Travelling during the pandemic is difficult, you need to have a very good reason to make the trip and have to go through a lot of hassle. As a result, the travel sector isn’t in good shape. You’d think that companies would cherish the small number of brave souls who book their flights considering the unpredictability of the situation. You’re wrong. Some of them couldn’t care less.
I think I have a good reason to book this trip. Earlier this year, I was told that my mother who is in the Philippines lost her ability to walk. I was worried. During this time, she’s got appointments and tests booked to find out the reason. So, I booked a flight so I can be there to help, it’s also been a while since I saw my mother. The nearest date I could afford was end of April. So I booked via Expedia like we always do in our household. Booked local transfers and quarantine hotels, looked up policies in case of changes. Saw that Emirates policy looked good & I’ve always wanted to try the airline my best friend works in as stewardess. Everything was ready. Then The British government put the Philippines on red list. That meant, I will have to fork out £1750 for the quarantine hotel on the way back. I don’t have that money, lockdowns meant virtually no photography bookings and whatever cash I have, I’d keep it on the side in case I need it for my mother’s medication, hospitalisation, further tests or even surgery. With the flight date closing in and after being told that mum is not in life threatening condition, I decided to postpone the trip, to save up for the quarantine hotel & upcoming medical expenses and wait to be vaccinated (my age bracket was coming up next). I initially wanted to cancel and ask for refund. But I changed my mind, I thought that with the current situation, it would be hard to get money back since everyone is struggling. My ticket is refundable and I know that Emirates allow for ticket validity to be extended. I asked the Expedia agent, he said the Emirates ticket validity is true and he mentioned the travel credit. The customer service agent told me that all I need to do to rebook, is check the flight availability on their website and call them and give the reference. Easy. I understand that if there’s a difference, I have to pay extra, if the flight selected is cheaper, I might lose some. So we converted the flight to travel credit/voucher.
Roll on June, now I know mum’s spine injury is the cause of the mobility issue after her MRI scan and they also think she’s got osteoporosis. Her age plus her coughing problem means she’s a high risk patient and can’t be operated. So most expenses will go to medication and therapist.
I’ve got my first dose and thought if I book my flight, I should be able to have my second vaccine before the trip. So, I called Expedia again, waited over an hour an a half to get an agent, told the guy I want to book a certain flight (cheaper than my original flight). And so, the disappointing service started.
Did you see any mention of “same class of service” on the screenshot above? Nope. The agent told me he can’t book the available flight I saw on the website because it’s not the “same class of service” and the only seat available for me for my chosen date is in business class. So I need to pay admin fee of $400 plus the business class ticket difference. There was no mention of that at all when I agreed to change my ticket! Why aren’t they mentioning ticket validity extension anymore? The agent for this call then said the person I talked to before was wrong and the call was ended with him saying they will investigate the staff.
At this moment I started having doubts so I checked Expedia reviews. A lot of people on various forums said to contact the bank directly because the refund process takes weeks. Unfortunately, this transaction is not fraudulent AND it happened over 90 days ago. So, the bank can’t do anything even if I did not receive the service I paid for. Bummer.
A week later, another call to Expedia again. Actually today at 14:55. One hour and 19 minutes wait, crappy line (do you trust them to call back after the long wait? I don’t, so stayed on the line & told the guy it’s fine we’ll make do). Got an agent, no mention of the “investigation”. Same thing, the only flight available to me is £1600 plus admin fee of $400. FUCK! So, I requested a refund because it is now becoming ridiculous. The agent said my ticket was not refundable. I found my booking email and told him it said my ticket was refundable. He then said he didn’t say that it was non-refundable. Then, he said, taxes are not refundable… Oh, the shock swearing? I got told off for that. I was put on hold, 2hours and 22minutes on the call, they’re back on the line. Started saying that ” ..we’re checking in here, your refu… “, then the connection was dropped. I have a video of that bit too as I was already feeling frustrated with them.
I’ve waited, it’s already past 21h00 still no call back. In this case, would you still want to call back, waste over an hour of your day? I am too angry and frustrated to do that today.
From all the reviews I saw on Trustpilot about Expedia, it seems that there is NO CHANCE at all to get my money back.
Lesson from this experience: Due to the unpredictability of the Covid-19 situation, it is better book your flights directly. At least most airlines are more considerate than Expedia. So now, I am £741 poorer, I haven’t seen my mum, she’s still very poorly and I am angry at myself for thinking of doing a “nice gesture” of not asking for refund immediately, for believing their bullshit about ticket validity and losing the chance to get my money back with the help of my bank.
Now I can only find affordable flights in between the two charity fundraising events I am organising for my local church or cancel those events as suggested by my family or wait until next year. Knowing the health status of my mother, I am afraid to wait. So, Thank you for the shit service Expedia… NOT!