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Expedia Customer Service Where are you?

We have been longtime Expedia customers. We've often used Expedia to book international flights and hotels. Until this past trip, we have been pleased. Problems occurred during the trip, and Expedia failed to provide any customer service. We are deeply disappointed, and reluctant to use Expedia again.
This trip was booked SFO to MIA to MAD to CSM. Cost was $2623. (for 2 of us) Our return was SVQ-MAD-CHI-SFO on 10/8.
We began at SFO on American Airlines on 9/24/14. Although we travel a lot internationally, in Miami we were confused by the Code Sharing with American and Iberia. There were 3 flights going from Miami to Madrid in a 5 hour time period. Unfortunately, we waited for the 2nd flight. (We should have been on the 1st flight). When the error was discovered, the gate agent whisked us to the Iberia ticket counter and there the problems began. That was about 6PM - the next flight to Madrid was at 10PM.
The Iberia agent said he was unable to rebook us on the next flight out because it was an Expedia booking. We needed the permission/go ahead/help of Expedia to make any changes. I called the Expedia number at the bottom of our booking information, and then proceeded to spend about 2 hours on the phone with the Expedia representative. Passing the phone back and forth to the Iberia agent.
I realize that we were at fault for having missed the flight we needed to be on. (Yes it was confusing, and yes the gate agents say it happens a lot). However, one expects that Customer Service will truly rise and come into play when there are problems. Problems that need answers and resolutions. That did not happen in this case.
The Expedia agent I had on the phone became wildly argumentative with the Iberia agent. The only solution Expedia offered was to try to book us on other flights - giving us estimates of $2,000 to $5000 a ticket to continue our journey. One was a Brussels flight at $2300 per person.
The two representatives argued and then refused to speak to each other long enough for us to miss the 10PM flight to Madrid, and causing us to spend the night in a Miami hotel.
During the phone argument between the two agents, the Expedia agent promised not to lose the connection with me. He took my phone number so he could call me back if we became disconnected. However, he hung up on me about 2hours into this ordeal without having resolved the issue.. And never called back. Four hours later, the Iberia agent said he thought he could find a way to get us to continue our trip late the following day at an additional cost of $453. each. That is what we had to do - wait another 18 hours, pay $906 and arrive in Casablanca one and a half days after the original plan.
Expedia Customer Service truly failed us. Although I still have one more hotel reservation with Expedia, I am hesitant to book anything else with you. After spending $2600 on these tickets, we would like Expedia to refund the additional $906 we had to pay to Iberia. And the hotel charges in Miami of $120. (We still are out the expense of the delay for the guide we had booked and the hotel in Morocco). The Iberia agent told us if Expedia had acted appropriately and effectively, we could have made the 10PM flight to Madrid without these additional charges.

Thank you. C. Quinn, San Francisco


We in the industry call online OTA's vending machines. They take your money, you get a reservation and that is all. When you call an OTA, they are not trained to handle a situation such as yours from what I have been told and read on many travel sites. When everything goes well, as you experienced in past travels, you don't know about dealing with them by phone, but when you have a problem, it rarely seems to work out with a phone call. I suggest using a local travel agency. You are in SF, which has many, so ask around for references. A good ticketing agency is your advocate.

Grant Ritchie

Dependable adequacy :-)
Dear Mr. (Ms.?) Quinn,

"The two representatives argued and then refused to speak to each other." Ha! How old were these guys... twelve?

If you'd like to seek some remuneration from Expedia, begin by sending a short, polite email to their customer care folks at:

Give them a week to get back to you. If they don't, or if you don't like what they have to say, escalate your appeal to the executives you'll find listed at our Expedia contact page:

Email the Primary Contact, then, if necessary, the Chief Executive a week later.

Save all of your correspondence, and if you don't get satisfaction, feel free to forward your "paper trail" to Chris for review.

Good luck!

Sorry but the claim of Iberia -- "If your ticket was issued by a travel agency and you have not yet begun your trip, please contact the agency where you purchased the ticket" -- when you are already in the airport is just ridiculous (especially if you are holding PUBLISHED fare tickets; and Expedia is well known to issue mostly published fare tickets).

A good airline can simply establish or take control of an agency created reservation and go from there. This is what Iberia should have done for you in Miami when you failed to board your flight.
Contacting your travel agency was really not required since you were already checked in and in the airport.

If what Iberia is saying is correct, then why would anyone buy a ticket from a travel agent? You might as well buy directly from an airline and let them take care of you at the airport since they can do whatever they want with THEIR ticket.

I do not think Expedia is at fault here since they issued you a correct ticket (on behalf of the airline). Since you actually caused the problem (by failing to board), then what is a travel agent suppose to do when you are already at the airport. The SOP is for the airline to reissue you a ticket at the counter after you pay for the penalty fee and fare difference. This should be and can be done without the travel agent involved if you bought a published fare ticket. The question is whether the airline staff is too lazy to do it for you.


Tony, does Expedia ever issue bulk tickets? If so, that requires the traveler to go back to the them.
As far as I know Expedia does not use bulk fares.
This is the reason why I made my comment.
The real question is who are the airport agents in MIA?
I would suspect the work for AA and are simply doing ground handling for Iberia flights. Are desk agents that lazy in Miami?


Some agents will pass the buck when an agency issues a ticket. Had the ticket been purchased directly with the carrier, I bet the 'service' would have been much different.
Thank you for your responses. Yes, I guess the big question is who's responsibility is it when something goes wrong on a many-segmented trip. When the two agents basically got into a verbal altercation with each other (and my husband and myself being stuck in the middle watching the clock tick down and missing another flight) - we couldn't determine who was supposed to step up and help. "How old were they - twelve?" is exactly my thoughts. One of the strangest situations we've been caught up in. And then Expedia hanging up on me - when he had expressly said that wouldn't happen.
The lesson I learned in this (I think) aside from triple-checking which gate and which exact flight is leaving - is that I may search the internet for the fares - but will try to book the actual tickets with the airline. As much as I've used Expedia in the past (and it's quite a bit) - they certainly weren't there to help when I needed them.
As far as who the agent was in Miami - I believe he worked for Iberia (was wearing an Iberia uniform). They closed their counter at 10 or 11PM - and didn't open until about 1PM the next day. That is why we had to go to a Miami hotel and wait until 1P the next day to return to the airport to try to get tickets reissued.
I appreciate your help.
In addition, my husband remembers the Iberia agent saying upfront that he couldn't process anything or make changes until the Expedia agent "opened the reservation" - when he originally tried it was locked. That was the start of what they argued over. The argument between the two is what delayed us enough to miss that next flight. We stood at the counter from about 6P to 10PM and still walked about with no resolution until the next day.


Expedia or any other ticketing agency doesn't 'lock' a reservation. Some agencies, issue their tickets as bulk, which means all the airport can see are the taxes paid, not the fare paid, so you do have to go back to the issuing agency as the airport can't tell the fare paid, check the rules of the fare, etc. Sadly, from what I have read posted by others, when you call these online agencies, you speak to someone who doesn't know airline tickets. They can look at a reservation, but to help you, forgetaboutit. Nobody cares when they are shopping, but when you encounter a problem, all this comes to light.


Staff member
I am sorry this happened to you but I will tell you that we have had clients who booked with Expedia contact us for help when they were stuck and we couldn't do anything for them - the answer was always that the original booking agency has to be the one to make changes and travelers were unable to get hold of anyone from the OTA. Suffice it to sat they are now our clients.

Were the flights code shares through AA? I had a client who was going to Spain and insisted on booking her flights on AA because she got priority seating and had a $100 discount certificate. The flight to Spain ended up being a code share on Iberia. I could have booked the same flight directly on Iberia for her for the same price but she wanted it through AA to use her discount. When she found out Iberia wouldn't give her a seat assignment until she got to the airport, she flipped. Iberia said because it wasn't booked directly with them, they don't give seat assignments until they get to the airport. And they didn't want to hear from her, they said she had to contact AA for any issues.
I appreciate all the help and feedback on this situation. I have heard back from Expedia's customer service with an email and a request to call them. After two lengthy calls - one which was disconnected, I spoke to an agent who offered a small hotel credit for future bookings (through Expedia, of course). I'm pretty close to giving up the fight on this as it is requiring lots of time and energy. However, before I do, I am trying to glean what information I need to avoid this in the future. For one, I will be more diligent in checking flights, numbers, code sharing numbers and gates. That's the easy one. On the next one, however, I still need help. Who is responsible for helping a customer in this situation? Is it Expedia - who I booked through. Or the airlines - who charged my credit card the fare. I'm still getting the runaround as to who should have resolved this situation. Expedia's defense, in talking to them now, is that the airlines charged us directly so they can't offer much in relief (i.e. they didn't make any money on the booking?). But at the time of the problem, Iberia told me they couldn't proceed as it was an Expedia booking. Is the solution to book directly with the airlines - or use an actual travel agent who would hopefully step up and help.


If the carrier came across as the merchant, then Expedia wasn't offering you a true bulk fare, as that is run as an inhouse charge, so Expedia would be the merchant on your credit card. An FYI on this works. We take your credit card, put it in the system, get an approval in the issuing process, but we are not the merchant on your credit card. We report all tickets after midnight Sunday to ARC and ARC then notifies the carrier and the carrier handles the actual charge.

A lot of carrier will not handle an agency issued ticket anymore. Some will, but they usually try to refer you back to the issue office. Then again, some agencies, issues a published fare ticket as bulk, which is still reported to ARC and that keeps the carrier from handling your ticket so the agency doesn't lose their commission. Hard to know how yours was handled and something to find out on any future airline ticket you buy outside of through the carrier.

Grant Ritchie

Dependable adequacy :-)
Hi CQ,

Don't give up the fight! From what I read, it doesn't look as if you've completed your appeal to the Expedia executives. If you haven't, please do. We've updated our Expedia contact information since I last talked to you, so here's a link to the updated information:

The new link has three rather than the two executive contacts at the old one, so send a short, polite email to the Primary Contact. Wait a week for a response, then, as and if necessary, repeat with the Secondary Contact, and a week later, the Chief Executive.

Save all of your correspondence and if you don't receive satisfaction, forward it to Chris at elliottc@gmail.com. If he can't do anything to help he will.

As for who is responsible... my money is on Expedia. That's why I gave you contact information for their executives. If they don't come through, we can move on to the airline, Iberia, but in my experience, they've been hard to contact and unresponsive.

Keep a happy thought!

Hi Grant,
Thanks for the encouragement. I did email the two executives on your older list on 10/14 and 12/17/14. (Also cc'd Chris who replied immediately and suggested I post on this site for help). I've heard nothing from the 2 Expedia execs. I will try the additional email today - and see what happens. The only response I had was from filling out the customer service form on the expedia site - which I tried to do. That culminated in the hotel credit offer - after two very long phone calls, and a long conversation which I couldn't really understand explaining possible reasons. The curious point of that conversation was that the Expedia agent asked for my Expedia password? I didn't give it - but thought it was odd that someone would ask.
Happy thoughts here! And again thank you.

Grant Ritchie

Dependable adequacy :-)
Hi Claudia,

Yes, please do email any contacts on the new Expedia page who weren't on the old one. Sorry about the confusion.

And no more phone calls! Phone calls do nothing to buttress your case. Companies can (and often do) promise the world over the phone. Then, when they don't follow through (which is more often than you'd think), you have no proof of what was said.

It strikes me as odd, too, that the Expedia agent would ask for your password. I'm glad you didn't reveal it. That could've led to all kinds of butt covering if not outright mischief.

I learned that lesson the hard way. About ten years ago, my credit union ATM card was worn out, so I went in to get a new one. When it came time to enter the PIN for my new card, the young woman I was dealing with asked me to tell her so she could enter it. That didn't seem right, but I didn't want to insult her by acting suspicious, so I did as she asked. Over the next few days, $200 withdrawals (the maximum) were made from my account at locations all over town. Turns out it had been this woman's last day at the credit union and last week in California, so I got to help fund her trip to wherever. Glad you were smarter than I was. :p

If you come up empty after your final appeals to the Expedia execs, let me know and I'll run your case past Chris to get his thoughts on where we go next.

Let's revisit the FACTS of this case.

There were 3 flights going from Miami to Madrid in a 5 hour time period. Unfortunately, we waited for the 2nd flight. (We should have been on the 1st flight). When the error was discovered :oops::oops::oops:, the gate agent whisked us to the Iberia ticket counter and there the problems began ...

Exactly WHO made the error? Expedia? Iberia? or the passenger?

Seems to me the passenger made the error.

The ticket issued by Expedia was fine. I can bet you it conformed with the US government disclosure on codeshared flights (so Expedia is off the hook on this confusing argument).

So passenger fails to show up in boarding (gate) area and misses that flight.
How can this be an Expedia problem?
Do you really expect a travel agent to figure out what to do with a noshow?
That's what this is - a noshow.
So now Iberia has these noshow passengers in front of them.
Should Iberia just let them in the next flight?
Absolutely NOT. The usual rule is NOSHOW = ticket invalidated.

Now notice how the passenger never tells us that this is a noshow problem!
How did Iberia note that status of the ticket coupons?
I have to believe it was NOT OPEN for use.
So how can Expedia make any changes to the ticket? That's not possible !!!!

In all fairness, if we are to have an intelligent discussion, we need FACTS.
We are depending on the Original Poster(s) to provide facts.
Or else, anyone coming here should simply find the company contacts and automatically plead their case ...

In my opinion, Expedia did nothing wrong by selling a correct ticket.
Expedia does not have to do anything for a passenger that fails to board.
The only thing Expedia can do is cancel/rebook. But they need a ticket with coupons in OPEN status to do that. If the passenger is checked in, the status of the coupons is not open -- since boarding pass has been issued. The agent cannot do anything unless the airline changes the status back to open. There is no way to cancel a booking for flight that already departed and expect to use that coupon for a reissue.

Sorry this is a customer fail. They failed to board.
Hello Tony -
In my original post I said: I realize that we were at fault for having missed the flight we needed to be on. (Yes it was confusing, and yes the gate agents say it happens a lot). However, one expects that Customer Service will truly rise and come into play when there are problems. Problems that need answers and resolutions. That did not happen in this case.
I think that is saying that it was a no-show problem. My point and question is when mistakes happen (which I am sure they do a lot of times while travelling) - who is supposed to fix it. When we went to the ticket counter to try to resolve this - Iberia started to fix it - until he noticed the Expedia at the bottom of the reservation. That is when he said he couldn't go forward without Expedia's involvement. The fact that the two people couldn't work together to come up with a solution is both my question and my problem. Had someone said that yes, we can get you on the next flight, yes, it will cost x amount of dollars - that would have been fine. (We have always admitted that we caused this situation to start out with) But we became stalemated because no one could come up with a solution. The stalemate, horribly unprofessional attitudes - refusal to talk to each other - Expedia hanging up on me - caused us to lose a few days of our trip - and lots of extra $$.
Again, my question - who's customer service is required here? Customer service is easy as long as everything goes along as planned. When Customer service is really needed is when things go wrong.


First off, Expedia doesn't provide customer service. It is one consistence complaints to Chris Elliott. I missed the part where you missed your flight and had to go reread your letter. Tony is correct that Expedia couldn't do a thing if the ticket wasn't open any longer. That was the carrier that did that, not Expedia. However, I am still wondering is the ticket was showing bulk to the carrier and they needed to find out the fare from Expedia. There is something missing in all this.
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When we went to the Iberia counter, we were told that they couldn't do anything until Expedia did something. The Iberia agent even gave me Expedia's number to call. Sorry I have no way of knowing if it was bulk or not - and why Iberia couldn't go ahead and try to book us on the next flight (yes - I know we would have to pay) - and why Iberia said we HAD to contact Expedia. And then I have no way of knowing WHY Expedia became so enraged with the Iberia agent. Not being in the travel business it is impossible for the consumer to know these things. I am still trying to find out the answer as to how problems should be handled in the future. Had I booked the ticket directly with Iberia in this case - I think I wouldn't be on this forum. Lesson learned - no more OTA's for me!