finance

Expedia honeymoon plans ruined in just 10 minutes


A 10-minute flight change is costing us our honeymoon! My now husband and I were supposed to get married last year, and in January 2020 booked a honeymoon in Santorini for September via Expedia. When Covid intervened, the hotel booking was deferred for a year and a credit note issued for the flights. We rebooked the flights with the voucher and were charged a £40 admin fee for the privilege.

Two months later, Expedia informed us that the airline, Lufthansa, had changed the flight time by 10 minutes. Its email said that we didn’t need to do anything if we accepted the change. Then, out of the blue, Lufthansa issued a partial refund. In July, two months before our honeymoon, we were told Lufthansa was claiming that we had cancelled the flight and that there would therefore be no further refund.

Expedia told us to sort it out with Lufthansa. Lufthansa said that Expedia had failed to confirm the 10-minute flight change as required, and so the booking had been cancelled. It claimed it had received no contact with Expedia and that only Expedia could reinstate our reservation. By now, Expedia was claiming it could no longer find our files and advised us to make a new reservation at our own cost. It has ignored subsequent emails and a formal letter of complaint. We’re now less than a fortnight away from our trip, and currently have no flights and no money.
ML, London

This is a depressingly familiar theme. Third-party booking platforms promise big savings, but the involvement of a middleman can leave customers in limbo. Airlines insist that the customer communicates through the booking agent, and the booking agent is, all too often, clueless or incommunicado. You had paid £515 for your flights and received £163 back in the unsolicited refund.

Lufthansa didn’t reply to a request for a comment. Expedia discovered that it could find your files after all when the media spotlight swung its way. It’s now agreed to repay you the outstanding £352 for the flights its own bungling cancelled. It has also offered to cover the price difference of new flights and the one checked-in bag each as a “goodwill gesture” if you rebook with Expedia. Too late. As time ticked on, you bought new flights direct through the airline. “We apologise that the customer has been waiting for a response. This falls short of our usual customer service and has been flagged,” it said.

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