Failure to communicate

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Jan 14, 2017
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#1
I had booked my parents tickets from India to US and return on Hotwire. Their flight was on American Airlines for the domestic leg from RDU to JFK and then Etihad from JFK to Ahmedabad via Abu Dhabi. Eithad had intimated us that the domestic flight had changed from 10:25AM to 8:15AM on November 14. When we showed up at the airport before 6AM at RDU, American Airlines told us that the tickets needed to be re-issued by Etihad since the itinerary had changed - apparently they couldnt see the tickets for the 8:15AM flight in their system. I called Etihad and they said there was nothing they could do since the reservation was under Jet Airways and that I should call Jet Airways. I called Jet Aiways and they said that since the reservation was made by Hotwire, I should call Hotwire and ask them to revalidate the tickets. I called Hotwire, and ironically the very first option that comes up is to press 1 if you have been notified of a flight change. So Hotwire is aware of flight changes. The Hotwire agent said she will try to fix the issue, but after more than 40 minutes on the phone with her, she could not do anything and said that she was getting an error. She suggested I call Jet Airways and have them rebook the tickets. I called Jet Airways and they said that since it is now less than 1 hour left for the flight, they have no control over it. and I should call Hotwire and have them rebook the tickets.So I called Hotwire again. This time after a few minutes the agent said she couldnt hear me anymore. I felt like I was being abandoned. But thankfully when I called back I go another agent who stayed with me for more than an hour. She first said that I would have to pay a change fee! I protested that I was not at fault here. We were at the airport well in time to board the flight. This mess was not our doing. She said she would talk to Jet Airways and try to get the change fee waived.
She couldnt get any flights until the 20th - that is my parents had to stay an additional 6 days beyond their planned departure. We had just spent 4 hours at the airport in agony and I was just fed up and accepted the offer of confirmed flights for the 20th. I just hope no new problem crops up on the 20th.
Just imagine if someone did not have the luxury of staying back another 6 days? What if someone had to go back to a job or was staying at a hotel? I believe Hotwire should provide fair compensation for the ordeal we went through. This was totally their fault - they knew about the flight change and did not get our tickets confirmed with American Airlines. And based on the first option that comes up when you call Hotwire, they know about this issue. My mom is in a wheel chair and my dad is 71 years old. To put them through this ordeal in a foreign land is torturous.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,621
11,210
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#2
This is why we don't recommend using OTAs to book travel- you add a middleman to the mix and when something like this happens, all you get is finger pointing. This all needed to be done by Hotwire and no, you shouldn't have been charged a rebooking fee.

We have company contacts for Hotwire on top
of our pages.

Get the contacts for this company and write to the customer service email address.

Give them a week to reply. If they don't respond or refuse to help, write to the first executive shown. Tell him/her that Customer Service wasn't able to help or didn't reply. Give the executive a week to reply. If necessary, repeat weekly going up the chain of Executives one at a time. If you get all the Executives with no help, come back here and let us know and we'll
Tell you the next step. Make sure you keep all the emails as you'll need to forward them to the writers if they need to get involved.

Good luck and let us know what happens.
 

Carol Phillips

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 28, 2014
1,200
1,615
113
Coastal South Carolina
#3
@Neil 's advice above is right on. I just want to add that booking through an Online Travel Agent, such as Hotwire, usually means a loss of customer service ... as you experienced.

International flights, especially complex itineraries are best handled (in my opinion) by a travel agency you know and trust .... that gives you someone on your side in case that's needed.
 
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AMA

Verified Member
Dec 11, 2014
759
974
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#4
How far in advance were you notified of the flight change? Did you call/communicate with Hotwire as soon as they notified you, or did you just wait until you went to the airport?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#5
Niren, I am curious ... why did you use a website like Hotwire to book these tix? We get so many posts from people who book through an online booking agency (they call themselves travel agencies but there's no customer service, they just book whatever you tell them to). I am legitimately curious as to why travellers use these websites. I hope you'll tell me why.

You'll get some compensation for this mess, it will take a long time and many submissions of emails to Hotwire, but they'll probably come through eventually. I hope you are checking on the return flights every day to stay on top of any changes. When your life gets back to normal, come back and we'll tell you how to deal with Hotwire.
 
Jan 14, 2017
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#6
The new flights they gave us for Nov 20th was on JetBlue from RDU to JFK and then continue with Etihad as before. Since we had the bad experience on Nov 14th, I called JetBlue to confirm my booking. First they said they have the booking and even gave me a confirmation code. I confirmed using that code on JetBlue's website. But next day, when I checked again, it would just take me to an error message. So I called JetBlue and was told that payment had not been made for the tickets and so the tickets were not confirmed. So I called Hotwire and they were not even aware of the situation. After some wait and hold, I was told that the only option available was to travel on Jet Airways since the original reservation was under Jet Airways. The new itinerary would be from RDU to Paris and then Paris to Mumbai and finally Mumbai to Ahmedabad. I accepted it as I did not see any alternatives.
I called Jet Airways and Delta( Delta is the carrier from RDU to Paris) and confirmed with them that the tickets are confirmed. We will go to the airport today hoping all goes well.
As to why I used Hotwire... this was a multi-city booking. Going from Ahmedabad to Dallas and then RDU back to Ahmedabad. I tried Etihad's website , but it would not allow me to book it. Hotwire was the only one that allowed me to book it. And I think all would have been ok if not for the flight change from 10:25AM to 8:15AM. If I had know that would create problems, I would have called American Airlines to confirm before hand. This has never happened with me before - that a connecting Airline does not have the confirmation. Even though Etihad's website and Hotwire's website both showed confirmed tickets..
Anways, lesson learned.. I will try to contact Hotwire through the contacts listed here. I already sent an email through their website, but got a standard reply to contact their ticketing department.. Will keep you posted about the issue.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
5,890
5,970
113
San Francisco
#8
The new flights they gave us for Nov 20th was on JetBlue from RDU to JFK and then continue with Etihad as before. Since we had the bad experience on Nov 14th, I called JetBlue to confirm my booking. First they said they have the booking and even gave me a confirmation code. I confirmed using that code on JetBlue's website. But next day, when I checked again, it would just take me to an error message. So I called JetBlue and was told that payment had not been made for the tickets and so the tickets were not confirmed. So I called Hotwire and they were not even aware of the situation. After some wait and hold, I was told that the only option available was to travel on Jet Airways since the original reservation was under Jet Airways. The new itinerary would be from RDU to Paris and then Paris to Mumbai and finally Mumbai to Ahmedabad. I accepted it as I did not see any alternatives.
I called Jet Airways and Delta( Delta is the carrier from RDU to Paris) and confirmed with them that the tickets are confirmed. We will go to the airport today hoping all goes well.
As to why I used Hotwire... this was a multi-city booking. Going from Ahmedabad to Dallas and then RDU back to Ahmedabad. I tried Etihad's website , but it would not allow me to book it. Hotwire was the only one that allowed me to book it. And I think all would have been ok if not for the flight change from 10:25AM to 8:15AM. If I had know that would create problems, I would have called American Airlines to confirm before hand. This has never happened with me before - that a connecting Airline does not have the confirmation. Even though Etihad's website and Hotwire's website both showed confirmed tickets..
Anways, lesson learned.. I will try to contact Hotwire through the contacts listed here. I already sent an email through their website, but got a standard reply to contact their ticketing department.. Will keep you posted about the issue.
I understand that the itinerary was complex and difficult to book directly with the airline ... but travellers need to go beyond an easy solution like using an online booking agency. They're counting on that and will just book whatever you tell them to. It often takes much more research and work than a quick, easy computer session on an OBA.

A travel agent is almost a requirement with an itinerary like yours ... a REAL travel agent ... to get your travel booked correctly.