbitz that turned out to be in a lower fare class than advertised. I've been away from my computer the past couple of days and it seems that closed the thread; I apologize.

    Technomage, thank you for the recommendation. I condensed my request to a few neutral sentences and emailed the first Orbitz executive listed. Since you advised that I wait a week in between contacts, how often do I need to engage on this thread to keep it open?

    Regarding the search results and purchasing page: I'm glad to see this fare class is now clearly distinguished in the Orbitz purchasing process. This was not the case when I purchased these tickets in September on the non-mobile website. Then, they were indistinguishable from all the other regular Economy-class tickets - in the search results, during the purchasing process, and on my receipt. I had no idea I was purchasing anything other than the regular Economy class I'd purchased many, many times before.

    Regarding why I purchased through Orbitz: I'd never had a problem in the past, and I could earn cash back and points toward free hotel nights (which I've cashed in twice). It seemed like good added value. However, now I know better and will book through the airlines directly.

    Thank you to everyone for your advice and comments.
     
    #1
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  2. Sailher

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    Technomage: I received an "undeliverable" when emailing the first Orbitz contact listed on this site (Lisa Diehl, ldiehl@orbitz.com). Should I try emailing the next person listed, or was Ms. Diehl's position filled by someone else?
     
    #2
  3. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    Yes, email the next executive on the list and we will need to let someone know the contacts may need updating.

    If you have to go all the way the executive chain, come back and update us as to whether you received help or not. Otherwise if you are helped before that, come back and update us. Or if you find any other contacts that are undeliverable, let us know too.
     
    #3
  4. Sailher

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    Thank you, Neil. I emailed the next executive listed, and also submitted the information regarding the undeliverable contact info via the "add/update company contact" form on this site. I'll keep you updated.
     
    #4
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  5. technomage1

    Staff Member Forum Director

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    Sailer,

    You don't need to engage at all to keep a thread open. I closed the other thread because folks didn't heed my warning to stop piling on and critizing you. Glad to know the search page has been updated from when you saw it.
     
    #5
  6. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

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    Saliher, I believe you that Orbitz has changed their website information. I went through a similar situation with Expedia 3 years ago on a non-refundable hotel booking ... $700 eight months out for a wedding. There was nothing to indicate that I was booking a non-ref rate; I subsequently recreated the booking on two different browsers with the same result. I howled loudly and they finally fixed their website. In the meantime, they kept insisting that I call, and I kept refusing. I just pounded out the polite emails.

    I thought it indicative of their business credo when they just cancelled the res completely and never said another word to me.
     
    #6
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  7. Sailher

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    Thanks to everyone for their comments: I've gone up the executive chain and so far, no responses whatsoever. I emailed the CEO today; I'll let you know in a week or so if I heard anything.
     
    #7
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  8. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    If you don't hear from the CEO within a week, here is your next step.

    Go back to the Help tab on top of the pages and fill out the info to file for help again. In that, write that you have gone all the best up the chain of command and no response. The writers will look at all the emails you sent and determine if they can do anything. Tell them we reverted you back because of no response from the company and its officers.
     
    #8
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  9. Sailher

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    Well, the good news is that after emailing the CEO, I did receive a reply. It was polite and thorough. The bad news is, they are still refusing to help. They also claim that it was clear what fare class I was purchasing (it was not); that the purchase page had options for upgrading to a higher fare class or purchasing a different fare class on another airline (it did not); and that all the fare class restrictions were clearly listed (they were not - I didn't learn about the restrictions until I went to the Delta website a few weeks later). The only hint I had that this was not a normal Economy class ticket before purchase was that the website said "seat selection is not available at this time." It did not say why, and I assumed it was simply because I was buying tickets so far in the future.

    They also again blame me for the problem.

    Here is the full email they sent. Is there anything more that can be done?

    *****

    Dear [Sailher],

    Thank you for contacting Orbitz and allowing us the opportunity to address your concerns.

    Our records indicate on September 4, 2016, our online self-service tool was used to book a flight to travel from Salt Lake City, Utah to New York, New York. Your tickets were confirmed in coach class E.

    At the time of booking, the website provides a detailed summary of the itinerary you are about to book after selecting your flight. On the Review Your Trip page, important flight information is provided to review. The website advised the tickets are non-refundable and non-transferable and no name changes are allowed. The information also advised Delta’s Basic Economy Fare Rules which advise seats are assigned after check-in, changes are not permitted, no same-day confirmed or same-day standby travel changes, no paid or complimentary upgrades to Delta One, First Class, Business class or Preferred seats and no priority boarding for purchase. Delta’s Basic Economy fares have more restrictions as they are sold at a lower price than other fares available.

    When our customers book online, they act as their own travel agent; Orbitz must trust that the customer has reviewed all of the details we have provided for them. To assist our customers ensure all the details are correct, we provide a Trip Summary page for our customers to review the details of the booking before completing the reservation. If a customer does not agree to the fare rules provided by Delta, we allow for customer to choose an upgrade on the same page and the price is provided for each upgrade available or we offer other fares through multiple airlines. Due to the terms and conditions of the tickets being agreed to by completing the booking, we are unable to issue a refund. Delta has advised you will be able to select your seats after check-in.

    If we can be of any further assistance, please respond directly to this email, referencing case number E-15516904. You may also contact our customer service team by phone at 1-844-663-2266. We are available to assist you 24 hours a day, seven days a week. We hope you will allow us the opportunity to improve upon your experience in the future.


    Sincerely,
    Sandra Mendes
    Executive Resolutions Team
    customerservice@gco.expedia.com
     
    #9
  10. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    I could see your point if you said you booked on the mobile website. When I tried booking on my phone, I didn't see anything. WHen I went to my computer, this is stated on the right hand side of the screen - perhaps you were only looking at the price and didn't see it. I didn't see it either but scrutinized it after reading your post and it was clearly shown on the right hand side of the screen and showed it was a basic economy ticket. It did not show it in the pricing though so it really seems that you may not have looked at the right hand side of the screen


    Important Flight Information
    Departure

    • Tickets are non-refundable 24 hours after booking and non transferable. Name changes are not allowed.
    • Delta Basic Economy Fare Rules:
      • Seats assigned after check-in
      • Changes not permitted
      • No same-day confirmed or same-day standby travel changes
      • No paid or complimentary upgrades to Delta One™, First Class, Business Class, Delta Comfort+™, or Preferred seats
      • No priority boarding for purchase
    Return

    • Tickets are non-refundable 24 hours after booking and non transferable. Name changes are not allowed.
    • Delta Basic Economy Fare Rules:
      • Seats assigned after check-in
      • Changes not permitted
      • No same-day confirmed or same-day standby travel changes
      • No paid or complimentary upgrades to Delta One™, First Class, Business Class, Delta Comfort+™, or Preferred seats
      • No priority boarding for purchase
     
    #10
  11. Sailher

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    Hi Neil,

    You're absolutely right that *now*, their website makes it very clear what restrictions there are for this type of fare. And I'm very glad they do that. Maybe it's because I made such a fuss about it this fall with their customer service agents.

    However, when I purchased the tickets back in early September, this was not the case. These fares showed up in a general search mixed in with other normal economy-class tickets. There was absolutely nothing listed on the search page or any of the ticketing/booking pages, except the statement that "seat selection is not available at this time," to indicate that this was a lower fare class or "Basic Economy." The section you quoted above that shows "Delta Basic Economy Fare Rules" did not exist on the Orbitz website at the time I booked the ticket. My ticket receipt also does not show any of these restrictions.
     
    #11
  12. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    It's too bad that you didn't have screen prints because that is the only way you would be able to prove your claim. Sorry this happened.
     
    #12
  13. jsn55

    Staff Member Advocate

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    Alas, yet another reason to book direct and steer clear of OTAs.
     
    #13
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  14. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    Absolutely because now that most of the airlines have this basic economy it is the lowest price that comes up and the majority of the low or cars in the big 3 here are the basic economy seats.
     
    #14
  15. Sailher

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    Hello everyone, wanted to update everyone with a reasonably happy ending to the story.

    Although I wasn't able to work anything out with the OTA (Orbitz) or the carrier (Delta) prior to the flight, it ended up that I was able to get two seats next to each other with decent legroom, and because of a new partner program (SPG Crossover rewards), check free bags as well.

    Perhaps best of all is that Orbitz now clearly marks the Basic Economy as a different fare class in the purchasing process. The negative impact was relatively minor for me, and now (possibly because of my complaint to Orbitz), other consumers will benefit in the future from better transparency in the booking process.

    Thanks to everyone for their input & help along the way.
     
    #15
  16. Neil

    Neil Moderator
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    In the future- book directly with the airline. That's always our advice. You eliminate a lot of hassle not having to deal with a third party.
     
    #16
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  17. VoR61

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    First let me echo the sentiments of my colleagues regarding your successful trip. My spouse and I place high importance on being together, so I completely relate.

    What I wish to share is a story and an adjustment we made that has lessened the stress of flying. The first time we faced the possibility of being separated came courtesy of Southwest Airlines. We had never been exposed to the boarding policy they practice, and quickly learned that our pecking order was low and we could, for the very first time, be separated. The flight was only 2 hours long, but still I became angry that they would allow others to occupy the aisle and window seats first. Sure enough, only the very last row had two open seats - the aisle and the middle.

    As the weeks passed, I became frustrated, not with the airline, but with myself for empowering them to determine the success of my flying experience. So we sat and talked, and eventually laughed as we realized that we would have been separated for far less time than while we were at work. And thus we committed ourselves going forward to relax if we were ever separated, knowing that we would be together again very soon for the really important part of our trip. The dividends have been as expected - a lot less stress when we fly.

    I realize that this approach may not resonate with everyone, but I like to share it in case it does. And now with Southwest we always pay a little extra for Early Bird check-in, knowing that it can help move us up in the boarding process, and removes another stressor: online check-in.

    Best wishes for success in your future flights ...
     
    #17

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