Expedia Delivers Worst Customer Phone Experience

This has got be the worst phone queue hell I have ever experienced. As I write this, I am exactly 2 hours into being put on hold by Expedia to make a minor change to my flight date for an upcoming trip. Why am I so stupid to wait this long on hold? You might be more perplexed that this is not my first time being placed on hold in the past two days, but my THIRD. My previous hold times were 1 hour 10 minutes and 1 hour 40 minutes, respectively – both which I ended to try a different course of action. Since Expedia is an online site, you would think I could make these changes over the net, but no, they require you to call their support line. After each of my first two attempts, I wrote them an email. Here is the frustrating correspondence that has left me no choice other than wait through the shrieking looping violin blaring out of my speaker phone:

  • ME, Oct 13th, 2007 (through Expedia site):
    Hello -I need to change my return flight on Alaska Airlines from San Francisco to Vancouver. Please let me know what the procedure is and how much the change will cost me. Thanks. Rajan
  • EXPEDIA, Oct 15th, 2007, 10:17am:
    Dear Rajan Sodhi, Thank you for contacting Expedia.ca regarding your reservation. Due to our high security measures, we ask all Expedia.ca members to call us directly and speak to one of our agents in order to change or cancel their booking. Please feel free to contact us if you have any further questions. Our Customer Support Representatives are available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Thank you for choosing Expedia.ca!
  • ME, Oct 15th, 2007, 11:20AM:
    I have been on hold for over an hour now. Please call me at XXX-XXX-XXXX. Rajan Sodhi.
  • EXPEDIA, Oct 16th, 2007, 10:00am:
    Dear Rajan, Thank you for taking the time to write to us. We appreciate your thoughtful comments, and we’re sorry that your experience was not as expected. We rely on customers like you to provide us with the information we need to continue improving our services. We would just like to remind you that your time is of value to us, but we are experiencing an unusually high call volume at this time, and all calls are answered in a priority sequence. Due to high security standards, we do require you to call back, but cannot at this time give you a direct line to call. We thank you for your patience. If you have questions regarding this matter or require further assistance, please reply to this email or contact our 24-hour support desk at 1-888-397-3342. Our customer support representatives are available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
  • ME, Oct 17th, 2007, 11:40AM:
    I am currently on hold again and it has now been exactly 1hr and 40 minutes. Do you find this acceptable? I have been a customer of your site for at least three years and I find this appalling. Please provide me now with a direct phone number to an agent or call me at XXX.XXX.XXXX or XXX.XXX.XXXX – I cannot continue to stay on hold. Thank you. Rajan SodhiItinerary# XXXXXXXXXXX
    1. Need to change return flight from SFO.
    2. Received a notification through Expedia that a change was made to my flight. Cannot see it on site – prompted me to call you. Please clarify.
  • EXPEDIA, Oct 17th, 2007, 12:17pm:
    Dear Rajan, We apologize for the wait you had on the phone lines as we are currently experiencing an unusually heavy call and e-mail volume. Unfortunately, we cannot provide a direct line or have an agent call you as they are all working hard to reduce the call volume. We understand that you are frustrated and appreciate any patience in this matter. If you have questions regarding this matter or require further assistance, please reply to this email or contact our 24-hour support desk at 1-888-397-3342. Our customer support representatives are available to assist you 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Ridiculous. And they have the nerve to refer to themselves in their recorded greeting as ‘customer care’ representatives. What’s the point of using witty terms and canned friendly email messages if the service doesn’t deliver. I used to recommend Expedia to everyone. I’ve been using their services for over three years and book 90 percent of my flights and hotels through it. No more. Crappy service like this makes me want to find a good travel agent.


Filed under Business, Communications, Customer Service, Expedia, Internet, marketing, phone, Sales, Selling, Small Business Marketing, Travel, Web Sites

42 responses to “Expedia Delivers Worst Customer Phone Experience

  1. They been okay for me as long as I don’t have to change anything or have a problem, then it’s “pass the buck” between them and the vendor. –
    Brent Riggs – Author of Life Without Debt and Online Business Brain Dump – http://www.gbrentriggs.com

  2. Brent, you’re right. I’ve been happy with them in the past because I’ve never had to change my itinerary. I’ve gone as far as to recommend them to many friends and family. This experience has definitely impacted my perception of Expedia and makes me wonder that if this is the hurdle I have to jump through for a minor change, a bigger change will be a giant pain in the arse. Not customer-friendly at all.

  3. I have had similar problems with my trip through Travelocity. Ran into an issue with hotel booking, and Travelocity had to get involved – after 2 hours, I still had no resolution. The Gnome was no where to be found.

  4. Pingback: Call Centre Hell « Outsourcing and Call Center Blog

  5. Jack Ryan

    Hey Rajan,
    Well i know is that we cannot be so hard on Expedia because they are there trying to do their jobs and we need to understand that it is not our fault that our flights have been changing it is thoses darn pesky airlines. I don’t know how many times those airlines have changed my flights. And when I called into Expedia regarding my schedule change that Delta Airlines did i was so happy that it was worth the wait because i understood that they were trying their hardest to help me and when they did i was so happy at how helpful and pleasn’t they were with me.

  6. Christine

    HI ALL
    I would just like to add my comments, after being on hold for more than 7 hours, being hung up on during a transfer and still listening to the same song over and over i have gotten nowhere. My problems is they screwed up my flights, they told me to contact them and my flight leaves in a week. I can’t afford to sit on the phone this long for nothing.
    It doesn’t matter how pleasant they are if you can’t even get through.

  7. I’ve just received another notification from Expedia to contact them immediately about a change to one of my flights. I’m dreading having to make the call… can’t afford another two hours on hold! BTW, I received an online customer survey from Expedia today. I filled it out and pointed out my incredible frustration with their phone service, along with a link to this blog. If you’ve had a similar experience, share it here and chances are, they’ll read it. Honest feedback is the only way to improve service, so I’m sure they’ll welcome it.

  8. Andrea

    You’re not the only one to have this problem with Expedia.ca. Check out http://www.MyExpediaExperience.com to find out what drastic steps another customer had to take in order to get his flights changed, after spending NINE HOURS on hold. And then read the other complaints on TripAdvisor.com; they are linked at the MyExpediaExperience website.

  9. Thanks Andrea for sharing… that’s unbelievable!

  10. I have been on the phone with them for 3 hours today and still have not talked with a human. Yesterday I spent 3 hours 15 minutes before giving up and going to bed. This is the most horrible customer service I have ever encountered.

    I’m not sure that anyone will EVER answer this call.

  11. TG

    The general consensus is that wait times are horrible and I must agree. I was asked by Expedia to contact them regarding changes.

    Every call I made I spoke with someone within 20 minutes. This person was only front line and would then transfer me to flight department, then the waiting began. (Recent change I don’t know)

    Was on hold 3 hours yesterday when I gave up and went to bed.
    Was on hold 2.5 hours today but when I did speak with someone in the flight department was disconnected while they look into.

    I called back and was one hold for 20 minutes and the first rep was very sorry and went over to Flight department himself and resolved it. As it turns out I didn’t need to contact them after all as I made my changes via the airline (US Airways).

    I must admit the personnel was very nice at Expedia and hardly their fault. I think the problem is a result of poor management decisions (short staffing for the call volume, etc.).

    My only advice is WORK WITH THE AIRLINES directly. The reservations are made under your name not Expedia’s so they should be able to make changes.

    I was on hold with US Airways total of 10 minutes both times I contacted them (first to change my return flight and second to confirm). Both times I never told them I book via Expedia just gave my reservation details (name, flight number, date of travel). Then once you’ve made changes you should receive TWO emails from Expedia one stating that there has been changes to contact them and a second detailing changes and stating not to contact if you are aware of change (this was in my Hotmail Junk folder).

    And yes I am PO’d that I was on the phone for 7 hours with Expedia for a call I didn’t need to be on but I guess blame rest on me for not checking emails fully. Luckily the time I spent on hold I was on my couch watching television/a complete movie.

  12. TG

    Rajan just to comment on a recent post:

    “I’ve been happy with them in the past because I’ve never had to change my itinerary.”

    This will always be the case, all processes at booking is fully automated and completed by servers. They should be out of business (or some IT employee) if this wasn’t the case.

  13. Pratyush

    Same experience here. Made a big mistake booking through them. Everyday come from office tired and go through the same grinding experience of listening to endless loops of music as I’m put on hold to talk to someone live. Wanted to change schedules and for the past 3-4 days, have been put on hold on average fo 2-2.5 hrs everyday. And everyday I just have to give up and try again next day. Don’t know whether I’ll be able to change my flight dates in time…

  14. Gagan

    As I write this, I have been waiting for the flight department to answer my call from the last 2.5 hours, and this isn’t my first call of the day. Earlier I gave up after 1 hour, then 2 hours, and now I am scared after reading someone had to wait for 9 hours.

  15. i hope this is the most adventurous thing to read!

  16. Seb

    Hello all – I have just had the most frustrating experience – just like everyone else here! Waited on hold for 2.5 hours yesterday before giving up, another 2+ hours today.. used a second phome to speak with a supervisor while on hold on the first phone.. problem is is flight department.. unfortunately those poor 1st line customer care people have to answer the call and deal with irate customers when there is nothing they could do about it!
    I just don’t understand why they do not give you a number straight for the flight department when they notify you that “URGENT – please call – there has been a change to your schedule”.. Those initial customer care people can’t seem to help at all!

    I was finally satisfied to have finally reached a human.. they found another reasonable flight.. although it was strange because it was the same flight number but leaving an hour later.. but getting there at the same time.. The agent told me that it was an equipment change and in fact it would only be a 2 hour flight instead of a 3 hour one because this plane was faster.. ??!? okay…

    Imagine my frustration when I checked my schedule on line an hour later.. and the incompetent agent booked me on a flight a month EARLIER instead of the original date.. the change in time was reflective of daylight savings time change and not a faster jet! Thank goodness I checked, otherwise I would have been in for a surprise down the road!

    So I spent another – yes, 2 hours on the phone.. everyone there knows me now.. I refused to get off the phone until the supervisor got involved.

    After all this, it’s still not finished.. I am asking for a cancellation…

  17. Sherry

    Hey all,
    I was on hold for 3 hours and 20 minutes on a Friday. I called them at 11:00am EST and got to talk to the 1st representative within 15 minutes. Then got transferred to another department. This hold time was very long – like I said, 3 hours.
    Just to cancel my flight. And it’s non-refundable, non-transferrable.
    They told me that they would email me something to confirm my cancelation.

  18. Jim

    I’ve now been on the line for 2.5 hours. I don’t think there’s anything one can do other than just wait. What a terrible company – I suppose it’s just as simple as that. I’ve used their service a lot over the past year or two, but this is the first time I’ve received an e-mail saying “urgent – your flight has been changed – please call”. If anyone knows of another similar company that has a good online service AND has anything remotely resembling customer service, PLEASE let me know and I will switch in a heartbeat.

  19. I am on hold with expedia.ca for precisely 3hrs 55mines…. going on 4 hours plus… on Nov 17th 2007. I am simply trying to book a flight with a credit voucher they have not given me so I cannot do it on line. What horrid service~!

  20. Danish Cookies

    The problem with Expedia.ca is that most people call in to make changes to their flight or the airline forces a schedule change forcing the customer to call Expedia. Now the department that makes those changes has between 15 people in the afternoon, dwindling down to about 3 in the evening. So hold times start at 2 hours and can run to 6 hours. The reason why there are so few people is the system used to communicate with the airline is a 1960’s command driven program called Sabre. Most airlines use it. As a result of such and archaic and complicated system, most people would rather work somewhere else than at Expedia for $10.50/hour.
    Good luck.

  21. Lucie Kocum

    Hi folks,

    I have been on hold over 10 hours altogether because of a flight change–4 hours to find out that my flight hadn’t actually changed, and over 6 hours trying to re-book because *I* had the audacity to want to change the flight. I still don’t have a ticket because, when I finally got through (hour 10:10) there was some glitch with the “re-issuing” fee. So, I’ve paid over $500 to get home for Christmas, but I have no flight. They assured me they’d call me back to confirm everything was booked, and they didn’t. They just sent me an email confirmation for a flight that I took last year!

    What on EARTH is going on with Expedia, and how can we take action?

  22. Martin

    I am currently on hold. I have been on hold for some 2 hours, coming to 2hr, 15 min. I am calling Expedia because they have sent me an email saying my flight has been changed by the airline. I called once, was told that the change was minor, but I needed to talk to the ‘flights’ department.
    I am still waiting.
    I can’t even look at the itinerary online anymore, because Expedia is presumably having difficulties with some part of it… I have sent them a shirty email, and I hope to get a reply from them.

  23. Julianna

    4 hours and counting on hold. It’s running up my cell phone bill like crazy. I would use my home phone but I’ve got other things that I’ve got to do as well. That’s not to mention the last few days. My flight leaves in a week plus a day. One of my flights was cancelled by the airline so I’ve been trying to get it straightened out. If I don’t get a hold of someone tonight that can help me then I’m calling the airline tomorrow to make sure that it’s cleared. I called the airline yesterday but they were closed. I’m very annoyed with this. I was on hold so long yesterday that I had the song stuck in my head the rest of the day. I had almost had the situation worked out but since the airline was closed there was nothing that could be done. One of the agents at Expedia.ca took my number and said that they’d call me after they get in touch with the airline. I haven’t heard back yet. I’m still trying though. It’s very important that I get this worked out but they apparently don’t understand the urgency of my situation.

  24. Julianna

    I gave up for tonight so I’m calling the airline.

  25. I’m shocked that so many people have had the same experience as me, but more shocked that people continue to experience problems. I would think Expedia would have addressed this by now. Wow.

  26. Randy

    I’m same as everyone here. 3 hours yesterday, 2 hours today and counting. Don’t bother calling the airline – they can’t help you unless you are already in the middle of traveling. I called my credit card company to see if I could refuse the charges put through by Expedia. It sounds like that might be a possibility, if I can provide sufficient grounds that they have billed without my authorization. I am definitely NOT getting what I paid for. What would you do if you bought a wool sweater on-line and then the company never shipped it? In my mind, it is the same thing.

    We should all refuse the charges on our credit cards and make Expedia chase us. I recommend trying that plus two more things: NEVER use Expedia again, and tell everyone you know to NEVER use Expedia again. The company is history anyway with service like this – it’s just a cheap to buy directly from the airline online. Use Expedia’s website for free to check out the flights, and then once you’ve found what you want, go and book it directly with the airline.

    This music is SOOO bad!

  27. Randy

    Get this folks: check out investor relations at Expedia at http://investors.expediainc.com/phoenix.zhtml?c=190013&p=irol-irhome

    You will learn that this company had a net income (after all expenses) of $99 Million in the last QUARTER. Are you telling me they can’t afford more people on the phones…?!

    Their Nasdaq symbol is EXPE and the President / CEO’s name is Dara Khosrowshahi. He (or she) ought to be ashamed. The top of their quarterly report conveniently lists all their affiliated companies you should avoid.

  28. Randy

    Here are some phone numbers that I’m guessing DON’T have the violins playing:

    Investor Relations: 425-679-3555
    Communications: 425-679-4317

  29. Martin

    I’m on hold again. 2h, 52min and counting.

  30. Expedia, stop the insanity! I suggest that everyone start sharing this post with everyone they know to put pressure on Expedia to provide an official response here. Let’s get heard. I’ve placed a link here to “digg” this post on the digg site. Please do and let’s get heard. And send this to everyone you know to get the word out. LET’S TAKE ACTION AGAINST POOR CUSTOMER SERVICE.


  31. hayden

    according to latest survey, 99.5% of expedia customer rated them as “excellent”

  32. Danish Cookies

    Everyone will be glad to hear that more people will be joining me in taking calls in the flight change department. The past couple overnights, we have been waiting for customers to call, instead of customers waiting for us to take the call. I may have even spoken to some of you.

    Here is the history of what is causing so many problems:
    This past summer, Expedia Inc. changed outsourcing companies and as a result one center closed and another opened with very few people who understood or knew how to use the Sabre travel system. The same system airlines, travel agencies and Expedia uses to process the changes. This resulted in a huge number of calls being routed to the new understaffed outsourcing company, where callers (the ones above this post) were waiting and still waiting a combined 12+ hours over 3 or 4 days or 7+ hours in one sitting as I have heard from several callers.

  33. Danish Cookies

    Furthermore, some of you living near US border cities should consider using Expedia.com and not .ca to try and book tickets online. Despite the message on Expedia.com that travelers must use a US credit card, I have had many Canadians using .com with Canadian credit cards to make reservations without any problems. Perhaps someone could give it a try and report back.

  34. Janice

    Is it too late to complain about expedia?
    I’ve been on hold for ever now for a refund which would be almost immediate according to the first agent I’ve spoken with about a week ago! According to their best price guarantee policy I should be reimbursed the difference between Delta’s price and expedia’s one (much higher) for the same itinerary. Made the mistake to go through Expedia as opposed to straight to Delta…Well, after being assured that a refund will be made, someone would call me (in the next 20 mn…yeah right, it’s been a week), then some other agent trying to prove to me that there was actually no price difference between them and Delta (like $800 and $1065 look alike), me guiding the agent throught the Delta website, asking to talk to a supervisor(unavailable but would call me back), told that they don’t give agent ID numbers to customers…I am still…on hold!!!!
    So, starting to have a feeling that I have lost about $200.00 since Delta’s fares will eventually change and I’ll have no proofs whatsoever that they were that low ever…

  35. Janice

    Oh, and silly me, it is not the first time I’ve got in trouble with them…my flight was cancelled once, and I learnt that through other people who had read somewhere that this connection no longer existed…called expedia to confirm…1.5h later, after actually convincing the first agent I talked to that there was a problem with my itinerary, yep, true, there was a note from the airline saying that they needed to be contacted concerning this flight…

  36. Julie

    Just called Expedia at 1-800-Expedia. Got put on hold to the strains of Pachelbel’s Canon in D which is I think the same song everyone else heard. However, instead of keeping me on hold for hours, the song plays through once and then Expedia hangs up! I’ve called thrice and the same thing happens each time. Apparently they have gotten the message that people don’t like to be on hold for long periods, so now they just say ‘goodbye’ and pffffft you’re outta there!

  37. jhon

    Worst customer service ever, don’t support Expedia, bunch of scammers. Bought two ticket for $315 each for a total of $630. Did not use ticket, all I got back was $196 for me and my daughter.

  38. martin

    I thought you’d find this amusing. I’m the same Martin that posted my delays above.

    Some 6 MONTHS after I complained directly to Expedia because they were too slow, I got an email today saying:

    Dear Traveller,

    At Expedia.ca, we value your business and want you to know we’re committed to providing you with quality service. We are contacting you because our records show that you contacted our customer support centre and may have experienced a longer than acceptable wait time.

    We sincerely regret any inconvenience you experienced. A number of events contributed to long wait times including administrative and system changes compounded by much higher than expected call volumes.

    6 MONTHS to reply to an email about how frigging slow they are?!

    I feel like I should sell this to a stand-up comic.

  39. johan

    you all have lost money i assume as i have , i lost out to the tune of 3000 australian dollars
    i either get the phone hang up on me when its deemed to be (too hard) or they ask for an alternate phone number to (never)call you back on
    i have spent an average of 5 hours calling from australia every nite ,6.5 hours one nite,for 9 days now
    this is to change flights due to a misnomer upon the expedia website resulting in my booking of melbourne (florida ) flight in stead of melbourne australia. anyway,long story short if i had one of em infront of me right now they would be dead and i would be in jail so i have resorted to giving up the money and staying sane
    no other way to put it now is there
    you all have been there i have been there too / just a lil longer on the phone
    i would kill my self but they prolly have the booking rights to the ascention to heaven or hell
    no further comment other than please NEVER EVER EVER BOOK WITH EXPEDIA
    save yourself the heartache and frustration and spend a lil more at a travel agency
    goodbye cruel world

  40. johan

    Just to reiterate, spend ur money with Expedia if you don’t want to see it ever again,after 50 hours on the phone to NY from Australia, Expedia finally released the tickets I bought to the airline. AirFrance then wanted 200 dollars penalty for the Delta leg of the trip and 200 for the AirFrance leg of the trip. I just got off the phone to them after hearing the consultant tell me Delta is now 300 dollar penalty plus 200 for AirFrance , i have since spent 200 dollars on phone calls plus the 1,500 each for the two tickets and they want me to pay a difference of 500 odd for the new flights which previously came to a difference of 27 dollars.

    I am sick up to my ears of AirFrance’s BS rules/changing flights must be of equal or more value and they only take American issued cards and sick of Expedia’s incompetence in dealing with this matter. The whole thing has put me off going anywhere. I told AirFrance to f–k off and Expedia can go get f–ked too. I lose the 3 grand but i have my sanity. F–k em all i say.

  41. oh my god !!

    if we use expedia as Benchmark for Customer Service

    I think all Customer Care of public sector enterprises serving customers and govt departments in Developing Countries will look lot quicker 😉

  42. Vickie

    I needed to change my flight…date and airport. The rep on the phone was very helpful (after and hour wait) and even suggested a cheaper flight. After my prompting, she read the info back to me, confirming my new flight details to the new airport. I got my confirmation e-mail….it is the SAME AIRPORT THAT I ORIGINALLY WANTED OUT OF. Expedia says that since i was informed and gave consent to the changes they can do nothing and I will have to pay all over again, even thought it was clearly their mistake. Every time I try to talk to a manager I am mysteriously disconnected. This is outrageous.

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