Off Topic: Travel Horror Stories

We’ve all got ’em. What’s the worst you’ve ever dealt with? What tricks to you use to avoid them?

Of course, you get what you pay for, and I’m willing to accept that when I book the el cheapo flight through Jetstar, delays and such are just part of the game. Whenever there’s weather, I’m convinced there’s a limited amount of slots for planes to leave an airport, and Qantas is always given priority.

But my latest snafu made me pretty damn incensed.

I and a few indie devs are heading to Oman soon, to run the second iteration of a development workshop we ran back in July of last year. Flights were more expensive this time around, and I was trying to get the cheapest deal on Expedia.

Luckily, I didn’t book them all at once.

For a batch of three flights out of Sydney, Expedia reserved the money as soon as I made the booking — and then took the money out again, on behalf of the airline. I’m unsure if that’s standard practice, and the reserved fee usually gets released straight away, but in my case, it wasn’t released. The result was a massively overdrawn account for almost a week, during which I had to borrow money for basic things like food.

On the phone to the bank, they said call Expedia. On the phone to Expedia, they said call Expedia US. On the phone to Expedia US, they said call Etihad. And of course, Etihad said ring Expedia.

Eventually the problem resolved itself, with the money being released and me being able to eat again. No compensation was given. My understanding of Expedia is that they take your frequent flyer miles to give you a good deal, so I wasn’t expecting the “budget airline” treatment from them. Their unwillingness to solve the problem has put me off more than a little bit.

What’s the worst you’ve had, and what should your fellow Kotakuers avoid?

Image via Shutterstock

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