December 2013 Archives

Travelocity, Why Are You Terrible?

Quite often when I say I will never do business with a particular company ever again, it's because they have engaged in some socially egregious behaviour rather than directly affecting me personally.  This is not the case with Travelocity.  I hope I never have to deal with them again, because they are awful.  Calling them "incompetent" would be an insult to the incompetent.

My partner and I spent hours planning out and booking a fairly complicated itinerary for what is effectively a honeymoon in Asia for us.  It is a plan that involves stays in three cities, and transport using three different airlines.  We booked the majority of this via Travelocity's site.  It went reasonably well once we had figured out our flight choices (which we did using Google Flight Search, not Travelocity).

But he decided that he'd like to spend one more week with his family before coming home.  I had to return to work.  So he wanted to change his ticket home to leave one week into the future.  My ticket would be unchanged.

The way Travelocity handled this, you would think we were the first couple in the history of powered flight to ever attempt such a change.

First the outsourced Travelocity customer service rep changed MY ticket instead of his.  This happened even after my partner told him at least THREE times that my ticket was to be left alone, and only his should be changed.  Then the rep wanted another $40 fee to change it back, for his own mistake!  To their credit, this fee was waived.  But this behaviour demonstrates a fundamental lack of comprehension on the part of the outsourced service drones.

After fixing the booking and performing the requested change, we found that all of the legs of my flights were now no longer visible on  The total price was still correct, and the number of passengers was correct, but none of my details were present.

He called back.  This time you would think we were trying to explain to someone how to assemble a nuclear reactor over the phone.  The customer service rep assured us that all would be well, and we ended the call.  Of course, all was not well.  The rep didn't actually DO anything.  My flight legs were still not visible on the site, and the confirmation email we got also contained only his flights.

So I called back, and this time I was informed by the outsourced customer service drone that this is a natural consequence of "splitting" the ticket so that one could be changed and not the other.  Yes, because booking airfare and changing tickets is a completely new thing in 2013, referential integrity is completely lost if you change anything.  The rep assured me that I could still get to my itinerary by visiting each airline's website individually and using different reservation codes with each site.  She also promised to send me emails containing all the reservation details.

Of course, that makes using Travelocity sort of pointless, doesn't it?

About 4 hours later, the emails finally arrived, and I discovered that at the very bottom of the emails was a code that could be used to pull up all the flight legs.  This is denoted by the string "***".  Because when you see "***" you think "oh here is a single reservation code I could use on either airline's web site to see all the legs of my flight.  It's obvious, you see.

But of course, Travelocity's own web site, which I used to book these tickets, lacks this capability. Because, again, nobody has ever changed a ticket before, ever, so that's not really a feature anyone ever thought might be nice to have.

Travelocity, why are you terrible?  Are you trying to be terrible deliberately?
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