For several weeks I have been trying to plan a vacation for 2 to Orlando, Florida from Boston. We will be traveling over the Memorial Day weekend and have a specific hotel in mind (JW Marriott). After navigating a number of airlines, travel sites, and price comparisons, we found what we thought sounded like a great deal on Expedia. We have used them many times before and have never had a problem. Until now!!
Our selected dates are 05-21-09 through 05-26-09. Many of the popular travel booking sites such as Expedia, Travelocity, Orbitz, etc., have shown similar prices (approx. $725 pp rt) during the beginning of our search. However, Expedia's prices suddenly dropped significantly one day ($566 pp rt), and we were ready to book the trip. We selected our dates/times and continued with booking. SUDDENLY, the price goes right back up to the originally listed ($721.58 pp rt). What a bummer. Understanding the complexities of travel and airline prices, we resume our search for a better price.
Within a couple days of this happening, it happens again on the Expedia website. This is very disappointing to say the least. Meanwhile, other websites have consistently shown the same price for the same package.
After this happening a third time, I decided to call the number plastered all over their website. I explain our situation and discontent. The "booking agent", Brandon, was very polite, but said that was a case for customer service. I was then transferred and spoke with Amelia one time and Danielle another.
Prior to even knowing which airline we had chosen, Danielle immediately defended their website prices by stating that "Air Tran" is always late updating their prices. I then told her it was Jet Blue we had been selecting. She said there was nothing she could do to honor the originally listed price of $566 pp rt. Amelia said much of the same. I suggested they speak to the Expedia webmaster to rectify the bogus price listing.
Over the next several days (February 23, 24, 25 2009), we continued searching. The package for a room at the JW Marriott, flying Jet Blue nonstop from Boston at 9:35 am, and returning on the noted date at 12:00 pm or 3:01 pm has shown prices of $566, $586, and $721. Despite the advertised price, when the selection is made to proceed to booking, the price automatically changes to the highest. During each of these times comparison searches have been conducted with all other sites remaining consistent with their prices.
As I write this message on 03-09-09 the advertised Expedia price for this trip is $566. I have printed pages showing these misleading prices. Update: on 03-11-09 price shows $555.
After filing a complaint with the Better Business Bureau, I received a response from Expedia explaining that they can't control the floating rates of airlines and hotels. I responded that this was an unacceptable explanation and they CAN control what they advertise and how frequently they update this information.
BBB relayed this info and again Expedia made a lame attempt at explaining their procedures and pricing. On 03-12-09 I responded to BBB that this was unacceptable. Ironically, this very same day Expedia lowered their price for the same vacation package I had been interested in to $649. Other travel sites show the same or very similar prices.
This whole experience has left us with a lack of trust in Expedia, especially after reading about other peoples' similar experiences with them. I strongly encourage travelers to use other companies for their travel plans.