Sunday, September 5, 2004

An Orbitz Experience

How times have changed. There are so many different airlines, each with different prices, flying the competitive skies. For several years, the Internet has given each individual customer the power to obtain flight information online. No longer are traditional travel agents needed to order tickets, nor must we pay their fees just to make a plane, hotel, or trip reservations. We now have more convenient online services to fill their niche: Expedia, Price Line, individual airline websites, and Orbitz.

Orbitz’s online service and Delta’s check-in system are both professional and comforting. Take for instance a recent trip Cloudjammer and Fight.Boredom’s staff took to San Francisco.

Like a good price hunter, I looked up a variety of available flights looking for the best price at the most convenient time and with the least, if any, layovers en route. Reliable as ever, Orbitz’s results, which fit my specified time-frame and travel class, included flights from a dozen different airlines. Those few flights that most closely matched the itinerary I wanted were all about the same price, give or take $12 to $15. I chose a non-stop Delta flight, selected both my outgoing and return departure times, paid with my credit card using their secure system, and got my confirmation email within just a few minutes of my initial search,

Three hours before my flight, Orbitz's early wake up call – an electronic female voice greeted me with the status of my flight – gave me plenty of time to dress, grab a cab, and head to the airport. This wakeup call service is a free add-on to an Orbitz reservation and can be set to call three, four, or five hours before your flight. And the call works on every leg of your trip: a week later, in San Francisco, Orbitz woke me up early, again, and let me know about my outgoing flight’s 10 minute delay.

At both the Atlanta and San Francisco airports, the Delta check-in kiosks were fast and easy to use, sparing me from the laborious lines typical of my past airport experiences. I swiped my credit card at the Kiosk and instantly my flight reservations were pulled up, my boarding pass was printed, and a waiting attendant called my name and checked my one-pound-over-weight baggage, sending me on my way.

Orbitz’s service is efficient and fast, raising the bar for the entire online travel industry. The best way to get acquainted with Orbitz is to set up a free account online and explore the fare searching system. You can also sign up for email alerts that let you know what fares and special offers are available for your closest departure city. fb

3 comments:

daf1985 said...

Well lucky for you beause you haven't seen the monster side of Orbitz. Wait until you have a problem. Orbitz "TLC" customer service does not resolve any solution. They throw blame at everyone else never admitting to any fault.

I booked a long weekend getaway from the NY area to Miami. Using Orbitz I got a good price and paid ahead for airport transfer. When my reservation was done online it showed me seating in both airliners to and from. Coincidentally it was the same seat both outbound and return. But then American bounced the outbound seat selection back because Orbitz had selected a row (safety exit) that is not allowed to be selected anywhere other than the gate. Did Orbitz notify me...NO. I found out only because I went tp print my information about 10 days later and saw my husband and I were NOT seated together. I called Orbitz who told me "sorry not our problem- you need to take it up with American". So I called American who told me the seat assignment bounced back to Orbitz within a minute of selection and that Orbitz " my travel agent" should have notified me. I do happen to agree with that. I called and Orbitz explained we do not notify people of those kind of things. They only guarantee you a seat on the plane. So perhaps if you were sitting next to your 5 year old, there could be a problem you and your 5 year old could sit 10 rows apart. Orbitz said "well yes that could happen".

I also made arrangements for an airport transfer. Orbitz offered one choice of a carrier. We had to wait 90 minutes for the transfer because Orbitz books the zoning price wrong and no one wants to go there. On the return back to the airport, the driver was late, argued about the fare and threatened to throw me out of the van for a lousy $2. Oh also called me a liar.

I relayed the whole horrible chain of events to Orbitz hoping to receive assumption of responsibility, restitution and an apology. What I received was Orbitz stating they beared no responsibility at all, they can't control airlines, shuttle services or anything and these are just chances you take.

Well, these are not chances I will take. Orbitz does have some good rates but so does others like Cheap FLights, Best Fares and so on. If I pay $20 more per person, it would be well worth it rather than a company who's TLC really means "Total lack of commitment".

Be forewarned, I had some good Orbitz experiences, but I want a company who's there for me when it's not.

TALO said...

Orbitz has very poor customer service. Little wonder their stock is tanking. Expedia is far better.
I have an issue now where Orbitz advertise I can pick my seat, and they show some nice ones available until you pay your money and then it's sorry, those are assigned at check in. They hung up on me trying to fix it.

Anonymous said...

My experience can only be described as a nightmare! As you say, the Obtitz TLC customer service really sucks!!! You can read about my three experiences at http://antiorbitz.blogspot.com/