The expedia jingle (and their annoying 1-800 number) has that annoying… “DOT COMMMMMM” – but I am ready to change it to “dot crap”.

I am currently stranded unexpectedly in Chicago as Expedia booked my on a flight that does not exist. I planned travel following the NMC Summer Conference to fly from Indianapolis to Minneapolis via Chicago. Getting from Indy to here was no problem, and was even fun as the airport was full of NMC Conference attendees, so time as spent chatting with Andy, Ruben, Tim, Morgan, plus down the wing Jen and Sam from Maricopa, David from Princeton (on the phone, just like in the NMC 2008 Summer conference preview video), and two guys form USC. It was like another conference session.

The hitch was when I got to Chicago for my connection. I had gobs of time, but could not find any listing for my flight. It was one of those funky “US Airways doing business as United” which is just plain confusing, but none of them had a 10:25 pm flight listed on their boards. The sullen, grumpy lady at United Customer service shooed me towards the US Airways gates, but they had no attendants. I did not want to go out to the terminal, as I had no boarding pass to get back in.

When I called Expedia and spoke to “Oprah” (not that one), she kept putting me on hold saying it would take “a few more minutes to check” as her info said my flight was on. I asked to get a gate number since I had no info, and she promised to call back in “15 minutes”

Never heard from Oprah again. So now I tried calling US airways… expect I had no phone number. Public phones no longer have those arcane things called “phonebooks” and after rifling through the desk at one of the US Airways gets not used. I 411-ed them. The woman I spoke to told me that flight 6961 was “not in service” today, and that I should call another number. For some reason, she game me the number of the TSA, who obviously could not help with a messed up reservation.

I did a 411 to get the number for US Airways, and the guy I spoke to confirmed that there were no flights with the number on my confirmed reservation.

So it was another call back to Expedia. It took 14 minutes just to get the first operator, to whom I growled out the situation that “expedia booked me on a flight that does not exist.” She kep telling me to go to the ticket counter, and I repeated 3 times, “I HAVE CHECKED THE AIRLINE and YOUR $*%&%ing flight YOU *#&#&ing booked me on DOES NOT EXIST.” After requesting 3 times to speak to a supervisor, she told me the wait time was 60 minutes, and before I could explode, she ditched me to sappy phone hold music land. I hung up.

It was obvious I was not getting out of Chicago, so I left the terminal and a very nice Brian at the United desk confirmed after a lot of checking that the flights expedia reserved do not exist on this day. He booked me on the earliest flight tomorrow, and even tried to game the system to get me a free hotel.

So then I had to catch a shuttle to a nearby hotel. At Terminal 3 it filled with other displaced passengers, and it was cleat the O’hare Wyndham was the Home of Disgruntled Passengers. What was even weirder was I heard my name called form 3 rows back and saw someone I knew from Maricopa days! Mike L and his family were also misplaced passengers.

You can bet your frequent flyer miles that I will never, ever, EVER use expedia again, and I ask others to do the same. Their customer service blows monkey chow, and I am just warming up my flaming pen to write a scorching letter demanding a total refund.

In the long run, this will be minor, but on the heels of a grueling week with only 2-3 hours of sleep per might, I am currently PO-ed.

While I am ranting, what about Parallels software? I got an email with a discount offered for an upgrade to their new version, si I bit the offer. I got by email a copy of my billing statement, but never got the promised email with a download link. Worse yet.. and this is pretty freaking bad.. the only way to send them a customer service message via email is a web form, and to access this form you have to create an account on their site. The prob is that when I go through the rigmarole of making an acciount or requesting my password, it never sends it, so I am locked out of a support site. There is something pervasively wrong to have to log in to a site to get customer service.

Arrrrggh, this dog needs a vacation, now set back one day.

The post "Curses to Expedia" was originally pulled from under moldy cheese at the back of the fridge at CogDogBlog (http://cogdogblog.com/2007/06/curses-to-expedia/) on June 9, 2007.

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