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Surviving a Cancelled Flight 101: Keeping Your Sanity When Rebooking with Expedia

October 29, 2012 at 3:29 PM | by | ()

Now that Hurricane Sandy is upon the East Coast and canceling flights in droves, we're dedicating today to using all our travel know-how (and some on-the-fly advice, as half the Jaunted team is stuck at airports as well) to help you ride out the storm despite delayed travel. Stay tuned and stay safe!

Now, a first-person account from one of our writers who's stuck in the rebooking mess:

When I heard that United was offering free schedule changes for proactive travelers willing to postpone their flights a few days due to Hurricane Sandy, it was an absolute no-brainer. For one, I'm currently in sunny Santa Barbara where the weather has been beautiful, so if I'm stuck, so be it. Why the hell would I want to go east when the storm's a-coming? You know what I mean?

Perhaps more relevant to my decision was the fact that there would no doubt be cancellations all across the board Monday and Tuesday. My first piece of advice to people, especially those who aren't thrilled about airline travel to begin with, is to take initiative when it comes to your itinerary.

I didn't want to show up at the airport on Monday morning and be at the mercy of the airline as they made decisions in the heat of stressful moments. Whenever possible, it's nice to be able to tell them what you want, rather than sit back and accept what's convenient on their end. United said so long as my travel took place before November 4th, there would be no fees. I was able to pick the day that was best for me, not them, and I applaud them for giving me that luxury.

That all said, it wasn't an easy process: I was on hold with Expedia for 2 hours and 40 mins yesterday before getting my flight changed, which I can tell you honestly was a huge test of patience. Waiting it out certainly was not fun—I almost hung up a few times—but that would only delay the inevitable. Eventually, I'd have to call back. Tip two: Be patient, use speakerphone.

Now, having waited on hold for almost three hours, the last thing in the world you want is to get disconnected once you do reach an agent. The very first thing you must do is give your direct line to the agent before you even get started with anything else. I was glad I did; five minutes into the call Expedia's system had an "error" and we were disconnected. She called back to tell me this and continue the call. I can't imagine how hard the phone would have hit the wall if I realized I had to start all over.

Finally, keep things in perspective. I'm pretty sure that every airline and third-party booking agent was swamped, and to Expedia's credit they have always been prompt in the past when I've used them. You are not the only person in the world to go through it, you don't have "the worst luck ever," and these kinds of things don't "always happen to you." You might not like the change in plans, but things could be worse.

You know, like, being penned up in the path of a hurricane. Embrace the fact that the schedule change allows you to blow with the wind in a good way.

[Photo: Jaunted]

Archived Comments:

Moral of the Story?

Moral of the story is to never book anything with expedia. The moment you have a problem, no one can help you.

Re: Moral of the Story?

Ha, you nailed it. :) Always better to go through the airlines if you can in my opinion.