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It’s a mistake we’ve all made before: a typo. However, often innocuous (and sometimes hilarious), they are no laughing when it comes to air travel. Mo Shahin, of Burlington, Ontario, found this out the hard way when he left an ‘h’ out of his brother-in-law’s name, writing “Abdelgaffar” instead of “Abdelghaffar” when booking an Air Canada flight on Expedia.
Upon realization of the missing ‘h’, Shahin contacted Expedia immediately and was told by an agent that he would have to submit a formal name-correction request. “He said, ‘This is a minor mistake, it happens all the time,” Shahin said the Expedia agent told him, according to CBC. “‘There’s a procedure we have in place for that.'” Little did he know that this was just the beginning of a two-week back-and-forth saga between him, the airliner and the booking agency.
“Not getting enough sleep, worried about what I should be doing — it just has been putting a lot of pain on me and my family,” Shahin said to CBC. He had been using Expedia to buy plane tickets for five family members in Cairo and Houston to visit him in Ontario over the summer. Tickets were multi-city and included flights on Air Canada, Lufthansa and British Airways booked on Nov. 6.
A week after submitting the request, Shahin reached out to Expedia yet again. And this time, it was bad news. The name correction request had been rejected — his “best bet” now was to cancel the ticket he’d booked for his brother (which was non-refundable) rebook with the correct name. This would cost Shahin $1,560, minus a “partial tax refund” of a mere $50. “We apologize for the hassle, however, this is the best we are able to do,” Expedia told him in a Twitter message.
In the end, Shahin was able to fight this charge by persisting and contacting the media. Following CBC’s involvement, Expedia corrected and reissued the ticket to Shahin free of cost. While why Shahin’s original request was denied is still unclear, Expedia spokesperson Mary Zajac told apologized via email and said that the booking agency will “always advocate on behalf of our customers and do everything we can to help travelers find a resolution.”
Shahin, however, wonders what would’ve happened if he never got in contact with CBC. “I could have ended up paying for a new ticket for a minor, one-letter spelling mistake. It seems that something is not right here,” he said. To avoid making any costly mistakes when booking your travel, check out our list of top 10 trip ruining errors.
Featured image by Guillaume Payen/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images.
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