I recently booked a flight through Orbitz online- a round trip on China Airlines from San Francisco to Bangkok. Before booking, I was allowed to visit the seating chart for the airlines and “select” seats for that flight. (If an airlines does not allow this service, I move on to another.) I was booking two months in advance to make sure I did not end up in the back of the plane, in a middle seat, for this very long flight. I selected my seats, then proceeded to checkout where I bought my flight. A month later, checking my reservation, I found out I really did not have confirmed seats – but something called customer selected seats.
When I called the airlines, I found out that seat assignments for this batch of seats sold to Orbitz (category L) could only be made on the day of departure at the airport. They did have a record of seats I would “prefer,” but seats could not be confirmed until the day of the flight. According to China Airlines, these seats were a special “promo” (I had no idea) and the downside was that you could not reserve seats for this cheaper fare. I spent hours, literally, on the phone with Orbitz. My main complaint was that this was a smoke and mirror sales tactic – in fact, false advertising.
There is no way I would have booked with Orbitz if I could not reserve and confirm a seat on these long flights. I asked for my money back so I could buy another flight that allowed me to confirm a seat. I was told I could only cancel my flight (and receive my ticket price back) if I paid a huge penalty to do so. Orbitz denied any wrong-doing here. I went from customer service to supervisor more than once (each call took more than an hour of waiting on the phone). The company never budged.
Now I am in the predicament of either giving Orbitz more money for this bait-and-switch maneuver, or biting the bullet, knowing that when I arrive at the airport in a month, I will be sitting in the back of the airplane in the worst possible seat (that no one else, buying a ticket either through the airlines or another online service) wanted.
Are You Upset Or Frustrated At A Business?