How We Got a Refund on a Non-Refundable Plane Ticket

Published by Jeremy. Last Updated on October 28, 2022.

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For the first route change of our year-and-a-half long trip, we were hit with a big one.

Just a few weeks before heading to Egypt a new batch of protests began. These protests were not like the previous ones, and I had a horrible feeling that our plans were about to change.

Within days of the protests that began in July 2013, the US government released warnings to avoid travel to Egypt as well as a “global warning” that was mainly focused on travel to the Middle East.

After discussing it with a friend who was coming to visit us in Egypt, we decided to change our plans.

We had one problem: Angie and I had already booked $857 worth of non-refundable plane ticket from Expedia for an itinerary of Istanbul to Cairo (Egypt Air),  Cairo to Istanbul (Egypt Air), and Istanbul to Bucharest (Tarom).

Not resigning ourselves to lose that money, our quest to cancel our Expedia itinerary and get a refund began.

If you find yourself in a similar scenario, you may need to try one of the following methods to get a refund for your non-refundable plane ticket.

Typical Procedures for an Expedia Cancellation

How to cancel flight on Expedia

In the event of travel advisories that may change your plans, the first call you should make is to your airline's (or travel agent's) customer service line.  In these instances the airline can be incredibly helpful and change your ticket for you on the spot.

For our friend who booked her ticket with the airline directly, one call to the airline not only got her a changed ticket to Istanbul instead of Cairo, but also about $350 in future flight vouchers due to changing to a cheaper ticket.

The best part? She didn't have to pay the $150-$250 change ticket fee all because she asked for it.

This surprised us as we figured that this fee would be non-negotiable in any situation, but somehow the airline became a bit more flexible due to the travel warning that just popped up 24 hours before she contacted them.

Overall, this is one of the most painless calls you could ever have when changing a non-refundable ticket. Since we booked through the 3rd party booking site for Expedia airfare, we were not so lucky.

First, Call Expedia About the Non-Refundable Ticket

Expedia Booking

On my first call about the Expedia cancellation policy, I wasn't expecting much. They, like most 3rd party companies, are notorious for playing the finger pointing game whenever they are able to blame another company for the issue at hand.

Naturally, it was exactly what we got.

What I found out on the first call was that since we booked with two airlines on our itinerary, Egypt Air and Tarom, Expedia is “forced” to follow the most restrictive policy in all cases. In our booking that was from the budget carrier Tarom, which does not allow cancellations (even though Egypt Air did allow refundable airline tickets).

I asked if I could just cancel the Egypt portion of the flight while keeping the Tarom segment, but was met with the same response. This isn't surprising, but worth trying to see if that kind of workaround exists for such a silly rule.

Considering I was likely speaking to a worker in a call center, I asked for a manager. I was on hold for a very long time and the “manager” came on and repeated, word for word, what the first person told me without even breaking from the script once.

Their only advice was for me to call the airline who held my reservation, Egypt Air, and see if they could help at all.

Keep this detail in mind, I had to call Egypt Air, because it is going to be important later on.

Call the Airline Directly

Call Center

Taking Expedia's advice, I called Egypt Air at their office in the US. They were not helpful.

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The second the Egypt Air rep saw we booked through Expedia they told me I had to call them and that was the end of the call. Much like Expedia likes to finger point when they can, anytime an airline sees a third party service they will immediately point the finger back, creating a never ending loop of unhelpful service despite the policy for refundable flights on that service.

At this time we were incredibly angry, but wanted to try one more idea that Angie came up with. Can we just “change” our ticket and get a refund on the price reduction?

Perhaps the word “cancel” was causing all the issues and we could pay the listed change fee that Tarom offers to only take flight from Istanbul to Bucharest (which at this point was still a possibility for our itinerary).

We'd only get around $500 back with this idea, but it is better than nothing.

This was no different than asking to cancel the Egypt segment like we tried before, but perhaps the change of wording may get the reps on board with us as it violated no company policies as far as we could tell.

Second Call to Cancel an Expedia Flight

The problem with changing your ticket with Expedia is that their call center employees are, for lack of a better phrase, worthless.

It took many tries with our particular contact to get our ticket “changed” to the right itinerary. At one point we were going from Egypt to Romania, then round trip to Romania from Istanbul, and so on. We must have tried explaining it about 20 different ways before she got it right- a one-way ticket from Istanbul to Romania.

Then she dropped the bombshell on us:

We could pay a change fee to alter our route, but the remaining balance would be lost.

Wait, what?

Didn't we just spend 30 minutes on the phone with the rep explaining why we wanted to change our Expedia tickets and how we were wanting to get some of our money back?  (We were being 100% upfront and honest as to why we wanted to change our ticket to receive money back, mind you).

This would have saved a bit of time for all involved if we knew it in advance. Although with how horribly unhelpful this employee was, I was more than happy save another customer the trouble of having to deal with her for a few minutes.

Apparently because you're on a non-refundable ticket that means no refund on even the difference in changing your flight to a cheaper ticket with the same carrier.

I get the no refunds rule if you need to cancel your ticket, but no adjustments on changing the itinerary while keeping the same carrier? No credit? Nothing?

That is pushing it, and charging the change fee on top of it is a complete insult.

It is policies like that which make me question whether airlines would like me to give them my money again in the future.  As far as I can see, it looks like they want me to take my business elsewhere.

Sadly, even here, it was still probably Expedia's issue above all others.

Called Insurance About How to Get a Refund on Plane Tickets

Check your travel insurance

At this point we declined changing our ticket and instead called our travel insurance company, World Nomads, to see at what point we could claim “trip interruption” and get our money back. People killing each other in Egypt and a global travel alert should be enough to make a claim, right?

Surprisingly, we got declined even at this attempt.

Apparently our premium insurance only lets us claim trip interruption if an event has been deemed a “terrorist action,” something the US is very hesitant to do in these kinds of scenarios.

One can only wonder how much more it would have cost the insurance company if we went and got injured in the later protests that resulted in over 900 people being killed, but I digress.

It is ironic to us because our only options at that point were to eat the $857 in plane tickets (for two), go to Egypt and deal with it, or commit to travel dates way into the future to use the $857 on a future flight we hadn't planned on just to allocate the money on something (minus a change fee).

At this point I was angry, and I took to social media to vent.

Note: Read your insurance policy fine print to see if any trip interruption or cancellation coverage exists for such a scenario. When in doubt, call. The worst they can do is say no, but you may get lucky for an alternative Expedia refund.

Social Media Shaming the Expedia Cancellation Policy

Our Actual Tweets About the Expedia Flight Cancellation Policy

As we mentioned above with our friend's ticket, airlines are typically pretty flexible with their non-refundable option if a major crisis is unfolding and you still want to fly with them. Worst case, you may get a credit for a future flight, which we would have happily accepted even if that meant having to fly through Cairo to explicitly use Egypt Air.

So I took to social media to rant about this issue to our followers (particularly on Twitter, which we now no longer use). I wasn't expecting anything to come from it, this should be stressed, but I just wanted to let off a little bit of steam to a community who would understand while blasting an Expedia contact for a bit.

Not only did we get a lot of amazing replies (thanks everyone!), we were messaged by Expedia within 5 minutes.

5 minutes and a very nice and knowledgeable person offered to look into it for us. 

After several rounds of private messages, over a period of about 48 hours, our social media contact informed us we were getting a complete refund on our ticket. Five days later and the $857 was put back on our credit card without issue.

Really? That is all it takes? A rant on social media to a large group of followers?

To even get Expedia to call Egypt Air for a five minute conversation, something they told me I had to do myself in the first phone call (remember I said this would be important), I had to go through three separate workers at a call center and ultimately publish a rant on the internet for everyone to see.

It is sad because the person on their social media account was amazing, and offered the kind of service I would expect to get at a call center but didn't.

I can't emphasize this one enough for all the negativity I'm throwing around in this post- the social media person was exceptional. Unfortunately, they are the only exception within Expedia that I was able to deal with.

Tips for Getting an Non-Refundable Airline Ticket Refund


From our experience above, we've come up with a few tips on how to get a refund on a non-refundable ticket in the event of a travel warning from your home country (especially for how to cancel a reservation on Expedia).

These points are especially valid for those who made a booking on a 3rd party site like we did on Expedia.

  1. Call the company who holds the booking and discuss the options.  An airline is going to be far more reasonable than a 3rd party site in these matters, but they will likely not talk to you if you are booked via someone else.
  2. Force the 3rd party company to call the airline on your behalf.  These companies only follow the words that are on their computer screen and can make no special exceptions when airlines can do it at the click of a button.  Although, if the person is in a call center and does not sound like they are qualified (or smart enough) to make that call, maybe it is best to find someone else who is.  Go for the social media channel if you can.
  3. Do not book multiple segments on the same itinerary to save a few dollars. This is how we got into our mess in the first place. Because we booked our Tarom flight and Egypt Air flights on the same route we were locked into stupid restrictions by Expedia's computer system. If we had booked the two Expedia flight tickets separately based on airline (about $30 more expensive) we could have canceled the Egypt Air segment without issue. Honestly, I still don't understand how this one even makes sense.
  1. Be flexible when discussing options on the phone.  You may not be able to get a cash refund, but an airline may be able to change your ticket without a change fee or give a credit to your account for a future flight. Like with most things, you may have to ask for this to make it become available like our friend did when getting the change fee waived.
  2. Call Your Insurance Company. It is unlikely your insurance will refund your ticket until something becomes a “major” incident.  But it always worth looking into the details to see what is needed for that to happen. If a situation is bad enough and you can make a claim, it may speed up the process.  (Although, if the situation is bad enough that you should make a claim, the airline better be helpful by then, too).  This should always be the absolute last resort after the remaining options have been exhausted as some insurance plans only allow one claim per type on a trip.
  3. If all else fails, rant on social media until someone is helpful. Apparently public shaming works. I have no reservations about admitting that this is exactly what we did, but I was not doing it with this expressed purpose and expecting it to actually work.
  4. Finally, if you haven't booked your ticket yet but think you may be going somewhere that could have a travel warning pop up in the future, do not book with a 3rd party site. Save yourself the headache and book with the carrier directly or via aggregate sites like Kayak or Airfarewatchdog where you can still book directly at the end of your search. A few extra dollars is not worth all the time it'll take for you later on if something were to happen.
  5. In fact, just start doing #7 with all your plane flights from now on.

Be smart and always book with the company you're traveling with directly any chance you can get. Then if the worst case pops up, you'll receive at least some bit of service when trying to make the change to your non-refundable ticket without all the shameful finger pointing that goes on.

In the end, a little service is all you can ask for, and we can say from our experience that Expedia only provided that on social media.

What Did We Do Instead of Egypt?

Rila Monastery

Well, as our plans were to fly from Turkey to Egypt, and then from Egypt to Romania to begin exploring Eastern Europe, we split the difference and decided to travel to Bulgaria!

During that trip, we explored Plovdiv, the Rila Mountains, and Sofia, and really had a wonderful time. Definitely a great alternative to a negative situation we otherwise had to deal with!

A Final Note

When in Doubt, Go For Refundable Plane Tickets

Since publishing this article we've received hundreds of messages, tweets, DMs, and emails from others looking for assistance in getting flights canceled with refunds.

While we are completely horrified that this kind of poor customer service has happened to so many people, at this time we are unable to provide assistance in reaching out to Expedia or other 3rd parties on our social accounts on your behalf. Due to the variety of the issues and the fact that we have not experienced them first hand we would be in an awkward position in order to comment on any individual case.

We hope that the advice included in the article helps, and really do wish you the best of luck in getting any issues resolved as soon as possible. Good luck!

Looking for a new flight? We almost exclusively use Kayak to source flight deals, and always, always book directly with the airline whenever possible.

About Jeremy

Jeremy from Living the Dream

About the Author: Jeremy is a full-time travel writer based in Pittsburgh and primary author of this site. He has been to 70+ countries on five continents and seeks out new food, adventure activities, and off-the-beaten-path experiences wherever he travels.

50 thoughts on “How We Got a Refund on a Non-Refundable Plane Ticket”

  1. I work for a[nother] huge Online Travel Agency, and honestly, see both sides here.

    Websites like Expedia service as a marketplace for e-commerce – providing airlines and hotels. The policies they show are the policies of those third parties who run the airlines, hotels, restaurants, you name it.

    Nonrefundable policies are popular for a few reasons; the inflexibility to the guest means the rates tend to be a little cheaper than refundable rates. for the vendor (airline, hotelier, etc), this is guaranteed business – something that becomes important when seasonality can play a factor in the success of their business.

    For sure they could always be more clear for the user. They tend to *not* be because it scares users away. When they are super clear, users tend to still want the flexibility, despite having known the terms and conditions. That being said, you cannot control calamity, like, political unrest. But even if something wasn’t up in Egypt, having the freedom and flexibility to change stuff is always the most empowering for you, as a user.

    Social media shaming is extremely effective and a fast solution, but is it the best? whats the long-impact on people’s perception of you as a consumer, and alternatively, the service provider? I’m glad to hear someone helped you out, but how could you not ‘[expect] anything to come from it’ with 10,000 followers? Dude, of course.

    I realize that part of this reply is trolling in and of itself, and I’m sorry about that. It’s the nature of the internets! I’m happy to have found this thread though. I’m doing research on how to make these kinds of policies more clear – so everyone (users and vendors) wins.

  2. Booked a package through Expedia hotel and flights to an aqua park hotel only to find out after they charged my card that the aqua park is closed until next year! No where on their website did it say this! I have been miss sold this holiday!! They are also still selling holidays online to this place advertising the aqua Park! Trying to get a refund such a painfull process told I would be refunded in full only to be refunded 37.00!! Multiple calls, no one knows what’s going on absolute shameful still no full refund I am going to call them every day until I get my refund !!

  3. Hi

    I’ve just read the article about people not being refunded and the problems in getting a refund, if at all. I made an absolute howler. I was booking a flight to Melbourne Australia and accidentally booked to Melbourne USA!! Boy did I feel like a real wally. Simple mistake if your not concentrating, I wasn’t. Next day realised and contacted Expedia. They were useless. Call centre with scripted conversations as mentioned above. I am now out of pocket to the tune of 857 quid. They said at first it will cost about 100 pounds to rectify and then came back with a figure of 1257 quid, all in all over 2000 grand. I was heart broken as I was going for my nephews wedding at Christmas. How am suppose to tell him what I have done and not think what a idiot I feel. Tried ringing the airline Air France Delta, no joy mentioned there non refund policy and that was that, then told me they could do nothing so referred me back to Expedia. it’s all pass the buck. Does anyone know anything that could get some money back ? How much airport tax would I get back ? Thanks in advance.

  4. Hello there, i am unfortunately in the same boat as many others on this blog. I booked tickets through expedia and whilst I am still able to travel therefore retaining the booking worth more than £2,293, my friend whom I was going to travel with can now not fly and so I am at risk of losing £620 worth of flights.

    I called Expedia a number of times as well as Virgin Atlantic. I explained that I was prepared to look at options of cancel and refund, changing the name on the ticket or changing the flights. Expedia would not budge at all saying none of those options were possible. Virgin Atlantic said that the options were possible had I booked directly through themselves but in this case as they had been booked through Expedia they were not able to help me.

    Expedia spent time trying to convince me that it was a Virgin Atlantic policy that prevented them from helping me and Virgin Atlantic simply said that if I had booked directly with them then it was possible and if not then not possible. Virgin Atlantic also explained that the vast majority of tickets issued are non refundable which means many people would face this predicament and therefore potentially additional revenues were made from absolutely stupid policies. They can now very easily resell (or sell more than whats available) seats on a plane and know that they will not have to refund.

    All of this despite the fact that there are still 8 weeks before I am due to fly and so plenty of time to resell my friends seat on the plane.

    These policies and revenue increasing tactics are despicable.

    I will never use expedia again.

  5. Hi,

    I got same problem with omegaflightstore, i booked flights to visit my family back home in Pakistan using Turkish Airways, now what ever is happening in Turkey I don’t want to take that route. I rang omegaflightstore and they said they cant refund any money. They can only change my flight days and it will cost me another £80 on the top of £745.00. Please can someone help me in refunding my money, they also said they will be able to refund taxes and I will lose £500 apporx on my tickets. please please can someone help me here for a refund

  6. We tried booking through expedia.. but the booking didn’t go through but we find our credit cards been charged. There is no response from Expedia ..

    • I would recommend contacting your credit card company to issue a charge-back. It may be a ghost authorization that was a hold until the transaction went through, and may disappear within a few days. If it has posted in full your best bet is to go to the credit card company itself then.

  7. Having trouble with Expedia too… of a different kind but just about as ridiculous.

    We bought tickets that in their website appear as ALL-INCLUSIVE, with everything included detailed, you select them, but when you get to your actual booking a small line appears as breakfast included and nothing else.

    Calling them so that they recognise at least that they are cheating their customers, but they insist that they are not cheating, that at the end of the process it is indicated in small letters.


    Any suggestions would be welcome.


  8. Oh my god. I cannot tell you the frustration and anger I had dealing with FlightHub. Never again will I put myself through the misery of having to deal with call centre agents that have no understanding of your situation. Please don’t worry about saving the few extra dollars and book direct. Long story short I was planned to fly to Fort Mcmurray Alberta where a few days ago a massive wildfire broke out, state of emergency, whole town of 80,000 people evacuated. I called FlightHub as I was due to fly here in two weeks. They wouldn’t do anything they said that my air canada flight home from Fort Mcmurray could be rerouted which makes no sense as I cannot fly to this city to begin with. This was a vacation I had planned before anyone had any idea that this natural disaster was happening. I tried to use the money I had paid to get family home from the place I was suppose to be visiting them at. They still wouldn’t help me. I’m out $1200 on top of paying $800 yesterday to get all new tickets to get them home. Right now my husband is out of work due to these wildfires that are still tearing apart this town. So paying this back is going to be difficult if I cannot get a refund. I still don’t know what I’m going to do 🙁

    • There is usually an option to purchase trip cancellation insurance…not sure everyone knows this. Of course it is an extra cost, but compared to losing the entire fare, I believe this is an option well worth considering.

      • I found this wording in the Expedia trip cancellation policy offered through Allianz. This is listed as one of the valid cancellation reasons.

        “A travel advisory issued after your trip has been booked with respect to travel to your destination country during all or part of your trip”.

      • I’ve had to cancel a flight booked through Expedia due to a new, serious illness with an indefinite ability to travel. I purchased cancellation insurance however that is only useful if I lose money. I have a “credit” with the airlines so technically I haven’t lost any money! Yet. I’ve spent hours on the phone with Expedia and the airlines to fight the situation. It still hasn’t been resolved despite proof of documentation.

        Going on social media would be a good idea.

  9. I just had to cancel my flights due to a death in the family. But since the death was not the passenger I was traveling with or one of my immediate family members, it instantly was not considered. Why is it that? Someone still passed away, and unfortunately is why the travel plans were no longer able to work out for me. I was given credit for my flights but I was told that they’re now worth $200 less than what I paid (change fee) and that I have to travel with the exact same airlines within a year in order to use this credit. The Expedia representative that I spoke to was rude and just repeated policy to me continuously regardless of the questions I had for him. These people aren’t willing to budge at all, no matter your story, if it isn’t the same as what policy states.

    • Can anyone explain this one? I booked two flights on Turkish Airlines. The first one is London to Istanbul. I booked that through Orbitz. The second one is Istanbul to Tel Aviv. I booked that one through Travelocity. And the fare on the second trip is double the price of that of the first. Now please bear in mind these tickets were all bought as non-refundable and non-cancelable.
      Because of the travel advisories against travel to Turkey, I called Travelocity and asked if I could cancel those nonrefundable tickets and get a refund. Travelocity put me on hold for three minutes, came back and told me I would be issued a full refund from Turkish Airlines. The refund arrived three days later. Then I called Orbitz and explained the same thing. They said they tried calling Turkish Airlines and Turkish would not give us a refund. So we are at a complete loss as to why Travelocity could get us a refund but not Orbitz? Does anyone have any ideas?

      • Hi Mark – did you ever find more info on this? I booked a flight through Club America Travel from NYC to Istanbul that I’m considering cancelling. Would appreciate any feedback. Thanks!

  10. My gosh why is Expedia being so hard to do business with???
    I’ve booked many times with Expedia mostly for hotels. This time, I had a flight credit due to cancellation from last year. I cancelled it and I made sure that Expedia was going to give me the credit minus the fee that JetBlue charges.

    Now Expedia is giving me excuses and run arounds. The guy who answered the phone repeats same crap and I told him not to. He put me on hold forever more than 30 min. I hung up. He called me and asked me to on hold again. I hung up again. It repeated 3 times and everything his excuse was that he needed his supervisor’s help. $600 down the drain…

    No more Expedia… except hotel reservation with cancel free options until the day before I arrive… Even that, I’m thinking just booking with hotels directly from now on.

    I’m amazed that other customers are having same problem so it’s clear that Expedia is doing this on purpose to keep the credit for themselves. A well known public company on a stock market doing screwy things to gouge more from their long time customers… This sucks. Expedia SUCKS.

  11. Going through this exact process right now. Expedia double charged my credit card for $2300 two months ago. They accepted they owed me 2300 back for the double charce a month ago, but after three hour long phone calls and three promises that I would have the money within 2 weeks, still no money. After they accepted they owed me and gave me a ‘refund number’ (which appears meaningless) they still need to re-check and re-verify everything detail each time. I can never talk directly to the person who processes the refund. The call centre operator even admitted that he didn’t know the phone number of the department that did refunds and that he was only able to email them. So internally Expedia are structured on purpose to make getting a refund hard. They do not equip the call centre operators with any more tools than basically taking a message in accordance with the script. Having done that they then routinely break their promises to you. I will never use Expedia again and just pay the small amount extra to book direct with the airline

    • I highly recommend you call your credit card company and request a charge back on one of the charges. They should make it go much faster than Expedia will.

      • Bro…I am in the same boat right now !! I booked a family trip for my family of 5 at an agreed upon price for bundle hotel +Flight. The agent started to book everything, my wife and I got in our room with flgihts…done….then she said OH, I can’t do the all 3 kids in the same itinerary cause of my system but “not to worry” I will book 2 in the room with a flight, then your remaining child a FLIGHT ONLY. All you have to do is add him to the hotel room at check in an pay the balance of the agree upon price for the family of 5 (was quoted 5200 for all, paid 4600, thinking all I had to do is pay 600 to the hotel when I go there)…..guess what…the hotel won’t do it….said I have to pay for another room….meaning like 2000 more !!!! Expedia is not taking responsibility for it…I’ve been bounced around to different “supervisors” sent to “corporate” given case #’s…they told me they will pull the call and investigate….got another case #……but they never say flat out, if our agent made the mistake , we will refund you. I despise this company. You talk to someone from “corporate” they won’t even give you a return contact #, the next time you call, you have to start over again as if it’s the first time your bringing up the issue (they caused). DON”T EVER USE THEM !!
        Someone, please tell me how to start a Twitter account….I got lots of typing to do !!!

  12. I booked a flight through Expedia and had to cancel. They gave a credit voucher to me but I wasn’t able to use it within the year. I called to see if I could extend it for another month to use it on my trip but they said no. Lost $523.20. Never using Expedia again.

  13. Going through the same run around. I have been promised twice that my info would be turned over to a supervisor and I would be receiving a phone call and an email within 48 hours. They never called. I have talked to AA and British Airways -both telling me that they can’t do anything. Everyone pointing their finger at the other one. Then Expedia uses the excuse that they must call the airlines to find out their policy. LAME because they know their policy. Just an excuse to end the conversation. I am exasperated and out 2300 but I am not giving up.

    • I am having the same problem with Expedia they say the airline has cancelled my return flight and will not help said I to call the airline,I have called the airline and they tell me I have to call Expedia, Expedia tells me I have to buy a new ticket and they will not pay for it, I have been on the phone for 16 Hours, What can I do?????

      • Expedia cancelled return tickets, I have bought for more than 1000 dollars, and they don´t communicate about refund, what can I do, If I don´t have 10 000 followers? 🙁

  14. I am having a similar issue right now myself! My boyfriend and I have two separate itineraries, his being roundtrip Toronto- Tel Aviv, mine being Toronto -Tel Aviv – Vienna. We bought Expedia’s “cancellation insurance” with Global Allianz which was a complete waste of $90. With the stabbings occurring in several cities across Israel, we decided against going on our trip (though I would still purchase a Vienna roundtrip, and we would purchase an all-inclusive south trip together), but the insurance company is not taking that claim as a serious one (as well as they take 4-6 weeks to process that claim and send a certified check). So here’s a rundown of our situation: We have two tickets for $1000 and $1300 respectively, that we wish to get a full refund for = $2300. I then want to buy the Vienna round trip, $1000, and we want to buy a two-person vacation for $2700. So we actually want to spend $1300 MORE than we initially spent, and they are insisting we should lose $300 per ticket.
    I’m honestly sooooo frustrated and fed up with this company, unfortunately my following on twitter (@lifestylebistro) is too tiny for them to pay attention to my complaints.

  15. The real solution here is “Have 10,000 twitter followers, and use that to get your ticket changed.”

    I absolutely hate the way airlines abuse customers, but the large following of people, some of whom could have a real impact on Expedia’s business, was probably what really got the refund.

  16. My daughter booked a flight to Italy on Turkish Airlines through Expedia. When I expressed concern for her safety (as she has 2 layovers in Istanbul) due to travel advisories and warnings she tried to get a refund. Expedia wouldn’t refund the cost of the tickets ($675.00) only the tax in the amount of $116.00 which they said would take 8-10 weeks. She booked a direct flight on another airline which I agreed to cover because her safety is more important to me than the money. I took your advise and posted on the Consumer Affair website. Expedia should be ashamed of their business practices.

    • How do I get on twitter !!!! Expedia is ruining my quality of life this week. They completely made the booking error for my family’s vacation, and will not fix it or give me my money back. NEVER USE THEM!!!

  17. I’ll try to make this short…but it’s not a short story. Mid-July, My wife and I traveled from TN to AZ for last chance cancer treatment for my wife. She was to be there for 4 weeks. Due to me having to return to work after the first week, I purchased airline tickets for my sister (traveling from TN on Southwest) so she could assist my wife the 2nd week, followed by my wife’s best friend (traveling from Canada on Air Canada booked through Expedia…WITH CANCELLATION INSURANCE) for the 3rd week, and I would go back out the last week to travel back home with her. Unfortunately, my wife’s condition deteriorated quickly during our first week In AZ and passed away while I was still with her. I cancelled all the SWA tickets (still awaiting their response) and had my wife’s best friend cancel her ticket with Air Canada since her name was on the ticket. I contacted Aon Affinity, the company that handles the flight insurance for Expedia, expecting a full refund. I sent them a copy of my wife’s death certificate per their request. They denied my request, stating that their “plan” only covers “immediate family members”. I purchased the ticket for my wife’s friend, along with the insurance, but I can’t get a refund due to my name not being on the ticket. Unbelievable.

    I’m not done with Expedia yet…for for future travel, yes, but not on this issue.

    It’s nice to know someone was able to locate the one person at Expedia that has a smidgen of character.

    Steve in TN

  18. Do you have contact information for the individual who was finally able to help you? We recently booked a trip to Rome, which was cancelled due to weather and the airline was unable to confirm that we would be able to make a connection to arrive in Rome before our tours were to commence. Air Canada agreed to a full refund of our flights but our tours and hotel were non refundable. We were told we would need to wait 8 weeks to see the flight refund and Expedia was “working on talking to the hotel to obtain a cancellation”. We also contacted Expedia’s insurance company and have our hotel and tours refunded. That still is an ongoing battle, with no results so far. I’m sitting on hold with Expedia after 2 hours and talking to 3 different people — this in addition to the 3 separate conversations I’ve had with them in the 8 weeks since we cancelled our trip. I am LOSING my mind! No refunds to date and the latest is that we need to “keep waiting with no given timeline and the Expedia ticket reps will be working on our case”. Thus far we are out over $3,000.00. HELP!!!!!

  19. I am facing the same problem with Sasti flight, a third party company in Hounslow, I booked my ticket with them to South Africa and I had a problem on my Visa. I informed them of this and asked for a change of date from Wednseday 19 August to Friday. Here are the charges I am facing, £100-booking change fee, £150- no show fee and £250- fare difference fee, £500 altogether, I am numb.

  20. I booked tickets for my daughter to fly to Argentina with Esperanza travel, unfortunately, my name was put on the tickets, neither American Airlines nor TAM Air will change the name on the ticket. I have paid £980 and as the tickets are non refundable I have effectively lost my money. Any advice?

    • Perhaps try a charge back on your credit card to cancel the flight and receive a refund? You’d have to rebook a ticket, but may be a good option.

  21. I came here thinking I will find a universal solution. You are lucky to have a social following large enough that can entice a company as big as expedia to change their mind. Right now I am on hold with them to get tickets cancelled due to an unforeseen circumstance and I will most likely lose my money. As if they will suffer a hardship if they refund me my ticket. The only one suffering a hardship here is me.

    • I am sorry to hear about the troubles. After publishing this one I realize that there are far too many people out there in similar situations than I had originally anticipated. I wish there was a universal solution, but there really isn’t.

  22. Expedia booked 2 tickets for me on American, then told me they were never confirmed. My card was never charged. I called Expedia then and after 2 hours on hold, and talking to people who obviously didn’t know what they were doing, I decided to book 2 more tickets through Priceline, as it didn’t appear I had a flight (same plane, $70 more). 10 days later, Expedia charged my card for the first 2 tickets. I spent about 5 to 6 more hours on the phone with them. They told me they would have to charge my card 2 X $75 as a cancellation fee with American, then they would refund the fees as it was their fault. This they did.
    I called a few days later, and they were very proud to tell me that they had refunded my $150 – I couldn’t get anyone to see that that was pointless – I hadn’t got my airfare back. They told me (I think – it was hard to tell) to call American directly. American told me no dice, that I had booked with them, I had to go through them. Still no refund, almost 2 months after the original charge. The trip is tomorrow now, and I refuse to look at it until I return.

    I learned a valuable, expensive lesson apparently (even if I eventually get the money back) – NEVER USE EXPEDIA FOR ANYTHING. Book directly with the airline, hotel, etc. I am fortunate that I do not need this money for food for my family!

    • I’m sorry to hear that you are having such troubles with them. It seems like that is just par for the course with booking through 3rd party sites and a good warning to stay away. I’d be surprised if it wasn’t for the fact that this post is one of our most popular, both in monthly page views and also keyword searches. I hope you get your money back soon!

  23. Why am I not sturprised that ranting on social media is what fixed this!?

    It’s almost like they didn’t want to lose face. *eye roll*

    I’m glad this worked out for you in the end. It sucks though that it had to be so difficult to acheive a positive result.

  24. The reasons you have listed are exactly why I rarely book with 3rd party sites anymore. Most airlines have gotten smart about it and list their prices to match and with one less company to deal with when something goes wrong, why would you book with a 3rd party?

  25. Wow, tons of great comments everyone!

    @Dave – That is awesome you won a travel voucher. Any thought on where you’re going to use it yet? I do think you’re right on the social media aspect. A lot of people were mentioning the very same thing. How sad is that one?

    @Ele – I mean this in a polite way, but your definition of blackmail is completely wrong. Telling our readers not to use a crappy company is not the same as threatening a company to do what I want because of some inside information I have (which is not what I did). Until I sent out my Tweets, I was just another regular customer. In fact, it pisses me off even more that my Twitter account helped more than the standard customer service channels. That is the core of the problem and the whole point of this post.

    @harebeat – Pretty much. I am not even stretching that one. It was faster than the hold times I had to get to a person on the phone (while sitting on a poor connection in Cappadocia, Turkey calling via Skype).

    @Rachel – I think its easy to say that about almost every airline (and I’d agree that airline service, in general, is awful too). Although, since you picked on Turkish Airlines, I have to say that we had 2 good flights with them a couple weeks ago ourselves. But I say that knowing all experiences are different.

    @Melissa – It only takes one to swear off a company forever, and it seems like the 3rd party sites make it so easy for you to do that. Crazy about the car though! You’re not the only person who mentioned social media being the new norm for customer service, and it makes me incredibly sad.

    Perhaps companies need to stop outsourcing jobs.

  26. Yup, we had a similar problem with Travelocity years ago and I swore off third-party sites for flights from then on. Actually, just booked a name-your-price car rental on Priceline and the next day found the same exact rental for $70 cheaper on the company site itself (despite Priceline’s “49% cheaper than published price” claim), so I will probably refrain from doing that again too.

    I’ve had pretty good luck with Delta’s twitter for complaints, btw, so I guess that’s just how these companies are rolling now.

  27. My good friend just experienced a similar issue with Expedia/Turkish Airlines a few weeks ago. Whatever kinda good discount you think you might be getting? DON’T bother with Turkish Airlines! They were incredibly rude and in general the service was awful.

  28. LOL! They got back to you in 5 minutes? So, basically, all you have to do is to play with their name Great story!

  29. You accept their policy when you buy their tickets and then rant that they stick to the rules you agreed to? You only got your refund because you blackmailed them on Twitter, not because your cause was right, Egypt or not.

  30. Expedia just gave me a free $500 travel voucher just for participating in a twitter chat. Although it sounds like that was just a terrible experience, I can’t be mad at them quite yet.

    Just remember, social media runs the world these days and will always provide the best customer service. Sad, but true.

    • Expedia is also refusing to give me a refund for an Egypt Air flight I booked through Expedia. Egypt Air cancelled the flight (a round-trip flight between 2 cities in Egypt). Expedia had no Egypt Air flights on or near that date, even tho Travelocity had plenty of flights as did the Egypt Air website. And, of course, Egypt Air said that only the booking agent (Expedia) could request the refund. Expedia said that it was “airline rules” that multiple flights on the same booking would not allow changes to one of the bookings. Horrible customer service!!!! They lie about how the Egypt Air office is “currently closed” and can’t be reached, even when I was calling from Cairo during normal business hours. Expedia says someone will get back to me in two business days. Never happens. I too have learned, for the future, to book each leg of a flight separately. And I will never, ever use Expedia again. Oh, and my Expedia flight insurance only covers cancellation of a flight due to the traveler’s severe illness or death. Am not through bugging Expedia yet. And will now be taking to social media. But, really, why would Expedia not refund two measly $200 tickets, which were cancelled by the airline!

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