Etihad and Orbitz Make Unwelcome Changes to Mistake-Fare Flights
Turns out that those magically cheap Etihad fares that we shared back in December may not be so magical, after all. I've been hearing from readers that although Etihad has agreed to honor these cheap mistake fares, the airline is now making changes to some their itineraries—and not for the better. In case this happens to you, I want to provide you with some tools to reach out for help.
The reader stories are coming fast and furious:
TPG reader Courtney was able to snag an Etihad flight LAX-EVN round-trip for $200 in May, but recently noticed that Orbitz has changed her entire outbound journey by two days. She'll now have a 50-hour (rather than three-hour) layover in JFK and a 27-hour (rather than two-hour) layover in AUH, and will arrive Monday rather than Saturday—and doesn't know where to turn.
Another TPG reader, Chase, says his trip dates were upended by Orbitz with zero notification, resulting in changes to his outgoing and incoming flight dates, the addition of two travel days, and a formerly non-stop leg from DFW now including a layover in ORD. The online travel agency said he would be allowed to rebook the original dates at no fee (though that one leg would still have the layover in ORD) and given time to make decisions after seeing if additions could be made to his non-refundable hotel reservation.
I was dismayed by yet another story from TPG reader Stuck in Texas, whose fast-approaching outgoing flight to AUH has been suddenly moved forward two days, while the return flight will now be a day earlier—resulting in the loss of confirmed seats, the need for a different hotel booking, and a request for two extra days of vacation time from work. These changes have come, once again, with no notice from Orbitz. The online travel agency has instructed Stuck to work directly with Etihad, while Etihad's customer service says they're locked out of the reservation because this is a promotional fare (which Stuck insists wasn't listed anywhere on the original reservation) and Orbitz is the one changing dates.
In case you've been affected by these last-minute changes from Etihad and Orbitz, reach out to these resources to seek help:
Twitter: @EtihadAirways -and- @Orbitz
Facebook: Etihad Airways -and- Orbitz
Customer service phone numbers
Etihad: (888) 838-4423
Orbitz: (888) 656-4546
As consumers, don't allow yourself to feel inconvenienced and pushed around without a fight—make sure that your stories are seen and heard!
If you booked Etihad sale-fare flights, has your itinerary been changed? If so, did you try to have it changed back—and did you receive a satisfactory result? Please share your experience in the the comments below.