Orbitz Issued Confirmation & E-ticket, 2 weeks later China Airline called to cancel booking.

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Apr 15, 2016
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#1
Hello! On March 30, 2016, I booked a purchased a round trip flight from SFO to BNE on China Airlines. My travel dates are May 18, 2016 and return on May 29, 2016. I received a confirmation and e-ticket from Orbitz on the same day, March 30, 2016.
Yesterday, April 14, 2016, I got a call from someone who said he is from China Airlines who said that the booking I made is cancelled because the fare that was quoted was a "system error". I will have to pay more, much more, if I want to continue with my travel.
I have not contacted Orbitz yet. I don't know what to make of this. Can anyone give me some guidance on how to handle this?

Thank you,
 

Carol Phillips

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 28, 2014
1,230
1,681
113
Coastal South Carolina
#2
@zenman - We have some very airline-savvy people on this Forum (I'm not one of them) and I know they will offer some on-the-mark advice.

My take is that you booked with Orbitz, paid Orbitz, received a confirmation AND e-ticket from Orbitz. Now you've received a call from a China Airlines person cancelling your reservation due to a "system error".

My guess is that the "system error" would be on China Airlines' side. But why they contacted you and not Orbitz is not clear.

Had your refund appeared on your credit card yet?

I would suggest you retire your phone and start an email trail in writing. Our Company Contacts for Orbitz can be found here: http://elliott.org/company-contacts/orbitz/

Write a short, polite, detailed email to the first contact on the list (Customer Service) listing what you said to us above. Include the passenger name/s, reservation #, dates, etc, and tell them that although you've received confirmation from Orbitz it appears that your reservation has been cancelled through no fault of your own.

Since you bought from Orbitz, THEY should be the ones to correct this issue. And I hope they do.


If one week goes by and you have not received a reply, escalate your request to the first executive on the list (Stephen Sedlak). There's only a month before your first flight so time is of the essence here.

Please let us know what transpires.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,995
12,236
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#3
I would be on the phone with Orbitz ASAP. That should be the first place to go.It sounds like there may have been a pricing error and if you want to make sure you get on that plane, you should contact Orbizt and then let us know what they say.

Going up the Orbitz ladder isn't going to do anything if you haven't already contacted them about the call.
 
Mar 4, 2015
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#4
@zenman , could you share the fare you booked and the new price?

Since you are departing from the US, post-purchase price increases are prohibited by DOT regulations.

However, after the Feb 2015 United-Denmark mistake fare fiasco, the US DOT proposed new rulemaking to account for passengers making purchases in bad faith. In the meantime the DOT also published a memorandum stating that it would exercise discretion to not pursue enforcement action if an airline can prove that an advertised fare was a mistake:

https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/Mistaken_Fare_Policy_Statement_05082015.pdf

But the burden of proof is on the airline to show the DOT that your fare was a genuine mistake. If it took China Airlines 2 weeks to figure it out, and it wasn't an obvious mistake like a $25 fare, and there are evidently no recent news stories about this, then I'm very skeptical that China Airlines could meet their burden of proof.

Even if they do, they are obligated to compensate you for any "verifiable out-of-pocket expenses that were made in reliance upon the ticket purchase, in addition to refunding the purchase price of the ticket."

Write to the Orbitz Company Contacts as advised above.

If they refuse to help, I imagine this might be a case Chris would take an interest in.

Ultimately, your fallback option is to submit a complaint to the US DOT. But we usually recommend that step for last, because sometimes airlines and travel agencies stop communicating with you through other channels once you have a formal complaint open. Also, the airline has 60 days to respond to a formal complaint and your travel date is sooner than that.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,995
12,236
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#5
@zenman , could you share the fare you booked and the new price?

Since you are departing from the US, post-purchase price increases are prohibited by DOT regulations.

However, after the Feb 2015 United-Denmark mistake fare fiasco, the US DOT proposed new rulemaking to account for passengers making purchases in bad faith. In the meantime the DOT also published a memorandum stating that it would exercise discretion to not pursue enforcement action if an airline can prove that an advertised fare was a mistake:

https://www.transportation.gov/sites/dot.gov/files/docs/Mistaken_Fare_Policy_Statement_05082015.pdf

But the burden of proof is on the airline to show the DOT that your fare was a genuine mistake. If it took China Airlines 2 weeks to figure it out, and it wasn't an obvious mistake like a $25 fare, and there are evidently no recent news stories about this, then I'm very skeptical that China Airlines could meet their burden of proof.

Even if they do, they are obligated to compensate you for any "verifiable out-of-pocket expenses that were made in reliance upon the ticket purchase, in addition to refunding the purchase price of the ticket."

Write to the Orbitz Company Contacts as advised above.

If they refuse to help, I imagine this might be a case Chris would take an interest in.

Ultimately, your fallback option is to submit a complaint to the US DOT. But we usually recommend that step for last, because sometimes airlines and travel agencies stop communicating with you through other channels once you have a formal complaint open. Also, the airline has 60 days to respond to a formal complaint and your travel date is sooner than that.
We don't yet know how legitimate the call even was. Our writer needs to call Orbitz first, relay the call and find out if it was legitimate or not. THEM start writing if it is indeed true. And get the names over everyone you speak to when you call, the dates and time.

There is no sense starting to write when you haven't picked up the phone and called Orbitz first.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,399
6,458
113
San Francisco
#6
All excellent advice, but we need to put things in priority: call Orbitz immediately to discuss this, verify the info you were given by China Air. If Orbitz confirms the cancellation, circle back to China Air's website with your China Air confirmation number and see what that says. Arm yourself with information.

If your flight is indeed cancelled, use our proven method of writing to Orbitz per my colleagues' instructions. Before you write, find out what other CA flights might work for you, know what the fares are, as well as the schedules. The more information you have, the easier it will be to come to a positive conclusion.

Orbitz is an Online Travel Agency (OTA), they "own" your booking. It's important to start with them. OTAs are not known for their sterling customer service; it may be frustrating to get to a human being by phone, but that's the first step. Please come back any time for more guidance.
 
Apr 15, 2016
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#7
Wow!!! I am amazed. I was gone for the weekend, and I did not read this thread until now. Thank you for all the replies.

FYI, I did not know anything about "system error" fares until this happened. I use Orbitz quite a bit for my travels, and when I saw the fare, I thought it was one of those promo fares Orbitz has from time to time. The fare quoted was US$715., business class, SFO to BNE.

I have flown China Airline on their trans-Pacific flights 3 times within the last 12 months. I was upgraded to business and preimium economy on my last trip with China Airlines in March 2016.Thus, that is why I thought this was a promo fare from China Airlines.

Let me contact Orbitz and see what they have to say. Again, thank you for the posts.
 
Oct 5, 2015
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#8
@zenman

I can tell you it is a waste of time to deal with Orbitz on this particular case.
I strongly suggest you make a complaint directly with the DOT since this is definitely a case of Post Purchase Price Increase.
Let me also make assure everyone here that this fare did NOT require any manipulation or lying on behalf of the buyer (like what happened for United ex LON fare using Danish Krone currency).
Your fare was ex USA and was filed in USDollars by China Airlines (CI).

Below was your fare. It was filed 21MAR
upload_2016-4-19_22-36-48.png

and pulled on or before 11APR
upload_2016-4-19_22-37-23.png

The screen above is proof they filed the fare and made it last for about 3 weeks.
How can anyone expect to know it was a mistake?
Also FYI this fare did not make it to the blogs or flyertalk (to the best of my knowledge) so I guess you are innocent of any shenanigans :D

upload_2016-4-19_22-40-32.png

Do not waste any more time. File your complaint using the above proof of fare filing.

Good Luck.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
11,995
12,236
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#9
Wow!!! I am amazed. I was gone for the weekend, and I did not read this thread until now. Thank you for all the replies.

FYI, I did not know anything about "system error" fares until this happened. I use Orbitz quite a bit for my travels, and when I saw the fare, I thought it was one of those promo fares Orbitz has from time to time. The fare quoted was US$715., business class, SFO to BNE.

I have flown China Airline on their trans-Pacific flights 3 times within the last 12 months. I was upgraded to business and preimium economy on my last trip with China Airlines in March 2016.Thus, that is why I thought this was a promo fare from China Airlines.

Let me contact Orbitz and see what they have to say. Again, thank you for the posts.
And what was the result of the call?
 
Mar 4, 2015
499
335
63
#10
@zenman

I can tell you it is a waste of time to deal with Orbitz on this particular case.
I strongly suggest you make a complaint directly with the DOT since this is definitely a case of Post Purchase Price Increase.
Let me also make assure everyone here that this fare did NOT require any manipulation or lying on behalf of the buyer (like what happened for United ex LON fare using Danish Krone currency).
Your fare was ex USA and was filed in USDollars by China Airlines (CI).

Below was your fare. It was filed 21MAR
View attachment 819

and pulled on or before 11APR
View attachment 820

The screen above is proof they filed the fare and made it last for about 3 weeks.
How can anyone expect to know it was a mistake?
Also FYI this fare did not make it to the blogs or flyertalk (to the best of my knowledge) so I guess you are innocent of any shenanigans :D

View attachment 821

Do not waste any more time. File your complaint using the above proof of fare filing.

Good Luck.
I agree that a DOT complaint is warranted here but China Airlines is allowed (by law) 60 days to respond.

It's possible CI would respond more promptly than that. But if they take the time they are allowed, then @zenman would have to buy a new ticket to be able to travel as planned in May.

Which is why it might be a good idea to try first to send a demand letter directly to CI and to Orbitz, pressuring them to fix this on his/her timeframe.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
6,399
6,458
113
San Francisco
#11
I agree that a DOT complaint is warranted here but China Airlines is allowed (by law) 60 days to respond.

It's possible CI would respond more promptly than that. But if they take the time they are allowed, then @zenman would have to buy a new ticket to be able to travel as planned in May.

Which is why it might be a good idea to try first to send a demand letter directly to CI and to Orbitz, pressuring them to fix this on his/her timeframe.
That's kinda what I thought, MK. The priority is to make the trip in May, not stay home and argue with all the various entities. I always think that having as much hard information as possible is a good thing before you talk with an airline or OTA about a problem.
 
Likes: AAGK
Apr 15, 2016
8
8
3
59
#12
@zenman

I can tell you it is a waste of time to deal with Orbitz on this particular case.
I strongly suggest you make a complaint directly with the DOT since this is definitely a case of Post Purchase Price Increase.
Let me also make assure everyone here that this fare did NOT require any manipulation or lying on behalf of the buyer (like what happened for United ex LON fare using Danish Krone currency).
Your fare was ex USA and was filed in USDollars by China Airlines (CI).

Below was your fare. It was filed 21MAR
View attachment 819

and pulled on or before 11APR
View attachment 820

The screen above is proof they filed the fare and made it last for about 3 weeks.
How can anyone expect to know it was a mistake?
Also FYI this fare did not make it to the blogs or flyertalk (to the best of my knowledge) so I guess you are innocent of any shenanigans :D

View attachment 821

Do not waste any more time. File your complaint using the above proof of fare filing.

Good Luck.
Hi, Flywisely:

Orbitz has issued a refund on my credit card. I am filing my complaint with the DOT and California DOJ. Thank you for the info.
 
Apr 15, 2016
8
8
3
59
#13
That's kinda what I thought, MK. The priority is to make the trip in May, not stay home and argue with all the various entities. I always think that having as much hard information as possible is a good thing before you talk with an airline or OTA about a problem.
@zenman - We have some very airline-savvy people on this Forum (I'm not one of them) and I know they will offer some on-the-mark advice.

My take is that you booked with Orbitz, paid Orbitz, received a confirmation AND e-ticket from Orbitz. Now you've received a call from a China Airlines person cancelling your reservation due to a "system error".

My guess is that the "system error" would be on China Airlines' side. But why they contacted you and not Orbitz is not clear.

Had your refund appeared on your credit card yet?

I would suggest you retire your phone and start an email trail in writing. Our Company Contacts for Orbitz can be found here: http://elliott.org/company-contacts/orbitz/

Write a short, polite, detailed email to the first contact on the list (Customer Service) listing what you said to us above. Include the passenger name/s, reservation #, dates, etc, and tell them that although you've received confirmation from Orbitz it appears that your reservation has been cancelled through no fault of your own.

Since you bought from Orbitz, THEY should be the ones to correct this issue. And I hope they do.


If one week goes by and you have not received a reply, escalate your request to the first executive on the list (Stephen Sedlak). There's only a month before your first flight so time is of the essence here.

Please let us know what transpires.
Hello! Orbitz issued a refund on my Orbitz credit card yesterday. I am writing the higher ups at Orbitz and see what they say. Thank you.
 
Apr 15, 2016
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#16
I spoke to Orbitz today, and Orbitz's best offer was a $350.00 voucher for any future flights. This includes giving up any and all claims against Orbitz. I declined. I insist my I had a bona fide purchase made in good faith.

I also got a call from China Airlines' San Francisco Station Manager, and he said he found the lowest business class rate to Brisbane, Australia is with Hawaiian. The rate is US$4,162. (or something close to that figure). His offer is to match that rate. CI's fare at Orbitz was US$6,863.

One comment made by CI's manager that's worth mentioning is his confidence and to some extent his arrogance that the DOT will not rule in my favor, and I am wasting my time filing a complaint. He also admitted that the base fare was missing one digit when filed; thus, the base fare was in the hundreds instead of thousands.
 
Apr 15, 2016
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#18
Don't listen to him and go ahead and file the complaints. I believe there is something about rates that are obvious errors not having to be honored but you still should persue it. You have nothing to lose by filing a complaint.
I have filed my complaint with the US DOT against China Airlines and California DOJ against Orbitz. Thank you!
 
Likes: Algebralovr
Oct 5, 2015
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#20
Wow such arrogance from China Airlines. It looks like they want to punish you for THEIR mistake. Wonder how they will convince anyone how correct they are when they posted that fare with Airline Tariff Publishing Corp for 3 weeks straight. At some point this airline just has to man up to US style rules. :D
 
Likes: AAGK