VIEWS: 7 PAGES: 4 POSTED ON: 3/8/2012
USAW BBB Report
Good day, I humbly write to notify you of the many horrible things that were done to me by expedia.com and US Airways. I have tried unsuccessfully to get refunded the money taken from me over the phone but to no avail. I have been advised to try the BBB or attorney general as my first option, so I write seeking your assistance in this matter. I have lost a lot of money and been the subject of lots of pain, suffering and stress because of them. I booked a trip to Ethiopia for myself leaving from Nassau Bahamas on December 10th and returning to the Bahamas on December 20th. I also booked a trip for a friend who would be travelling on the same flights as me on December 20th to the Bahamas and she would return to Ethiopia 3 months later. I wanted to make certain arrangements and make sure everything went smoothly so I purposely called an expedia rep and had them make my booking for me over the phone as opposed to doing it online myself. When booking my trip I specifically asked about travel insurance in case I needed to change the dates of my tickets. The rep described three different options they had. The most expensive option (which the rep said would allow me to change the dates of my travel without “any” penalties) was not available to me without booking a hotel. So I booked a hotel for my stay so that I could purchase this option. On the return trip to the Bahamas I also booked a hotel in 2 days in the Bahamas specifically so that I could purchase this insurance. I definitely did not need a hotel in the Bahamas as this is and has been my home for 36 years. However, I booked it specifically so that I could purchase the insurance and not be penalized should I need to change or cancel travel arrangements. I left for my trip on December 10th and experienced problems almost immediately. My trip had various transits to get me to Ethiopia and one of them was through Tel Aviv, Israel. The agent in Nassau told me that they checked my bags all the way through to Ethiopia, and if you check the baggage claim check attached you will see that it shows my luggage being check all the way through to Ethiopia. When I got to Tel Aviv I found out that the security regulations there required that you get your bags and go through security screening with them and then check them in again. I had no problem with this, these are the rules. I went to the designated carousel to look for my bag and it never showed up. I notified the US Airways agent at the counter and was told that my bags did not come to Tel Aviv and it was in fact in South Carolina at the moment and then later it would be in Germany and then after that it would go to Ethiopia on a different flight and day from me. I had my mother contact the airline for me about the problem (I was roaming with my phone so could not spend a lot of time on the phone with the airline). They said they had an agreement with Ethiopian Airlines (which handled the last leg of my flight) concerning such matters. They gave her a series of letters and numbers that they called an “on hand file number”. They said to go to the Ethiopian Airlines counter when I arrived in Ethipian and give the agent the number and they would deliver my bag to me at the hotel once it arrived. The on hand file number given to me was “CLTUS02547590”. When I gave them the number in Ethiopia, the lady said this number is incorrect and is not the correct length. She said it should only have 5 numbers at the end and yours has 8 numbers at the end. She said, I cannot do anything to help you locate your bag, however you are free to check in the back to see if you see it. I did this every day for three (3) days and never found my bag; this is evidenced by the fact that I still have the baggage claim check which you can see in the appendix. I had to purchase clothing and other items etc for the rest of my time there because they were all in the bag that US Airways had, not to mention the gifts for friends that were in my bag. I only had a few items that were in my carry on; most of my clothing as well as gifts for my friends were in my suitcase. I have never received any compensation or even an apology for this. On December 13th I had my mother contact Expedia to notify them that I needed to come home earlier (I have a medical condition, sickle cells and was not feeling well). The agent cancelled my current arrangements and put me on a flight for the 15th. A few minutes after this (literally about 10 minutes) this same agent called me at my hotel and said that they told my mother they had me on a flight for the 15th and she thought she was able to get me on the flight but they were unable to book it. I stated that my mother just spoke to an agent and she confirmed me on the flight for the 15th, the lady said I am the same person that just spoke to her and I thought I had you confirmed but I was unable to place that booking. I then stated “ok just leave it as it is for the 19th then”. She then said I cancelled the bookings for the 19th when I was trying to get you on for the 15th and the price has already changed for those bookings of the 19th and the price is higher now (my original bookings I already paid for, now higher because they did not check before removing my bookings). I told her ok fine just put it back at the 19th. She then said oh looks like those tickets you had for the 19th are now gone. I then told her well try the 16th, 17th or 18th, I will take whatever is available. She checked all those dates and could not find anything available until the 20th which was after my original bookings. So I ended up paying higher ticket fees, penalties, as well as extra hotel and meal fees because of their error (I paid penalties because she cancelled my arrangements and did not confirm beforehand and made me stay longer and I am penalized). I also notified the lady from expedia.com at this same time that I wanted to suspend the ticket for my travelling companion as she wanted to use it at a later date when I am feeling better. She said she thinks that US Airways is going to charge additional penalties (again) for this but that she could transfer me to the US Airways agent so that I could speak to them directly about the matter. I asked her to do that and after speaking with US Airways the person I spoke to spoke to her manager and they agreed to waive the penalty. During the month of January after receiving my bank statement I noticed that US Airways did not keep their word and I had numerous extra penalties from US Airways. In fact they charged me not 1, but 3 separate fees in the amounts of $240.40, $467.78 and $253.13 for a total of $961.31 just in penalties alone. The bank statement in the link shows proof of this. On top of this, apart from the initial call made by my mother, I had to make numerous calls to expedia over the course of my trip, totaling several hours. The calls along cost me many hundreds of dollars as my only option for calling them most times was from the hotel phone. The Ararat hotel where I stayed charged $10 USD for every 3 minutes of a phone call. This can be verified with the Ararat Hotel in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. I will not even get into most of the issues I had with this hotel such as being without power in my room for many hours every single day, and one day the power was off all day long until late at night not because the main power was off, but because someone turned off the switch from the panel in the hallway and did not turn it back on or the toilet that never flushed. After staying until the 20th I finally left for the airport and got there more than 3 hours early to check in. I checked in and went through customs and security etc. When it was time to board the flight and the gate agent went to take my boarding pass he said please wait here at the side. He did this to one other person that I noticed. I waited at the side for more than 40 minutes with no explanation of what I was waiting on even after trying to get one. The agent just continued to serve all the other customers in line in back of me. Another flight started to be boarded at the same time (a flight to India) and this one agent was now collecting boarding passes from lines on two sides of him, the ones going to India and the ones going to or in transit through Brussels (my group). I witnessed a near riot as the Brussels group became irate that this agent was serving the other side which came after before even finishing the Brussels side, there was lots of pushing and shoving at this point. After everyone had boarded from Brussels and India another Ethiopian Airlines agent from upstairs came down and the first agent said something to him. He took my passport and without saying anything did a full sprint with my passport up the stairs. I had to sprint behind this person because I did not know where he was going with my passport. After I caught up to him upstairs at the desk I asked what the problem was. He said oh we are just checking that you do not need a Visa to transit through Brussels. I did not believe this, but that’s what he told me. After a few minutes they sent a bus to take me and the other lady who was waiting to the flight. We were the last to board and the flight did not leave on time. After arriving in Brussels and going through security again I went to check in at the desk and get my boarding pass. The agents took an extremely long time to give me the pass, more than 20 minutes and said they were having a problem with the system. I didn’t think anything of it and boarded my flight from Brussels to Philadelphia. Once in Philadelphia I had to go through US immigration and customs and collect and check my bags again. I got as far as immigration and then the immigration officer said to me “did you have a long wait when trying to board any of these flights?” I said yes, the officer then said that “US Airways has here that you did not board this flight, but I can see that is impossible because you are standing right here in front of me.” I was detained and he said that because of this error I would have to take a this red file that he gave me to “Secondary Inspection” and the officers in there would have to create a flight manifesto etc before I would be allowed to go any further. I went there and handed them my file and had to wait as there were others ahead of me. When my name was called, the agent asked me a few questions and then stamped my documents so that I could go on. This process alone cost me almost 90 minutes of “extra” time. After this I collected my bags and rechecked them. The US Airways agent at this point “STILL” did not give me a boarding pass and gave me something (printed on the same type of paper but not a boarding pass) that she said would get me through security and then I would get my boarding pass on the other side. I went through security and of course when I got to the other side my connecting flight had already left 20 minutes prior to me getting there. I almost broke down from all the frustration from this airline and had to be consoled by the agent. The agent told me to go to the US airways customer service desk for further assistance. I did this and explained what had happened and I stated emphatically that it was US airways fault because they did not list that I boarded the flight, causing me to be held up in immigration. After waiting for the rep (whose name badge said Valerie N.) to talk to the help desk she said there was no way possible to get me home to the Bahamas any more that day and I would have to go to Washington on the 6am flight in the morning and then go from Washington to the Bahamas. She gave me a hotel voucher for four points hotel and I spent the night there. At this point I was irate because I had been sick for a number of days now and had to wait even longer again. I returned the next morning early again to get on my flight and learned (of course) that the gate that was on my boarding pass was incorrect and that I had to catch the shuttle to another gate. I was surprised to meet numerous persons there who had experienced the same problem with US Airways, in fact some of them had even slept at the airport. I finally made it home after these last two transits and I can say with confidence that I will never use expedia.com or US Airways again. In fact I did not receive what I paid for and they caused me extra expense, pain, time away from my family and lots of stress. Because of the amount of money involved and the amount of physical and mental anguish caused to me, I vowed not to let them get away with doing this to me. I only even put up with their nonsense in the beginning because I was in Africa so far away from home and had no choice. I refuse to pay those penalties that they agreed to waive and would like my money back for that as well as compensation for my bag and the other ticket they are holding because we would definitely never fly on this airline ever again. I am prepared to do whatever it takes for justice for myself, I beg your assistance. If you require proof of anything I said I can provide witness statements, documented proof, boarding passes, emails, pictures, bag claim forms and video evidence. I have proof of everything and I humbly ask that you assist me.
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