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LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

San Diego, Ca
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6 posts
7 reviews
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LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

I am not saying not to use these companies but please be aware of what can go wrong if the timing of your trip is critical:

Using Orbitz I purchased a RT Tijuana to Quito on LAN Chile. Two days before the April 28, 2012 departure I received a routine e-mail reminder from Orbitz. I noticed the middle of the three return segments was commencing prior to the first. Obviously an impossible schedule.

I immediately called Orbitz and after a while was told to call back in the morning. I did and they finally told me they had "fixed" the problem by moving the other two segments back one day. I did not want to loose a day of my already short trip but it was too late at that point I was told.

I arrived at the Tijuana airport 2.5 hours early and was told that I had to pay a change fee by Aero Mexico - the operator of the LAN flight. I politely protested but agreed to pay it. I got shuffled around to two different windows but neither could process the fee due to LAN being closed on a Saturday. The Aero Mex staff worked very hard to get me on that flight but the clocked ticked down and ultimately they could not let me board.

I returned home to San Diego and called Orbitz. They also could not do anything due to the weekend and told me to call back later. I asked if they could work on rescheduling and they took down some possible dates from me and said they would look into it. I have been calling them over the past several days, each time having to explain myself and finally getting transferred to the international staff. There is no direct line to international.

So far all I have been told is that LAN is denying a refund except for unused taxes. After four days Orbitz has pledged to refund my fare minus any taxes that LAN refunds. Orbitz has also offered me a $100 travel voucher. That is a good start but not quite enough in my opinion to compensate for all the inconvenience.

I blame LAN for making the idiotic schedule change but fault Orbitz for not having their computers programmed to catch the error. I blame both for not being available at the critical time when, despite my outbound flight being error free, I was not allowed to board. Everyone lost. MY trip was ruined and three segments that day had an empty seat. It is also very unsettling that neither company was willing to put a person on this fiasco right away and see it through. I am on my own. Luckily I am fighting this from the comfort of my home and not from some airport hotel in a strange city. This situation could have been a lot worse is what I keep telling myself.

UPDATE DAY 5: I was just contacted by Orbitz. They were told by LAN that I could not board due to "visa issues" and they (Orbitz) have rescinded their offer for a full refund. They upped their voucher offer to $200 and said that LAN would be refunding $99.86 in taxes.

Ecuador does not require a pre issued visa for US citizens and my passport is up to date. Not sure why LAN would make that up but I am very disappointed in Orbitz for just accepting it. From the time this happened I have been treated like I had done something wrong and now it is implied that I am a liar.

1. Re: LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

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Removed on: 04 May 2012, 00:48
Seattle, Washington
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10,857 posts
94 reviews
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2. Re: LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

I am not sure why the airline cared if there was an empty seat, as they got your money anyway.

I don't understand the visa issue; as US citizen you are correct, you don't require a visa if you are a tourist, staying less than 90 days, and your passport is valid for at least 90 days after your departure from Ecuador.

I understand why your ticket was cancelled; you missed the first segment. If you have all this documentation, have you considered trying a charge back on your credit card?

San Diego, Ca
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6 posts
7 reviews
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3. Re: LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

The Trip Advisor staff removed my other post on this topic. I read the policy and assume it is due to my having my website listed. I wanted my e-mail address removed anyway so it that was good. Not sure what they mean by their reply where they say this post (the second one) has been removed at my request. I did not request it and it does not seem to have been removed.

Anyway, subsequent to my reposting Orbitz has contacted me again saying they would look into the LAN allegations that this was a visa problem. I have become more convinced that, no matter which search site you use, better to book direct with the airline rather than Orbitz. This investigation has gotten cumbersome with Orbitz and LAN scuffling while I am in the lurch. It would probably be better if I were dealing with LAN directly.

Any thoughts?

Reading
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286 posts
22 reviews
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4. Re: LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

It's good to see an issue like this outlined clearly and calmly rather than a rant with no paragraph breaks and I hope it augurs well for a resolution in your favour.

Italy
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39,484 posts
206 reviews
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5. Re: LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

I agree with you about booking directly. Orbitz, Expedia etc are all reputable companies but the problem starts when there is a problem like a schedule change or cancellation as you don't know who to talk to, anyway keep us posted regarding the outcome.

San Diego, Ca
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6 posts
7 reviews
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6. Re: LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

Earlier today I was contacted by phone by Orbitz. Yesterday I had filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau and Orbitz was contacted by them immediately. I am impressed with how easy it was to file online and how fast it worked. When Orbitz called me (the first time they actually contacted me other than by e-mail) they had seen the complaint and drafted a response. I will get a full ticket refund plus $250. At my request they will credit my card rather than give me that in a travel voucher with them. Not all I wanted but fighting for more will not be worth the headache. I am sick of this. They probably know that. Time to move forward and reschedule/re-book my trip.

Thank you all for the responses. Of course I will be back here with updates if none of this materializes.

Leeds, United...
Destination Expert
for Leeds, Bradford
Level Contributor
18,247 posts
279 reviews
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7. Re: LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

Sounds like you got a result. Just a shame it took a complaint to be filed with the BBB to get it done.

London, United...
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27,178 posts
28 reviews
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8. Re: LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

Nice to see a post that is clearly articulated, not full of emotion and actually the companies fault. Well done on the resolution.

Spain
Destination Expert
for Travel Gadgets and Gear, New Brunswick
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6,681 posts
270 reviews
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9. Re: LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

I agree with the others who have said that it is refreshing to have an issue such as this reported in a clear and logical way with an update to give the results of the complaint.

I generally book direct with airlines after once booking with expedia who failed to inform me of a flight time change which caused me to miss the plane. Air Berlin were excellent sending me (and DH) in a car to another airport to get the next flight - at no cost.

moosepond - sorry you had this experience. Happy travels.

Reading
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286 posts
22 reviews
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10. Re: LAN & Orbitz. Use Caution

I strongly suspect the OP's ability to express him/herself clearly may have some bearing on the problem being resolved.