Orbitz charges Fremont man twice for international flight

April 17, 2013 12:00:00 AM PDT
Searching online for airline tickets can help you find low fares and it's very convenient, but if there's a mistake, it can be more difficult to correct. One Bay Area man found out the hard way. He spent hours trying to untangle an error.

This man got onboard an international flight and found out he had not one, but two seats. Worse yet, he had paid nearly $900 for a seat he didn't need. He says getting a refund only got him a runaround, so that's why he turned to 7 On Your Side for help.

George Xu of Fremont travels often to Shanghai on business for a software company.

"I flew to Vancouver, from Vancouver to China," said Xu.

Flying overseas can be expensive, but Xu found a bargain airline fare on Orbitz.com.

"The airline was very good and the ticket price was very good," said Xu.

He booked a round trip ticket on Air Canada for just $884, which would be a great deal -- except he was charged twice.

"I do recognize they have a deal there, but there's no reason for them to have two tickets in my name," said Xu.

An airline agent in Shanghai noticed it first; there were two seats booked for one person. The agent asked which one did he want to sit in? Xu called Orbitz and demanded a refund.

"And I spent hours in the phone with customer service people and talked to as many as six customer service people," said Xu.

Finally he says Orbitz made an offer that he could definitely refuse.

"They're trying to give me an airline credit for the amount of the ticket, but in order to use that credit, I have to pay $280 in fees," said Xu.

Orbitz said he could only get airline credit, he had to use it within a year, and what's worse was he would have to pay a $280 change fee to book it. Xu said that was not fair.

"No not at all because it's really not my mistake in any way or shape," said Xu.

He was told to send a complaint to Orbitz headquarters, but he wanted to speak to a manager.

"Then I was told that's the best that they can offer me. I already reached the highest on the customer service," said Xu.

Instead, he contacted 7 On Your Side and we contacted Orbitz. The company tells us, it had already sent a refund request to Air Canada. And weeks later, Xu did get a full refund for the extra ticket.

Orbitz said: "The customer initially received misinformation in regards to receiving a credit and being charged a change fee for the ticket. The customer should receive a full refund and, prior to being contacted by your station, we worked with our airline partner to ensure that happened. We apologize for any inconvenience this has caused Mr. Xu."

"Absolutely, I appreciate it very much. I really appreciate it," said Xu.

Orbitz says if the travel site makes a booking mistake like this one, customers are entitled to a refund. They don't have to accept only credit. We would like to thank Orbitz and Air Canada for pushing through with that refund.


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