Sometimes User Experience Extends Past The Website

Edit: See this post. United’s going out of their way to help me out. Thank you.

I just recently booked a flight for a friend of mine on Expedia. Simple flight, Vancouver to San Francisco, but she’s Taiwanese, so I didn’t enter in her legal (Chinese) name, just her Canadianized name.

I tried to change the name a few days later, the change basically being adding an additional 8 characters. Big mistake. So now I’m going round and round with Expedia and United Airlines trying to get her name changed on the ticket so she doesn’t get hassled.

Further complicating it is that United Airlines is subcontracting one of the flights to Air Canada.

Of course, it’s not going to matter that there’s a documented case of a name correction on a blog. Other airlines charge a huge fee.

Note that there are no instructions on Expedia or United’s site that read “Ya know, you really should make sure that you enter in their name exactly as it is on the passport, because the airlines are going to screw you over in the name of 9/11 (security risks, yo).” Their response was “uh, didn’t you read the fine print?”

No one reads the fine print.

Thank you Expedia for trying to resolve this, but I’m getting frustrated with the “no, you have to call them” volleyball game the airlines and travel sites play.

One of the painful lessons about booking trips online is once you’ve booked it, you’ve pretty much spent that money because of some arcane language that reads no matter what, you can’t do a chargeback with your credit card and the airlines.

That one’s going to cost me $400 probably in the end. If I do have to spend that money, you can bet I’m not going to spend it with Expedia and United.

However, there’s a post over at Signal vs. Noise that has people talking about good service experiences. Great topic. I listed my Virgin America experience.