Tag Archives: bad review

Orbitz / American Airlines / China Southern Are Screwing Me Over

20 Jun


I’m so furious with these three companies right now, they are completely changing the agreement we had and expecting me to pick up the tab for their mistakes.

I have spent more than 14 hours on the phone with Orbitz, along with repeated calls to American Airlines and China Southern and no one can fix their problem.

Let’s go back a month. I ordered a round trip ($2500+) flight from Asia to the States and back again. It’s not cheap–certainly not for me.  I agreed to leave on June 30 and make connecting flights throughout the trip. Amazing. Cool. Fine.

First of all, did you know it is all but impossible to work with Orbitz customer service? They will not do anything unless you are physically on the phone with them, and they only have a US number. Try getting ahold of them any other way, and I was simply told that I had to contact this US number and that they wouldn’t do anything unless I was on the line with them. They had problems with their systems repeatedly a month ago- call back. over and over. Several days. “Just call us back later” Ummmm This is an international call thank you very much. And on Skype which apparently enjoys freefalling from great heights and repeatedly. So instead of them going on ahead and fixing their issues and just confirming it all with me by email, I had to mess with the local poor internet to try to get through to them repeatedly. Whenever my call dropped or they hung up on me (which infuriates me on a whole different topic), I had to start ALL over with someone new. 

Anyway, a month ago, American Airlines up and changes my flight not once but twice. Including an asinine decision to leave me with a 1 hour layover in Denver for an international flight that goes against their own recommendations for early arrival. I had to call Orbitz repeatedly to actually get anyone who could help, only for them to finally (after hours of being on hold, please wait, thank you for waiting, I’m just trying someone else, on hold) tell me to call American Airlines myself. Finally get that stupid mess sorted out. 

Okay, I’m not amused, but I’ll deal 

Then several days ago, China Southern calls me. In Chinese. Wo Bu Ming Bai. Wo Shi Meiguoren. (I don’t understand, I’m American). Hang up. They try again in English. We’re so sorry, but the first flight on your trip has now been moved to the next day. So you’ll get to Hong Kong on the 1st even though you fly out of Hong Kong on the day before. We know this was a bad change, we’re so sorry. You are responsible for calling a whole different number to fix the problem.  

Wait. Why didn’t I hear about this from Orbitz? Or American Airlines? Check my email. Nope. Nada. Nothing. They two airlines left me to hear back from a Chinese airline that only by fluke did I answer their call. By the grace of God I answered the call (thinking it was a student) and found out about the change.

Call the China Southern Number. We’re sorry, you have to talk to American Airlines or Orbitz because they issue the ticket. 

Call American Airlines. We’re sorry, you have to talk to Orbitz because they locked the ticket, we can’t change it.

Call Orbitz (after repeated on holds, attempts to get ahold of them, attempts by them to figure out what the heck happened and their customer service generally not having a clue how to fix the mess), finally told oh so sorry, we have to call America Airlines. They call American Airlines. Sorry, American Airlines can’t do anything till they talk to China Southern. They Call China Southern who, incidentally, just closed. They only are open Monday – Friday during normal operating hours. Call back on Monday. 

I call back Monday. So sorry, American Airlines and China Southern only work on US times Monday-Friday so you’ll have to call back at 11pm your time.  What international company of this size does not have customer service around the clock. Seriously, this is antique business service here folks.

I call back tonight at 11pm.  Orbitz girl takes 20 minutes just figuring out what my problem is. Spends the next 2 HOURS trying to find someone, anyone at China Southern to talk to. Can’t get ahold of anyone. She calls American Airlines. They are so sorry, there are no more flights on that day to HOng Kong. You’ll have to fly out the day before. 

Cool, so you made the mistake, caused the problem, you’ll pay for the ridiculously expensive hotel in Hong Kong I now need right. Oh sorry, that’s not our problem. But you changed my flight? Yes. You failed to account for the lack of flights available for this trip? Yes. You changed our contractually agreed upon ticket in a way that costs me money and time? Yes. But you are not going to recuperate my losses from your changes and mistakes? No.

Well, no that doesn’t work. I reject your offer.Try again.

Well we can cancel your entire trip and refund it to you in several weeks. No. I reject this offer too.. I can’t afford to wait, I fly out in two weeks. Tickets are now much higher than before. So that doesn’t recuperate my losses. Try again.


Try again.


Try again.

Okay, let me give you to my supervisor. 


Hello, can you hear me?  Hello? Hello? Hang up.


Oh you did not just do that. You seriously did not just hand up on me at 2am in the morning after 4 hours on the phone dealing with your screw-up?  Why yes, you did!

So I call Orbitz back. Again. I’ve now been on hold for 30+ minutes waiting for a supervisor. 

If they don’t fix this, I will be soooo furious. I’m already never going to book with Orbitz again. And frankly, I don’t recommend that you all do either. It’s one think if you tons of time and live in the States to call and be on hold for more than 14 hours!

But personally, I think that sucks and is generally AWFUL business.  



Airline Reviews: United Airlines

26 Aug





United Airlines (United)–Domestic (1 flight) from DEN to IAD.  


Boeing 737

Pre-flight Interactions:

My university paid for and arranged the flight tickets, so I have no idea how that process went down.  We just got the e-ticket confirmation and got ready to go.  I will say that when I got to the airport, I had’t had time to check my baggage weight.  Since I was there all night, the attendants at the Check-In counter allowed me to weigh my bags on their scales while no one was in line.  They also looked up our flight information during off hours because we were concerned about when we had to check our luggage.

Baggage Allowance:

First/Business Class: 70lbs and 62 linear inches per bag

Economy: 50lbs and 62 linear inches per bag

You can find all the rules here, but generally you get a personal item (I always make it a backpack because it counts as a purse but is bigger), a carry-on, and 0-1 checked bags.  United pretty much screwed us on this one though.

There were three problems with how they handled everything. First of all, everyone was charged $100 per bag for all second bags.  However, their website states that the same flight should charge $25 for the first bag and $35 for the second.  It should only cost $100 for “oversized bags.”  We did not have oversized bags (remember, I weighed them on their scales).  This means they cheated each person out of $40.  NOT OKAY.

Second, The deal is usually that if you are flying internationally (and we were), all airlines  honor the baggage requirements/allowance of the airline with the longest flight (if tickets are all bought together–not separately).  For contracted airlines, this is often a rule. For unconnected airlines, it is typically a courtesy.  We were flying Air China, which allows 2 checked suitcases for our international flight. United refused to abide by the traditional courtesy even after we explained that we were all moving to China and needed the expected courtesy extended. They were very uncooperative.

Third, United attendants in Denver agreed that United would pay for our carry on suitcases clear through to our final destination. However, when we reached the transfer point in DC, they suddenly didn’t want to stand by that promise and we were looking at additional charges from Air China because United had backed out.  It was only after we spoke with Air China, that the Air China attendants called up a manager who worked it out and got the carry-ons checked clear through—another area where Air China pulled through when United failed.  Read on for the rest of that debacle.


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Airline Reviews: American Airlines

20 Feb





American Airlines (AA)–Domestic (1 flight).  


Boeing 737

Pre-flight Interactions:

This is where everything went VERY wrong on the part of American Airlines.  I ordered the tickets via CheapTickets.com, so the process was fairly simple.  They didn’t show up on the AA list before my flight though, so I had to have the email confirmation in hand.


I was coming in from Seoul, South Korea and originally planned a three hour changeover from Korean Air international to a domestic American Airlines flight at LAX.   When the Korean Air flight had to go north to avoid a pretty large storm, it changed my changeover window to 1.5 hours. 

Still, according to the airline website, you need to arrive about 1-1.5 hours ahead of time for a domestic flight anyway, so I wasn’t actually late at all.  Since AA had access to my itinerary and the flight records, they would have known that my planed would arrive in time.  Figuring everything was okay, I showed up at the check-in counter only to be told I’m not on the flight list.  You can imagine the trauma that brought forth–my bags were scheduled to be put on the plane, my family was waiting on the other end for me to arrive, and suddenly I’m not there.  

Immediately I start asking questions; I had the confirmation number, I had the itinerary, I was on top of things. So what the heck went wrong?  I was shuffled off to a customer service kiosk,fwhere I waited in line 10 minutes trying to explain to VERY RUDE employees that I was now in a hurry.  They told me to just “wait my turn young lady” (very condescending btw), and then informed me that I had been deleted from the system. It wasn’t an accident at all–AA deleted me on purpose. Unable to answer my questions or resolve the issue, they sent me across the building to another kiosk with less than 45 minutes remaining before my plane left. After another 10 minute wait, I’m told that since my flight was late, they  had removed me from the roster. LATE?!?!?!  Since when?!?!?  I had a whole hour (as recommended by their directions) before I was supposed to leave on the AA plane! The only reason I was late now is because someone took me off the roster!  I was FURIOUS with them; they had no right to give away my seat when I showed up on time according to their own guidelines.   Finally, they said they thought they might be able to slide me in last minute, but I’d have to run and I wouldn’t get the seat I’d chosen. I was left with 20 minutes to get through security and run to the gate.  No apologies were offered, no discount, nothing to make up for the stress.  I arrived as the last people got on. While I made it onto the flight, this is one of the worst examples of service I have seen with an airline.

Baggage Allowance:

First/Business Class customers get 3 free checked bags all the time, but it differs for economy depending on your destination. You can find all the rules here, but generally you get a personal item (I always make it a backpack because it counts as a purse but is bigger) and a carry-on.  If you want a checked bag, they cost around $30 each for the first 2. I prefer airlines with at least 1 free checked bag.


Yet again of the bad.  I arrived at the desk rushing up to ask if I had been added or not, and was yelled at because “you should have been here earlier, we’re boarding now, so you need to hurry up if you want to board”  (not the most polite response I’ve ever gotten).  Realizing that if I wasn’t on the flight, my bags might not be on the flight I attempted to ask about my luggage. Their response “Ma’am you need to get in line now.” Finally, I was obviously upset and a lovely cleaner woman stopped and asked if I was okay. After explaining my problem, she patted me on the shoulder and hurried off to stop the pilot walking by. She brought him over and he informed me that it should be okay (Thank you both if you read this; you saved me a great deal of grief).

In Flight:

I’ve yet to be impressed with AA flight attendants–their concept of customer service is one of the worst I’ve experienced. Food is horrid and there is little of it; drinks are hard to come by. There are few amenities, and the only entertainment was a tiny tv at the front that you couldn’t really see and the microphones were broken.  Trying to sleep didn’t work because the flight was cramped; and I ended up crushed in the middle when I wanted an aisle seat.  We still arrived late.

Only positive–for the first time since I’ve been flying with them, the AA plane had a fairly smooth ride.

Luggage Retrieval:  

My luggage wasn’t where I was told, and no one was available to tell us where to go.  I was happy though to find out it arrived on the plane.

Overall Conclusions

HORRIBLEThis airline was extremely and unnecessarily problematic due to bad business  practice on the part of American Airlines.  Given the significant issue over my retracted ticket, I would have expected at the least helpful kindness and patience from their staff. That was not forthcoming.   I was also expected some kind of apology or reparations for my aggravation, and they acted like I was the problem and that I should be grateful they were working with me to fix it.  

For Comparison’s sake, I once arrived at a Korean Air flight check-in fifteen minutes before boarding.  They rushed me through check-in, grabbed my bags, and hurried me through to my flight with 2 minutes to spare. Plus, they were exceedingly polite in the process.  AA FAILED. I will avoid them in the future.

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