Missed family vacation

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Oct 9, 2017
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#1
Hello,
Last week we have found ourselves in a very weird situation that I hope you can share your opinions about.

We live in Israel and in April, 2017 we booked at Expedia four round trip tickets, 290$ each, for 10/6/2017 Aegian Airline flight Tel Aviv – Athens.

This family vacation was planned for a busy period of Israeli holidays, when ticket prices are usually skyrocketing up to several times of their regular cost.
So we've bought ours well in advance.

Several days ago our daughter has decided that she was not making the flight.

I contacted Expedia via their online chat and requested very clearly to cancel one ticket.
Then all tickets were cancelled and I received an email with four Aegian Airlines vouchers.
I immediately (in several seconds) wrote back that it was a mistake and asked Expedia to undo the cancellation of three tickets.
The Expedia agent apologized for inconvenience and promised to get in touch with me by phone shortly. They never did.

The day after I called Expedia and the agent told me that they will try to contact the airlines in order to reinstate the tickets.

Then we were informed that they had no success and we were advised to buy new tickets, while Expedia "will look into covering the differences".

Obviously we couldn't accept such a vague offer. Since our potential new tickets were very expensive (almost $900 each) we asked Expedia to book the tickets for us or, at least, to provide explicit approval that they are going to refund this exact amount.

We stated that actually there are no "differences", as we have already paid for our trip and are not interested in the Aegean Airlines vouchers, and therefore all new costs should be paid by Expedia.

From that moment Expedia kept using the stalling tactic: they wrote phrases like "we need some more time to review your case", "we understand how important is this for you" until our flight took off.

As far as we understand, Expedia's idea was quite simple: as non USA citizens we will find it too difficult to sue them.
And thus, we will be unable to claim anything but out-of-pocket losses, as the original tickets and nonrefundable hotels.
No compensation for missed vacation, wasted days off from work, etc.
We think it was clear to Expedia that we were not going to buy such expensive tickets, so their losses would be minimal if just to ignore us.

As for now, we are waiting for respond from another Expedia agent, that will review the case and provide resolution upon return to his office on Friday.

I've read through these forums and I see that everyone advices to book everything whenever possible directly. I wish we had seen this advice before.
It's quite ironic why have we used Expedia instead of booking directly with the Aegian Airlines: because of Expedia's service.
The price was exactly the same, but Expedia provided 24h free cancellation that I thought could be useful if I accidently book something wrong.

That's the story. Will be glad to hear what you think about it.

Thank you in advance!
 

technomage1

Verified Member
Jan 5, 2015
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#2
Enot,

I’d wait until Friday, see what they say. If they don’t come through, then use our contact list above and start up the chain. Don’t start with the CEO and don’t ask them all at once.

Actually, you would be able to sue and in small claims court, too, if it came to that. Citizenship does not matter. Washington State has a small claims limit if $5,000 and your tickets were well under that.
 
Likes: Neil Maley
Feb 9, 2016
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#3
Have you asked Expedia to review the audio phone record for the call between yourself and the CS rep that you told to only cancel ONE ticket? Review your personal phone logs to determine the date, time, etc of that conversation. Once you know specifics of that conversation, Call Expedia customer service and ask how you can get ahold of the audio for that call. On that call, note the date, time, persons name and ask for their company ID. Write this down. Once the call is finished, note the time end. If you are told no in any way, ask to speak to a floor supervisor, get their ID/information, explain what happened and ask for a record of the audio of the call.

Before you sue, after you have exhausted corporate contacts, you may be able to initiate a chargeback.

Be SURE you keep everything in writing from here on out. Sit down, examine your phone logs, and make specific notes of the day/time and conversations you had. Recall when you first heard that your daughter was not going to attend (day, time)

If you begin to write the executives, cite all of this specific information. That way, if you are told no, you have proof for a charge back.
 
Oct 9, 2017
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#5
@sas80, My request to cancel ONE ticket appears clearly in the chat and is not questionable. Expedia's agents agreed to it and wanted to reinstate the tickets but did not succeed.
So, I do not think they can say NO just like this...
 
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Likes: sas80
Oct 13, 2015
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@sas80, My request to cancel ONE ticket appears clearly in the chat and is not questionable. Expedia's agents agreed to it and wanted to reinstate the tickets but did not succeed.
So, I do not think they can NO just like this...
I seem to remember one of the travel agents saying that you can't cancel just one ticket on a reservation. You have to cancel all of them and make another booking for the remaining travelers. If this is true it's on Expedia to explain it to you.
 
Oct 9, 2017
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#7
I seem to remember one of the travel agents saying that you can't cancel just one ticket on a reservation. You have to cancel all of them and make another booking for the remaining travelers. If this is true it's on Expedia to explain it to you.
I think it is a technical procedure when the agent first splits the original PNR into two separate PNRs and then completely cancels one of them.
 
Likes: Patina
Sep 19, 2015
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#8
What a mess. If all the passengers were on one reservation PNR it can get tricky to cancel one ticket of the many. Some airlines do not allow this -- I think British is one, not sure about Aegean-- one needs to be able to split the PNR.
Where all the tickets on one reservation?

And certainly any citizen can file a small claims case against Expedia in King County WA (where I am traveling now). The problem is that one needs to file the complaint in person (unless one gets court approval) and be in the court in person for the trial which would be very costly for someone who lives in Israel.

It sounds like the call or chat center had no idea what they are doing and could not explain the issue properly.

Hopefully one of the advocates that knows airline reservations systems well will comment.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,661
11,248
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
#9
@sas80, My request to cancel ONE ticket appears clearly in the chat and is not questionable. Expedia's agents agreed to it and wanted to reinstate the tickets but did not succeed.
So, I do not think they can NO just like this...
This is Expedias problem and they need to fix it - and not charge you for their mistake.
 
Likes: George M
Oct 9, 2017
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#10
Have waited for response promised on Friday but it did not happen.

So I start moving along the executives chain and here I have two questions:
1. Do I begin the letter with
Dear Mr. Harry Potter,

or it is better without name?

2. I actually ask for reimbursement of direct losses and compensation for the missed vacation. The amount due to reimbursement is knownn, but do I need to write my expectations for the compensation? I prefer to hear them first...
Thanks!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
10,661
11,248
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#11
Address the executive by name and tell them who you have already written to and not had a response by name (if it's Customer Service, state you write to Customer Service)

I think you should explain what compensation you are requesting and why
 
Oct 9, 2017
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#12
Hi,
Here I am with the update.

At first mailed info@expedia.com. No response.
Waited a week, then used the primary contact from Elliott's list and was immediately answered by a rep from CustomerServiceTier3@expedia.com.
Here are quotes from their response:

1. About reimbursement of the original tickets:

"I have completed refund in the amount of $872.64 USD for the three tickets in itinerary XXXX for A, B and C as you requested, as they were canceled by an Expedia agent in error."

2. About nonrefundable hotels:
"In the case of hotel reservations not booked via Expedia I cannot guarantee a refund, but I am happy to use the credit card statements in our consideration of a resolution."

3. About compensation for Expedia's mistake:
"In regard to your request for compensation,
while we are unable to compensate for missed work days,
we will review your concerns."

Of course, our focus is on the compensation bullet...
A day before the flight we were advised by Expedia to buy new tickets for $2328 (and then the price quickly went up to $2900).
So, commitment to pay 872.64 + 2328 = 3200.64 would honor Expedia with the title of a company, that really takes responsibility of its own mistakes.
However, they did not promise to pay the amount, we did not trust them without this promise as so we missed our entire vacation.

Now they have acknowledged their mistake and payed the $872.64.
If Expedia were really honest they would say "Hey, of course we were absolutely ready to pay the $2328 for your new tickets. Unfortunately, we were just too busy at that moment to inform you about it. We are happy to process this amount to your credit card as soon as possible".

And now I need your help in persuading Expedia that they cannot just refund our direct losses and say good bye...
 
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Oct 9, 2017
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#16
it's usually easier if you compose the initial letter, post it, and then we can review and suggest
......
Thank you for processing the refund for the unused flights.

We strongly believe that in addition to this refund we are entitled to receive compensation from Expedia for our missed vacation.
After you were unable to reinstate our tickets you told us to buy new tickets which at that moment costed $2328 and you said you will look into covering the differences.
At that moment we had already paid to Expedia for our tickets and therefore we asked you to book these new tickets for us or to provide commitment to refund their full cost.
Unfortunately, we have not received any response to this request from Expedia. And what would happen if we have followed your advice and booked these tickets?

There is no doubt that mistakes happen, but we expect that such a reputable company as Expedia will take responsibility for their mistakes and will stay behind its promises. If Expedia was ready to cover the costs of the new tickets it should be also ready to compensate our missed vacation with the same amount.

We are looking forward for your resolution that will include the $2328 compensation.
......

But actually I am wrong. Request to confirm $2328 was correct for the moment we had no refund for our original tickets. We got the refund yesterday, which reduces $2328 to $2328 - $872.64 = $1455.36
 
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Likes: Patina
Nov 20, 2015
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#17
It seems to me that you've had an encouraging response from Expedia: an admission of responsibility, a refund of the flights, and a request for further documentation of your losses in nonrefundable, prepaid expenses. If you haven't sent them this documentation yet, then I would do so before"going up the chain" any further.

Realistically, I think compensation for prepaid expenses should be your goal and is the best outcome you can expect. Hopefully one of the travel agents in the forum can comment on this.
 
Feb 9, 2016
2,449
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#18
......
Thank you for processing the refund for the unused flights.

We strongly believe that in addition to this refund we are entitled to receive compensation from Expedia for our missed vacation.
After you were unable to reinstate our tickets you told us to buy new tickets which at that moment costed $2328 and you said you will look into covering the differences.
At that moment we had already paid to Expedia for our tickets and therefore we asked you to book these new tickets for us or to provide commitment to refund their full cost.
Unfortunately, we have not received any response to this request from Expedia. And what would happen if we have followed your advice and booked these tickets?

There is no doubt that mistakes happen, but we expect that such a reputable company as Expedia will take responsibility for their mistakes and will stay behind its promises. If Expedia was ready to cover the costs of the new tickets it should be also ready to compensate our missed vacation with the same amount.

We are looking forward for your resolution that will include the $2328 compensation.
......
I'm confused, and maybe I need to go back and read your initial post.

How much did you pay for the initial flight? What part of the initial flight did you not use? How much did you pay for the new flight? In terms of the flights how much you actually out-of-pocket?
 
Jul 27, 2016
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#19
......
Thank you for processing the refund for the unused flights.

We strongly believe that in addition to this refund we are entitled to receive compensation from Expedia for our missed vacation.
After you were unable to reinstate our tickets you told us to buy new tickets which at that moment costed $2328 and you said you will look into covering the differences.
At that moment we had already paid to Expedia for our tickets and therefore we asked you to book these new tickets for us or to provide commitment to refund their full cost.
Unfortunately, we have not received any response to this request from Expedia. And what would happen if we have followed your advice and booked these tickets?

There is no doubt that mistakes happen, but we expect that such a reputable company as Expedia will take responsibility for their mistakes and will stay behind its promises. If Expedia was ready to cover the costs of the new tickets it should be also ready to compensate our missed vacation with the same amount.

We are looking forward for your resolution that will include the $2328 compensation.
......
Why are you focusing on $2328? If you had actually bought those tickets, you would have been entitled to compensation, but you didn't. If no tickets at all had been available, and the cost of chartering a private plane would have been $30k, you wouldn't have a case for getting $30k in compensation.

Focus on your actual losses: prepaid hotels, prepaid excursions, etc.
 
Oct 9, 2017
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#20
I'm confused, and maybe I need to go back and read your initial post.

How much did you pay for the initial flight? What part of the initial flight did you not use? How much did you pay for the new flight? In terms of the flights how much you actually out-of-pocket?
We did not fly at all. Stayed at home for the entire holiday.
Expedia sent us to buy new tickets. We checked the price, it was $2328. We sent them the itinerary with the price tag.
They said: "Buy it, we will look into covering the differences".
We said: "Sorry, a too vague sentence. Book the tickets for us or explicitly promise to refund $2328".
Then they several times said "We understand how important for you to have you new tickets. We need some more time to check".
That's it. No vacation.

But actually I am wrong. Request to confirm $2328 was correct for the moment we had no refund for our original tickets. We got the refund yesterday, which reduces $2328 to $2328 - $872.64 = $1455.36
 
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