Expedia wouldn't honor airline's rebooking policy

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Nov 29, 2017
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#1
I had a flight booked through Expedia for a Norwegian Air "Premium" class ticket, which Norwegian's site shows as a changeable class of ticket with a $130 USD fee. However, when I could not make the flight (the same day as the flight), I called Expedia immediately to change the ticket (around 2 hours before the flight time) and was told the ticket was NOT changeable or refundable and the $3000 for the 2 roundtrip tickets would be lost. However, when I got home and found Expedia's written policy, it reads: "We do not charge a cancel or change fee. When the airline charges such fees in accordance with its own policies, the cost will be passed on to you." However, by the time I was able to speak to Expedia again, the ticket had been marked as a "no show" since we missed the flight and they say their policy for no shows is no refunds.

Of course, if they would have let me change it when I initially wanted to change it, I wouldn't have been a no show! I believe the first "manager" I spoke to at Expedia on 11/20/2017 gave me incorrect information and by not letting me change the flight with the appropriate fee, thus made it impossible for me to get any waiver or voucher because the policy on the "no show" is no refunds. We've spent more than 11 hours on the phone with different people at Expedia, getting the run around, but it seems to come down to when they look at the ticket NOW, the system says it's non-changeable and they can't seem to understand that when I originally called, according to their own policies, it should have been changeable.
 

Neil Maley

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#2
What Norwegians site showed as a changeable flight may not have been what you got booking through Expedia if the Expedia ticket was a different class code. Why didn’t you book it directly with Norwegian? If there was a price difference it might not have been the same class ticket.
 
Nov 29, 2017
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#3
If only I had a time machine and could go back and rebook directly with Norwegian!

The itinerary shows up as a "premium" ticket (found through the "business class" filter on Expedia), and the cost through Expedia was equivalent to book the Premium fare directly with Norwegian ($1500 for a roundtrip direct LAX->BCN). Norwegian does not offer any Premium tickets that are not rebookable with a fee. The Expedia itinerary does not list any special restrictions, and explicitly states: "We do not charge a cancel or change fee. When the airline charges such fees in accordance with its own policies, the cost will be passed on to you." I can find nothing in the receipts from Expedia, their written policies or Norwegian's that would indicate this fare was not rebookable with the $130 fee.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#4
What ticket class fare code shown on your confirmation? This is usually a letter such a F or P or Y- that’s the class code and the same ticket type can have a different fare code and different booking rules. There can be different rules applying to a ticket based on the fare code so you might not be seeing apples to apples on the same type of ticket.

This might help explain how fare codes work:


https://thepointsguy.com/2015/05/what-airline-fare-classes-tell-you-about-your-ticket/

We have company contacts on top of our page. I suggest getting the contacts for Expedia and starting an email campaign to get an answer and some help. Start with Customer Service, give them a week to reply. If they don’t help, write to the first Executive listed. Give him/her a week to reply. Repeat weekly going up the chain. If you get all the way through the Executives without getting an answer, let us know and we can tell you the next steps. Keep copies of every email.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#5
I tried to make a test booking on Expedia for Norwegian Premium Class (I) and it certainly is changeable.

But what we need to know if Expedia was selling bulk or more restricted tickets.

When one books with the airline a change can be made up to 30 minutes before the flight but they also note that a cancellation cannot be done online and that one has to call Norwegian.
 
Nov 29, 2017
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#6
Hi, Thanks for the feedback! Yes, it says Business (I) on the fare class. I called Norwegian first, and they said they could not make any changes because it was booked third party and only the third party could make changes. I then called Expedia (at 7:10pm, when the flight was at 8:45pm) and was told that they could not change the flight (not even for the change fee), and my only option was to book a whole new itinerary for another $3000.

I will try the email campaign. I tried calling them out on twitter and though the twitter support was prompt, they came back with "As we checked, according to the airline policy that is associated with the ticket you purchased, this is a non-refundable and non-changeable reservation. Also, we do show your phone call with us the last 20-November-2017 and you were advised by one of the Supervisor about the policy of your ticket." Of course, the problem seems to be that they are enforcing the wrong policy that is contradicted by the itinerary.

Thanks!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,758
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www.promalvacations.com
#7
I absolutely agree you need to take this up the executive ladder. This should not have happened from what you are telling us and even if they had to rebook you what about applying the credit from your tickets to the new price?

If you didn’t cancel the flight but were marked as a no show- that is the only scenario I can see causing a problem. I think you will probably have to get to at least one executive in our chain to maybe get an answer but only email.
Then there is no “he said, she said” - you have all correspondence in black and white. If this goes so far as our writers having to take the case they will need copies of all your correspondence.

Let us know how you make our. Remember only mail one at a time with a week in between each letter for a response.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#8
Neil What is so strange is that this was not some ultra special fare-- the test booking said changeable for fare code I. In fact it looks like Norwegian allows changes on all fares.

When the call was made to Expedia was there an alternate date of travel proposed?
 
Likes: jsn55
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
Neil I have the same suspicion about Expedia screwing up. The I fare class I test booked has no such issues. Unless something has changed... but then it is usually a different fare class. Unless Expedia has struck some consolidator deal and the deal has different cancellation policies.

Sfontana Is there any info on the confirmation as to the cancellation/ change info?
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#11
I am on Norwegians website. Premium tickets do not show as refundable - only Premium Flex shows that. And it shows a $ sign under Premium for changes - which is what our OP said.

However, I found in Norwegian Airs terms that the ticket must be canceled more than 30 minutes before the flight leaves and some other requirements. How long before you were to fly did you call Expedia? Did you meet all of the terms for changes such as changing to a flight where there is availability of the same ticket type? If not - then Expedia may have been correct in telling you that they couldn't change the ticket. And it takes a few hours to do these changes as well. You might have simply contacted them too late to get the changes made. Why did you wait to late to try to cancel and change?

Changing LowFare, LowFare+ or Premium
  • Changes to date, time, destination and name allowed up to 30 minutes before scheduled departure. Changes can only be made to another flight where there is availability within the same ticket type.
  • You must pay for any price difference between your existing flight and the one you're changing to, in addition to the change fee. If you choose a cheaper fare, we're not able to give a refund.
  • Destinations can only be changed from domestic to domestic (within the same country) or international to international.
  • Certain tickets cannot be changed online – you'll need to call our Contact Centre to make changes.
Cancelling LowFare, LowFare+ or Premium
  • Free to cancel within 4 hours of original purchase. After 4 hours the booking is non-refundable.
  • Full refund (or free to cancel) within 24 hours of original purchase for flights to/from U.S. (only for bookings made at least one week before departure). Phone our Contact Centre to cancel your booking.
  • If you've booked the wrong date/time/destination/name, phone our Contact Centre within 24 hours of the initial purchase (12 hours if booked less than 24 hours before departure). We’ll book you a new ticket at the available fare and refund your original ticket.
 

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Realitoes

Guest
#12
The problem here is that you tried to do this within two hours of the flight. Per the fare rules,

"REBOOKING/REISSUE/PAYMENT OF FEE AND FARE DIFFERENCE MUST BE MADE IN ONE TRANSACTION NOT LATER THAN 30 MINUTES BEFORE DEPARTURE OF EITHER THE FLIGHT BEING CHANGED OR THE NEW FLIGHT WHICHEVER IS EARLIER".

With this airline, reissuing the ticket at this later period would require manual coordination, and even a brick and mortar TA probably wouldn't be able to get it done to meet that deadline.

With most other airlines, you don't have such a restrictive change policy, so you can cancel and re-book later. Basically all you can really do is ask Expedia to advocate for you with the airline to get an exception to allow you to reissue the ticket.
 
Nov 29, 2017
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#13
Thanks for all the advice. When calling (approximately 90+ minutes prior to the flight), I had asked to change to the flight the next night (which I was told by the attendants at the Norwegian counter was available and Norwegian would have changed it for me, except that it was booked through Expedia). I was told by Expedia that under no circumstances was the fare changeable at all, to any following flight, not even with the fee. There was no effort/attempt to change it, and I was told that their "system" said it was a non-changeable flight -- which contradicts what it says on my itinerary from Expedia. I could not get on the flight because of a passport issue, otherwise I would have gladly taken the flight as scheduled. I will try appealing to the execs. Thanks!
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#14
Realitoes I know nothing about the actual mechanics of changing a ticket. Would it have been really difficult for expedia to process the change in an hour as the OP had a date to fly? And does the OTA always own the ticket even so close to departure? It sounds like OTA did not even try -- as in saying no tickets in fare class for tomorrow but the next day or give any options.

In the past 15 years I have not used an OTA for airline tickets so I am ignorant on this issue.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
12,758
12,743
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#15
Sfontana, use our company contacts and see if you can get an answer from the Executives. Honestly it was cutting it too close by waiting so late to try to change - it isn’t just a simple “change one to another”- this is a task that can take a half a day to a day because Expedia still had to go to the airline to get this done.

You should be owed an explanation in WHY they couldn’t do this- it is quite possible there simply wasn’t enough time- but you should get an explanation. Start with the first executive if you have corresponded in writing already with Customer Service. Give the exec. a weekly to reply them repeat weekly going up the chain.

I’d be interested in hearing the exact reason they couldn’t get this done.
 
Likes: Christina H
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Realitoes

Guest
#16
Realitoes I know nothing about the actual mechanics of changing a ticket. Would it have been really difficult for expedia to process the change in an hour as the OP had a date to fly? And does the OTA always own the ticket even so close to departure? It sounds like OTA did not even try -- as in saying no tickets in fare class for tomorrow but the next day or give any options.

In the past 15 years I have not used an OTA for airline tickets so I am ignorant on this issue.
The airline can always take over the booking to reissue, but more times than not, they will just refer the passenger back to the agency.

The way Expedia and other OTAs operate, they probably would not have been able to reissue in hour and a half. As the process is more complex, it cannot be done by CSAs that answer the phone, but by a ticketing specialist, who would more than likely have to contact to airline to finalize the reissue. Hold times for those departments can be just as bad as the OTAs!
 
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Nov 29, 2017
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#18
I've been going back and forth with "tier 3" customer service and they're saying that Norwegian is saying that the ticket was always, from booking, non-changeable and it has nothing to do with the time frame. I have sent a whole lot of screenshots and policy proof that this is not at all what Expedia information says when booking, so we'll see... Fingers crossed.
 
Likes: Neil Maley