Updated: Nov 18
This story is a bit long, but I hope my story will help others make smarter flight choices and NOT book third-party for international flights. I do have a ton of ideas for finding cheap flights beyond Expedia that I highly recommend. I share all my favorite websites with subscribers.
So, if you’ve been following my Instagram, you know that back in 2017 I visited Istanbul and Greece. Part of this trip was planned, part of it was not. This was mostly because I booked my flight through an albeit wonderfully-priced, third-party company—Expedia. Here’s why I won’t do that again.
PS this post is about more than just Expedia. I generally don't recommend booking a flight through ANY third party. This just happened to be where I bought my ticket. There are a few exceptions to this - I've had a great experience with Hopper for example.
I was so looking forward to visiting Greece! I love Greek Mythology (I actually took a whole course on it in college, ’cause I am a nerd…), so when I saw a ticket to Greece for just $535, I knew I had to book it! It was August, and we booked the cheapest dates possible and were all confirmed for the coming April.
Well, a few months after buying my ticket, I get online and see that the flight prices have changed, and for just $135 dollars, I could extend my trip for two more days. So, I thought, why not? I just got a bonus and a few extra days—sounds awesome! I called Expedia to change my flight, and they said it was all changed. A confirmation email and everything was sent with the correct dates, times, and changes I requested. Then the trouble started…
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Just a day later, I get another email saying my itinerary had been canceled. I spent two hours on the phone with Expedia, and they claimed to have no way to know how it happened. They tried calling Turkish Airlines (who the flight is booked through) to no answer. They said someone would call me back in 24 to 48 hours with a resolution, and yet no one called me back.
I called again. Same thing. This went on for TWO MONTHS. TWO MONTHS! And there was no resolution. My flight was not rebooked until December—it was canceled back in September. We learned that the request had been made incorrectly and Turkish Airlines had canceled the flight because it was requested incorrectly by Expedia. So, that was just part one of the nightmares.
Meanwhile, nothing was wrong with my friend’s flight. She made changes and had no problems.
So, it was finally resolved, we planned our trip and so on and so on. Then I realize there was a change made to my flight request. The flight was actually changed to leave a day early, but not arrive in Greece until Sunday. I have a 24-hour layover in Istanbul. When my flight was changed, they only changed the first leg of my flight despite my request to have it all changed to Saturday.
When I looked online on Expedia, my flight had the right dates and flight numbers. Then I got on my email and it said something different. I call Expedia… they didn’t know how to fix it. SURPRISE! I spent more hours on the phone with them to no resolution.
You may be thinking, YAY! A destination added to your trip! Let me say: Yes, Istanbul is awesome. The beautiful mosques, markets, and exploring the different squares was awesome, however, I had planned for Greece! I had tours and experiences booked. And I had a friend, who doesn’t want to travel alone in a foreign country, worried about our safety and not interested in spending time alone. Not to mention the added cost of booking a hotel and adventures in Istanbul. So, while I would love to visit Istanbul, I’d rather it not be like this.
Then I reached out on social media. I tweeted at Expedia twice. I sent a Facebook message to them, and after countless messages back and forth, they eventually tell me I have to call.
My friend calls and spends 3 hours on the phone with them, too. I call over and over. Each time I called I got a new person and a new supervisor who does not know our situation. I would ask for a supervisor’s name, and they would refuse to give it to me. Seriously? No names were given to me, and they refused to direct my call to a supervisor’s phone. They spent 20 minutes looking over my file, then 20 more calling Turkish Airlines, and then 20 minutes telling me a supervisor will call me back in 24 to 48 hours.
Guess how many times I heard from a supervisor? NONE. And no email, except for an unrelated one about a flight on China Air. I have never booked a flight on China Air!!! It was so bizarre. I was literally reaching out daily and kept getting the same awful response. It was so frustrating to deal with different customer service people every time I called and to get no resolution. To me, if you make a mistake with a customer, you work to fix it. The whole thing was unacceptable.
So, finally, I called Turkish Airlines myself, even though I was told I’m not supposed to by Expedia. When I called, they told me to have Expedia call them, and they will resolve it. Turkish Airlines literally gave me their 1-800 number to relay to Expedia for them. They did not have a specific number with complicated extensions or a last name to verify—just their customer service number.
SO WHY COULDN’T EXPEDIA HAVE CALLED THE ENTIRE TIME? I then called Expedia, and after our typical 20 minutes of looking over my file, 20 minutes of calling a supervisor, etc., they asked for Turkish Airlines’ phone number (again, they didn’t have the airline’s number?).
Later, they tell me there is nothing to be done and Turkish Airlines said they can’t do anything. I demand to talk to Turkish Air on the phone, and guess what? At first, they told me, no, but I kept asking, and eventually, they let me on the phone with them. Turkish Air said I could file a complaint and talk to them about it at a later time. At least I got an answer from them, but still… maybe I should add Turkish Airlines to the title of this post?
At this point, I called my travel insurance company, who told me that I could use insurance to cover the cost of this flight. The problem was, I would not get my money back for at least 10 days and would have to buy a new ticket, which would be double the price of the one I had already purchased. That was not happening because that was too expensive!
I was tweeting and messaging on Facebook DAILY at this point to both Expedia and Turkish Airlines. I got the same message over and over: “We will get back to you.”
Well, two days before I left, I finally got this email from Turkish Air. I was stuck with the flight they issued me; I got no compensation and basically no apology for them messing up my flight.
There you go! Don’t book a flight through Expedia or Turkish Airlines unless you want the worst customer service ever. They made a huge mistake and refused to ever fix it. They got no more of my business. They essentially ended up being no help. This email still bothers me:
I am truly sad as I write this post because I really liked Expedia and Turkish Airlines actually had great service on the flight itself, but with this experience and losing time and money on a trip, I don’t want to risk it ever again.
Have a horrible flight story? Let me know about it below!