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Thursday, March 19, 2009

Trying to breath.....

Man oh man... it seems as if my life has been a TOTAL whirlwind as of the last....hmmmm.... well the last few months to be honest! I do apologize for being slack on my blogging... really I do! I hope that in the next few weeks a good deal of my day to day stress will be over with and life can get back to normal - well as normal as life can be with a deployed soldier as a husband!!!

Speaking of deployment - hmmmm.... let me tell you - PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE do not EVER use Expedia.com to arrange your travel plans!! I personally am boycotting them - and will NEVER EVER use them again!

See it all started back when my hubby was here on his last four day pass.... He told me that he would get one more leave before heading overseas and that leave would be for a certain time period. Well the place that they are mobing from is a 10 hour drive from our house. So knowing that I wouldn't been in any stable emotional state to drive myself home after saying goodbye to my husband who is heading to a war zone for a year - I purchased a plane ticket though Expedia to fly there to see my hubby one last time before he leaves.

Now let me just start by telling you - my husband and his men are in Mississippi - and I am in GA.... you would think since it is pretty much a straight shot across two states - this was be a quick, cheap flight - RIGHT?!?!? NOT!!! I actually have to go to Detroit, then to Texas to get to Mississippi! CRAZY!!! But you know - it is what it is.

So I purchase my ticket - and all is right with the world.... UNTIL.... Uncle Sam has now decided to send my husband early! So.... that means he will still get a leave (thank goodness) but now I have to change my ticket to the earlier date..... so I called Expedia to explain the situation and to get the ticket changed!

Well I have to be honest with you - Expedia claims that their home office is in Atlanta GA. I thought - awesome - my husband is with the GA National Guard - the Atlanta Journal (the newspaper) has an embedded reported with them most of the time - the people at Expedia with be understand and sympathetic to my issues. They will be kind to my situation - maybe they could reduce my change fee (I mean since this isn't my fault really).... or at the very least they will be sympathetic to my emotional state......right??? Hrumph!

I called the 1-800 number and I got a person in Sir Lanka! Huh?!?!? Sir Lanka?!?!? And I have to tell you the honest truth - I couldn't understand a thing this person was saying... I told the person on the other end that I would have to talk to someone else - as I didn't understand them..... I was very nice about it.... what what did they say? They hung up on me!!!

I called the 1-800 number back. This time I got someone in the Philippians! They were a little easier to understand.... but not much. So I told them I needed to talk to someone else - they told me to get another agent - I would have to hang up and call back again... So I did - but this time I called the Atlanta number thinking well even though it was long distance for me - at least I would get someone in the USA - right?!?! NOT!!!!

This time I once again got someone in the Philippians. But at least I could understand her. And I needed to get my ticket changed, right! So I explained that I needed to change my ticket. Before I could even finish what I was trying to say - she interrupted me and told me that would be $150 change fee though the airline and a $30 fee for Expedia for having to change it plus the addition cost of the ticket which of course was higher than my original ticket. So I am like.... uh ok - but what I am wondering is since it is because my husband is in the military and he is deploying to Afghanistan.... and this point she starts giggling!!! I KID YOU NOT!!! Oh... I was freaking mad - and said "Well, I am glad you think it is funny - but I don't!"

To make a really long story short - I ended up having to pay $352 on top of the $344.50 I had already spent to get from GA to Mississippi!!!! Yep - I kid you not - $696.50 for one plane ticket!!! (Now to put this is perspective - I just last week purchased my plane ticket from GA to AZ, you know half way across the US from me for $266!!!)

Anyway - the more I thought about it - the madder I got! Here this company is saying they are a US company - doing business in US.... in the time of an economic recession and they are hiring people from other countries to fill their jobs?!?! I just don't get it! Not to mention - that while I am sure they can pay those people less money than they would pay US employees- by the time they pay the long distance bill to transfer all those calls - it just can't possibly be cheaper - not unless they have some kick butt overseas calling plan I have never seen!!!!

So I called them back that afternoon - and of course I got someone in the Philippians - and I asked to speak to someone in the US.... to which they replied - I can't transfer you, you have to just keep calling back but that there is no guarantee that you will get someone in the US!!! I am like - are you KIDDING ME?!?!? Well I called back 11 times - and not once did I get someone in the US.

So I decided to e-mail them and tell them that I really wanted to speak to someone in the US... I am still really TICKED off that this lady in another country who is filling a job someone here in our country desperately needs had the gall to LAUGH when I said my husband was deploying overseas........ and this my friends is the email I got back!!!

Dear Expedia Customer,

Thank you for contacting us about your request.We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you. Currently, we have no direct number for representatives based in the U.S.

If you have any questions or requests, please provide us with more information.

We appreciate your patience regarding this matter.

Thank you for choosing Expedia.

Expedia.com Customer Service Team

Yeah..... needless to say I will NEVER EVER use Expedia again!!!!!

Ok - I am going to get off my soapbox now... sorry this post was soooo long!!! Will try to be more cheerful tomorrow - and hey maybe I'll even thow in a freebie!!!!

Until Next Time!


Lori McDonald, Designer

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AnnW March 19, 2009 at 11:26 AM  

Dear Lori,
I am so sorry this happened to you. Thank you for taking the time to share this experience with us. It is a real eye-opener! I had a similar experience with American Airlines once, although that was several years ago when we were actually allowed to speak with someone living in America. My problem was favorably resolved, but only because I was blessed to actually reach the same person twice when I called. Talk about a small miracle! He said he had been thinking about me ever since I called the first time. He went out on a limb for me and fixed the problem. He even gave me his name, in case there was any difficulty when my son arrived at the airport. There was problem and it was only by supplying the name of the agent I had spoken to that my son was able to come home by only paying an additional $150 dollars instead of an additional $1000. I don't know if that agent was fired or reprimanded for going against an unfair airline policy, but I will be forever grateful for his integrity and kindness. After hearing your story, I will no longer purchase airline tickets through Expedia. Once again, I am truly sorry this happened to you, but am grateful that you let us know about your experience, so that others may be spared.
May God bless you and your husband,

Anonymous,  March 19, 2009 at 12:05 PM  

Hang in there, Lori. Things are bound to get better. Please tell your husband "thank you" for all that he does to protect our country.

Anonymous,  March 19, 2009 at 12:51 PM  

The nerve of some people. I cant believe the reaction you received. How horrible. God Bless you.

C. Sage Deerborn March 19, 2009 at 1:17 PM  

This is terrible. You should call your local news station about it, and maybe they will cover it. You might get a proper response from Expedia then.

Anonymous,  March 19, 2009 at 4:37 PM  

This sounds like our experience with them when DH Had his heart attack and was in ICU. I'll never deal with them again either! Sorry to hear that you had to deal with such a mess..

Anonymous,  March 19, 2009 at 8:48 PM  

Wow, that really stinks. I think I'd call the airline direct to see if there is anything that can be done. The airlines reps can most definitely help if they so desire. Thanks for sharing and helping others avoid the same mess.

Ileana March 20, 2009 at 8:20 PM  

Don't give up on this. Contact your local TV station--the one that advertises the most that they are on your side or fights for you. I'm sorry this has happened to you but letting companies walk on our service members and their families is completely unacceptable. Keep fighting! At the least, it will give them some bad press which they deserve.

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