Travelocity's Lack of Customer Service Can Ruin a Perfectly Good Vacation


Travelocity claims: “Everything about your booking will be RIGHT, or we'll work with our partners to make it right, right away.

That’s a whole lot of pretty sounding words that make you think the company is going to go above and beyond to make you happy, but those words mean nothing special. As a service provider, if Travelocity accepts money from you to provide a service, they are required to provide the service they have been paid for. Pretty words or not, that’s the bottom line.

If a company doesn’t provide a service then why would you use them?

Simple answer: You shouldn’t.

And that brings us to my story, and why I will never use Travelocity again. You might consider your options as well, but don’t just take my warning at face value, hear my recent travel woes and see for yourself the lack of service I’ve been given by this company.

I originally booked through Travelocity because they offered a good deal on my flight from Las Vegas to Austin. We were scheduled to fly July 14th on Froniter Airlines flight 674 from Las Vegas (McCarran International Airport) to Denver (Denver International Airport) and then connect on to flight 212 from Denver (Denver International Airport) to Austin (Austin Bergstrom airport). Our flight from Las Vegas to Denver was delayed due to mechanical issues with the aircraft, (it was fixed at the gate). We arrived in Denver with enough time to make our connecting flight; however, that flight never took off.

Due to hail damage Frontier Airlines had begun canceling flights departing from Denver International Airport.
http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/post/2011/07/hail-storm-fallout-denver-cancellations-soar-into-hundreds/177360/1
http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/post/2011/07/frontier-hail-delays/177182/1

It would have been beneficial if Frontier Airlines had alerted us to these impending cancellations before we took off from Las Vegas, as it effectively stranded us in Denver.

Travelocity was unable to assist us with this due to the extreme hold times on Frontier Airline's customer service line. (Both my husband and I placed phone calls and hold times were over 2 hours long) We were advised to speak to customer service directly. So, our only recourse was to speak with Frontier Airline's customer service (in the airport terminal) and be re-booked onto a different flight. The line for customer service was well over two hours long and included literally thousands of stranded passengers.  My daughter (7 years old) and I waited in the line until we were finally assisted by an (understandably) exhausted customer service rep. She informed us there were no flights from Denver to Austin that we could re-book on, until the 17th of July (remember folks, this happened on the 14th of July). This was unacceptable. She offered us a partial reimbursement for the trip but made no other arrangements. I was not, nor am I still pleased by this particular representative’s lack of service, but we had very little choice. Being told we were stuck in Denver for 4 days of our vacation was not an acceptable option. We opted for the partial refund for the leg of the trip serviced by Frontier Airline's flight 212 from Denver to Austin and were told to pick up our bags at baggage claim.  A refund was to be processed within 2 weeks. While this was happening, my Husband (still in Vegas) was working to get me and my daughter booked onto a new flight using Southwest. (That cost us $312 out of pocket)

We exited the terminal and proceeded to Baggage claim to locate our bags, but they were nowhere to be found. Another hour and a half wait to speak with customer service told us they were already heading toward Austin. Apparently some of the flights were still leaving, we just couldn’t get on one…

Frontier Airlines is now on top of my “Do Not Fly” list, but this particular post is to focus on Travelocity’s failure, for that, I have to also explain Frontier Airline’s as well.

Thank you Frontier Airlines, who (owned by Republic Airways) works under the motto : “A whole different animal" represents our promise to you. Simply put, our goal is to do the little things that make a big difference to you.”

Yes, stranding us in Denver while shipping our bags ahead of us is most certainly a “little thing” that will make a huge difference in my decision to ever use your airline again.
http://www.frontierairlines.com/frontier/who-we-are.do
http://www.frontierairlines.com/frontier/who-we-are/company-info/our-difference.do

Republic Airways, (the parent company of Frontier) works off of a similar “sounds nice but doesn’t mean crap motto”: “Republic Airways will continue to build customer loyalty and brand preference for our airline partners through consistent, seamless customer service.”

Seamless customer service would not have had us waiting in two separate lines for customer service (one at the terminal and one in baggage claim) to solve our flight and baggage issues.
http://www.rjet.com/settingacourse.html

Over 10 hours later we did finally make it to Austin and sure enough, our baggage was there waiting for us, in the Frontier Airlines Baggage claim office, but because it was so late (12:00am local time), no one was there in the office to retrieve them for us.

Finally settled in, with luggage and after a good night’s sleep, I decided to check on my travel itinerary. I had hoped that since I had added travel insurance, I might be able to have the cost of the additional tickets through Southwest reimbursed. When I inputted my Trip ID (Travelocity’s way of tracking each itinerary), I was shocked to find out that my tickets had completely disappeared from the system. My daughter, still had tickets however she was still listed as being in Denver, waiting for her replacement flight to Austin on the 17th of July.

Now, I’m a computer person, I understand glitches happen, so I gave it a bit to see if the information would correct itself. It did not, so on the 18th (5 days into the trip), I made a call to Travelocity to inquire about the missing ticket and the discrepancy with my daughter’s flight plans.

Because my flight had been deleted from Travelocity’s system, the initial representative I spoke to (non-American) was unable to locate me. It took over an hour of speaking (read: working through his heavy accent and repeating myself many, many times) with him and having him research the original itinerary to find me and attempt to put the pieces together of what had gone wrong with my Trip ID. The phone call ended with him having to research further where the glitch in the system was. He assured me I would receive email confirmation of both tickets and suggested that if I did not receive these email confirmations, I should call back.

24 hours later, (now the 19th of July. 6 days into the trip) it was still not fixed. I still had no tickets home and my daughter was to fly alone (not going to happen) on the 30th of July. So I made another phone call. This representative (another non-American) began assigning me new confirmation numbers that were not linked to my Trip ID (please note that the Trip ID is how Travelocity keeps track of your itinerary. The confirmation numbers are Frontier's specific numbers that coincide with  their own system). Neither Travelocity’s nor Frontier’s website could show me any information linked to these new confirmation codes I was given. 

This resulted in another phone call to Travelocity Customer service. It is now the 20th of July (7 days into the trip). I explain to yet another non-American customer service representative what has been happening and that I still do not exist on Travelocity’s website, nor do my confirmation codes work anywhere on Frontier’s website. The rep assures me that the codes are good and that I have tickets booked and confirmed but cannot provide written confirmation of this. I must take it all on faith that when I get to the airport on the 30th of July, I will have a flight home for both me and my daughter.

Now, I’m not a very trusting person. I paid good money for these tickets and because I no longer exist under a Trip ID that was assigned to me, I am extremely wary of just “showing up” at the airport, so I demand written confirmation.

It is now the 24th of July, 11 days into the trip. I have made a phone call every day and been brushed off each time by promises of a supervisor calling back or their specialist team handling my issue. I have spoken to rude customer service individuals, Ryan in particular (he was non-American but refused to give me a name other than Ryan.). I have asked for supervisors (Spoke with non-American woman this time) who apologized but could not fix the issue and, just as with all of the others, could not provide me written confirmation of my ticket to Las Vegas. She was however, able to provide me 2 duplicate confirmations for my daughter, then blamed a “glitch in the system” for the inability to provide my confirmation.

After all of this, I am still being told to take it on “faith” that my tickets are good and confirmed on Frontier. If they are confirmed, then why can no one provide me written confirmation? If a “glitch” in their system is preventing them from confirming my ticket in writing, I ask, how am I to trust the verbal confirmation they are giving me? Will the gate agent at the airport just take a verbal assurance from me that a ticket exists? How about TSA agents, will they let me through security based on my word? I think not.

It’s been well over a week since my first phone call. If Travelocity’s motto is: “Everything about your booking will be RIGHT, or we'll work with our partners to make it right, right away,” I ask you, what exactly does “right away” mean?

Travelocity has failed to provide the very basic of service to me and it seems all of the “work” involved in attempting to make it “right” has been done by me, spending many hours of my vacation time working to ensure that I will be able to make it home safely.

Beyond the fact that I have had to do all of the legwork (daily phone calls) , Travelocity has not even offer even the smallest amount of appeasement for the lack of service they promised but have not provided. This is no way to treat a customer and the reason why I am writing this blog now. I want others to know of the troubles I’ve had and the lack of care Travelocity has shown in correcting the matter and keeping me as a customer.

My story could easily be yours. Customers are nothing more than a number in Travelocity’s system, and as it stands, my number (Trip ID) still fails to show me as a passenger, so I am less than nothing in their system.

The lesson learned here is this: It’s better to book directly with the airline than to use a package service agency like Travelocity.

Once I get things solved with Travelocity, I still have to fight with Frontier to get my reimbursement for flight 212… But that’s a blog post for another day.

Travelocity Board  Of Directors

Comments

Botanist said…
Oh, what a horror story Katie. I've long ago come to the conclusion that airlines are a law unto themselves, and simple things like entering into a contract with a customer, which is what happens when they take money from you in return for a promise of service, means nothing to these people. They refuse to acknowledge that they are invariably holding more than a flight in their grubby mitts. People travel for a reason, and lack of delivery by the airline can have lasting consequences for people.

I hope you make it home as planned without any more stress.
Katie Salidas said…
Botanist, Thanks for the well wishes! And you are so right, lack of delivery can and will have a lasting memory. As my hubby often comments, I have a memory like a steel trap. I never forget an injury.

Shame on Travelocity and Frontier both for botching this whole vacation up.

For now, I am going to relax with a nice glass of Sweet Tea and enjoy what remains of my vacation. =)

Katie
Lindsey said…
Oh my gosh, Katie, this is horrible. I was supposed to fly to Denver the same day you were, but my flight was cancelled because of the hail. I didn't have nearly the amount of troubles you had, though. I think airlines and travel sites act this way because they know they can. It's so sad, and I'm deeply sorry this happened to you.
Katie Salidas said…
Sorry to hear your flight was canceled too Lindsey.

I can understand weather issues and damaged planes, but the way Travelocity and Frontier have handled things is just ridiculous.

Where is the "customer service?" That's what I want to know.

Hope your plans weren't ruined due to the cancellations on the 14th. Hugs
Coral said…
Wow. What a nightmare. So sorry this happened to you and ruined your vacation. :( I used to enjoy flying on Frontier several years back, but that was before they were bought by Republic.

Unfortunately, my do not use again list of airlines is getting long these days because they are all plagued by the same problems: canceled and delayed flights with no real consideration for customer issues. We're flying out to Denver on JetBlue in September We haven't had any issues with them so far, and here's hoping for another problem free set of flights.