The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

© David Burton 2010

The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

                                                               The GOOD – Continental Airlines

      Returning from Israel on Continental Airlines (, my travel was scheduled to take me from Tel Aviv Israel to Newark, New Jersey where I would connect with a flight from Newark to Boston, Massachusetts. Unfortunately, a snow storm hit the med-Atlantic states on the day of my return and the flight from Newark to Boston was cancelled. Rather than staying overnight in Newark, I elected to rent a can and make the 5-hour drive that night. When I later contacted Continental Airlines to ascertain if I could receive a rebate for the unused Newark to Boston portion of my ticket, I was assured that I could and that a check for that leg of the flight would be mailed to me. I received the check within the time frame promised me, but was a bit surprised that the check only amounted to $24.

My e-mail to Continental Airlines:

      I was scheduled to fly from Newark to Boston on flight 8Y on Friday evening, 26 February. The flight was canceled and I had to drive from Newark to Boston. My ticket number is 00577159413353 and my refund request ID # is 12199358.
      I have received a refund of $24 from Continental.
      The lowest fare that I could find on the Continental web site for a Newark to Boston flight was $134 (1/2 of $268 R.T.) while Newark to Boston flights at other times ranged up to more than $400.
      Why did I receive only a $24 refund when the lowest fare is $134?

Continental’s Response to my E-mail:

      I regret you do not agree with the refund issued for the unused segment of your ticket . . . from Newark, NJ to Boston, MA originally scheduled for travel on February 26, 2010. Our records indicate our Customer Refund Services department has already reviewed your request to re-audit the refund and have found the calculations to be correct. Please be advised that your fare structure cannot be compared to a one-way or roundtrip from Newark to Boston as your scheduled travel was a roundtrip from Boston to Tel Aviv, IL connecting through Newark and the fare basis and fare rules were applied accordingly for your refund.
      I apologize for any negative impression this situation has created. As a customer service gesture, I would like to offer you a $150.00 electronic travel certificate which is good for Continental Airlines flights and valid one year from the date of issue.

      Based upon Continental’s quick and generous response, I will continue to fly with them and to recommend them to other fliers.

                                                                       The BAD - Travelocity

      In mid-2009, I used Travelocity ( to book a round trip flight from Boston to Tel Aviv, Israel via Newark, New Jersey on Continental Airlines. A friend who was making the same trip booked directly through Continental Airlines and was told that the Boston to Newark flight that I had booked through Travelocity would not arrive in Newark in time to allow 2 hrs for the check-in on the Newark to Tel Aviv leg and Continental suggested that she change to an earlier and less expensive flight out of Boston. My friend relayed the information to me and I changed my Boston to Newark flight to one the left Boston 2 hours earlier. The cost: $280 for the change as per Continental Airlines policy. The new Continental Boston to Newark flight was $20 less expensive than the originally scheduled Boston to Newark flight, but the Travelocity representative told me it would cost me $28 to receive the $20 voucher, which I obviously refused. The following is a synopsis of the ensuing e-mail correspondence between Travelocity and me.

My 1st E-mail to Travelocity after changing the flight arrangements via telephone:

      I first explained what had transpired as described above and then continued with:

      Why didn’t Travelocity advise me to take the earlier Boston/Newark flight as Continental did for my friend? Why should I have to pay a $280 penalty for poor service by Travelocity? Why should I have to pay $30 to receive a $20 voucher? Why should I continue to use Travelocity when I would make out better dealing directly with the airline?

Travelocity’s Response to my 1st E-mail:

      After reading your e-mail describing your disappointment in us, it's easy to understand why you would question our commitment to quality. It is clear we let you down in several ways and we sincerely apologize for the inconvenience . . .
      It is our policy to notify customers by e-mail or phone of any airline-driven schedule changes that may impact their itinerary. Since, we did not receive any notification from the airline with regards to the insufficient check-in time. Hence, we didn't notify you for the same issue.
      We apologize if these penalties were unexpected, however this information was provided at the time of booking. Please understand these penalties are charged by the airline and are necessary in order to provide the guaranteed low rates we offer. Hence, being a travel agency, Travelocity has to abide by the rules and regulations of the airline. You were informed about the $29.95 FedEx delivery fee for the voucher of $20.00 as we do not pay for the FedEx delivery charges.
      We appreciate your business and hope you will come back to Travelocity. To assist in your future travel plans, we are offering you a Future Trip Discount {of $50} off the purchase of a TotalTrip package or GoodBuy Hotel stay on Travelocity, within 1 year of date of issue . . .

My 2nd and 3rd E-mails to Travelocity:

      All my questions have not been answered. Namely,

1) Why should I continue to use Travelocity?
2) Why didn't Travelocity advise me to take the earlier Continental Boston/Newark flight as Continental did for my friend?
3) Why should I have to pay a $280 penalty for poor service by Travelocity
4) Why should I have to pay $28 to receive a $20 voucher?

      With reference to your recent e-mail, it is small comfort that I am receiving a Future Trip Discount off the purchase of a TotalTrip package or GoodBuy Hotel stay on Travelocity in the amount of $50 in compensation for having lost $280 because of Travelocity's failure to initially notify me of insufficient time between flights from Boston to Tel Aviv. However, I do thank you for the consideration.
      With regard to the $29.95 FedEx delivery fee for the voucher of $20.00, why couldn't Travelocity simply have mailed me the voucher via U.S. mail instead of by FedEx and avoided the $29.95 fee?

Travelocity’s Response to my 2nd and 3rd E-mails:

      Thank you for providing your feedback. We firstly seek a sincere apology for all the inconveniences caused to you due to the issue detailed by you. We understand your concerns regarding mailing your $20.00 voucher through US mail instead {of} by Fedex. In this regards, please be advised that it is practically not possible to send one mail through a separate mail services.

      My questions: Why is it impossible for Travelocity to send a voucher through a separate mail services. I do it every day. Since I paid with a credit card, why couldn’t Travelocity apply a credit to my credit card account? Does anyone at Travelocity really care about providing service to their customers? Is it possible to locate and correspond with anyone in authority at Travelocity? Telephone dealings are with people at a service that Travelocity uses in India. That person has no authority to do much except make travel changes and read from a script. Travelocity is supposed to provide a service to its customers. In my case they provided no service and cost me money. I would have been better served dealing directly with the airline as my friend was.

      Based upon my most recent experience with Travelocity, I will never use them again and I would recommend that other travels not use their so-called service.

                                                                       The UGLY – Proflowers

      I had previously used ProFlowers ( to send flowers to my wife on her birthday when I was out of town. The price was reasonable, the delivery was on-time and, according to my wife, the flower arrangement was very nice. I decided to use the services of ProFlowers again on the most recent Mother’s Day. They advertised several Mother’s Day specials and I selected a rather nice looking (according to their Internet advertisement) floral bouquet. The price was very reasonable, $29.95, and included a vase for the floral arrangement.

      This time, I was very unpleasantly surprised when the shipping charges amounted to $29.88, as much as the flowers themselves, and the floral arrangement was most definitely not as appealing as the arrangement shown in ProFlower’s Internet advertisement.

      Based on my most recent experience with ProFlowers, I consider them to be a rip-off and will certainly never do business with them again I would most certainly not recommend them to anyone.


  14 June 2010 {Article 82; Undecided_18}    
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