I’m almost sure that you arrived to this review because you were searching for a POSITIVE review for Expedia regarding airline tickets. What I’m pretty sure of as well is that it’s almost impossible to find a positive blog post review on Expedia, no matter how refined your Google skills are. Funny thing is that when experiences are out of your favorite horror film, people are quick to power on their laptops and write an impromptu essay about it, but rarely do you find any that ends with pink unicorns swimming in rainbow colored lakes. You’re in luck because I was SO IMPRESSED the way Expedia handled my situation that I want to share my experience with you.
Disclaimer: This is in no way sponsored by Expedia. I am writing this review to share my positive experience with the rest of the world. Period.
A Little Backstory
For the last five years or so, I’ve always booked my airline tickets through Expedia and never had a problem with them. Tickets always get booked correctly and when the time comes, I’m comfortably seating in the seat I purchased from this online ticketing agency. Well sometime in March, a good buddy of mine and I planned a trip out to the land of the Kiwis, New Zealand, with a stop to the land down under before settling back to the United States.
Fast forward to June and due to unforeseen circumstances we had to cancel our trip. A quick look into my booking and I realized that I had purchased NON-REFUNDABLE tickets via United Airlines. In other words, I shouldn’t be able to get my money back in any circumstance. Additionally, I almost never purchase trip insurance as I don’t ever feel like I need to back out of a traveling situation (because travel is life).
I did what anyone else would do – I fired up Google in my favorite browser and searched on how to get a refund from Expedia despite purchasing non-refundable tickets. I learned that Expedia would be able to provide a credit to be used within one year of the issue date and that there would be a $200 re-booking fee when used. Fully understanding that I purchased non-refundable tickets, it would be fantastic if I am able to make this scenario happen. However, what caused me a bit of panic were the absolute horror stories that looked like they were ripped straight out of the Blair Witch Project. They were tales of phone tag, long waiting times, rude customer service reps, and (gasp) disconnected phone calls.
The following were the series of calls I made of my entire Expedia customer service experience – from getting my credit to using it and booking a new itinerary.
My First Call
Already expecting the worst, I looked up Expedia’s customer service number and firmly tapped the numbers on my phone. After going through a series of questions by Siri’s distant cousin, I was informed to wait for a live customer service rep. This prompted me to put my feet up on the desk as I expected to wait for quite some time. Lo and behold, one minute later I was greeted by a gentleman by name of June.
Again already expecting the worst, I calmly explained my situation and courteously asked whether it would be possible for me to receive credit back for a non-refundable ticket. I was placed on hold for about two minutes before I was pleasantly surprised by news I already knew – I was eligible to receive credit from United that had to be used within one year of the issue date and that a $200 rebooking fee would also be required.
Not only was I ecstatic, but grateful that there wasn’t any difficulty in getting to this point. Wanting to be EXTREMELY SURE that I was getting this credit, I asked June to repeat exactly what the fine details are and the following was what was relayed to me:
- Credit is non-transferable, meaning I was the only person who can use the credit for future travel
- Credit is good for the cost of the ticket, not including any booking or additional fees
- Credit MUST be used within one year of the issue date
- Credit MUST be booked through Expedia and one leg of the itinerary MUST be a United flight
- Remainder of credit that is unused will be returned to me in the form of a flight voucher (which can be used towards a future flight on United without the $200 rebooking fee)
Since these tickets I purchased were quite expensive (it’s not that cheap to fly to Oz and it’s neighboring island) I wanted to make sure that the credit was somewhat documented. My anxiousness was appeased as I was sent an email that included this information as well as the TOTAL COST of the credit. Bonus points for Expedia’s customer service as I politely asked June if he can stay on the phone with me as I waited for the email. What seemed like an eternity, the email finally did arrive in about five minutes, with June patiently waiting with me on the other end of the line (and most likely on the other end of the world).
Once everything was documented and every single one of my questions were answered, I made sure to tell June and the team at Expedia that it was an absolute pleasure dealing with them. The golden rule applies to everything (whether or not you are the customer), treat others as you would like to be treated. I truly believe that these superfluous compliments go A LONG WAY for customer service call centers so they can gauge what works and what doesn’t.
MY SECOND CALL
A month goes by and I decide that I wanna use this credit and book a trip to appease my wanderlusting soul! With all the excitement, I hurriedly crafted an itinerary through Southeast Asia with such careful precision and joy as a preschooler would coloring carefully within the lines of their coloring book. One week later, I got my journey all planned out and I proceeded to punch in the sequence of numbers to connect with Expedia.
After going through the same series of question by Siri’s long lost sister, I again waited a couple of minutes before I was connected to a lovely lady named Mary, most likely from the same call center. I carefully, and politely, summarized my situation and proceeded to request the booking with the credit. She nicely reiterated the $200 rebooking fee with United and I proceeded to read to her my itinerary, which composed of three separate flight segments. It its important to note that you must refer the ORIGINAL ITINERARY NUMBER when using your credit.
Ten minutes later, everything was confirmed and booked. Because of the paranoia that the internet has bestowed upon me, I asked to stay on the phone as the confirmation email was being sent to my email address. This time around, it drifted quietly in my inbox within a matter of seconds and I confirmed everything to be accurate. This email also includes the remaining balance that I will be delivered to me in a form of a flight voucher with United. I asked her if this new itinerary would show up on either my Expedia or United account and she resoundingly confirmed it with a “Yes”. I asked when I would I would see that and I was confidently told it would be within 24 hours.
Once again, I commented to Mary and her supervisor that this call was absolutely fantastic and that my experience has been flawless.
So I waited about 48 hours and no update on my Expedia account or my United account.
Gulp. Perhaps everyone on the internet was right and I was just blindly moved by the goodness of people.
MY THIRD CALL
At this point I was familiar with the initial process of speaking to Siri’s mother and was now greeted by a lady named Vanessa. I explained the situation from the first two calls, this time with a bit of apprehension and uncertainty in my voice. This prompted her to look into my itinerary.
“Hold on sir, it’s still loading.”
“Sorry for waiting, but it’s not letting me see it.”
My fears delivered by internet tales of horror are starting to manifest before my ears. I was them told that I was going to be put on hold as she was going to call her technology staff. Fearing disconnection, she also asked for a number to reach me in case that happens. Great, I think we’re about to get disconnected.
After about five minutes, she cheerfully gets back on the call and explained that because I had another traveler on the original itinerary (remember my buddy who was supposed to come) it didn’t quite sit well with their systems, hence my Expedia account wasn’t reflecting the changes. I was them provided with a new confirmation number, which I verified and confirmed on the United website. And of course for good measure, I asked her if possible to send me an email confirming this as well. She must have known I was gonna ask as the email landed in my inbox as I was asking her to do so.
Crisis averted and I was 100% confirmed to be going on another adventure.
PLEASE READ: This is my experience with them and I know that others will experience something different as there are plenty of varying factors in play. You could have an impolite customer service rep, or booked a flight with an airline company with different policies. But the lessons her folks is to be polite, courteous, and patient and you will receive the same treatment on the other end. Remember, these folks are doing their job, so unless it’s warranted, aggravation and impatience will not help the situation.
Expedia, I commend you and your customer service team for a JOB WELL DONE.
Let me know your experience with Expedia, GOOD and BAD, in the comments below!