In a series of now-deleted videos, a TikToker exposed Expedia for exhibiting “bad customer service” after the travel company allegedly committed multiple mistakes when attempting to change her flight. TikTok user Mina Y (@cowsmad) initially went viral for her video talking about the “emotionally damaging experience.”
Y deleted the videos because they showed her “in a very vulnerable state,” but relayed details of the experience to the Daily Dot via Instagram direct message. In the initial TikTok, Y was tearfully recounting the situation to her platform of 58,000 followers.
Y claimed the ordeal began when she tried changing her roundtrip flight to South Korea on the Expedia website only to be met with technical issues. She then decided to use the chat function to get some help. After some back and forth, the agent said they would process the new date and fee Y had confirmed. She was told the change would cost $112. Then, she says the agent abruptly left the chat.
Another agent came on to inform Y that the previous representative had booked the wrong dates, despite her asking them to double-check. Still, he allegedly told her to contact Expedia in three to five days since the system wasn’t working and wouldn’t be able to assist her at that moment.
The next morning, the TikToker woke up to another complication when she noticed she had no return flight. She said she tried calling Expedia but no one picked up. An Expedia representative told the Daily Dot via email the phone systems are fully operational, though they said it’s possible the traveler may have experienced longer wait times due to inclement weather.
The unsuccessful phone call attempt led Y to the booking platform’s website where she used the chat box to contact a representative once again. Apparently this time, the agent was quoting her tickets for more than $1,000. This new price didn’t include the change fee she would need to pay.
“Why would I pay double the price of my original?” Y said in the original video. “I’m a college student, I don’t have $1,080 lying around to fix some giant mistake made by a huge corporation.”
At this point, Y said she just wanted her first flight back but was told she’d have to pay for that, too, since now the original flight was sold out. After some back and forth—Y had apparently spoken to about five different agents by this point—an agent said they did find flights for the $112 price Y had initially agreed to. Apparently, the other agent had misquoted the fares, which were for upgraded flights. The entire process took about two days and about five hours, Y said.
After the video went viral on TikTok, Expedia’s social media team reached out with a “generic apology” and forwarded her case to a representative. She received an email stating that if her “booking was now correct, there is no issue to be dealt with.”
“In one of the videos, it appeared that her situation had been resolved as she stated that she had her flight changed to the correct date,” said Nisreene Atassi, Senior Director, Global Head of Social Media and Influencer Engagement at Expedia, in an email. She stated the social team had no detailed information on Y until they asked her for it. “Our response was based purely on the video she had posted.”
Y said that it was only after expressing her anger that she was refunded the change and rebooking fees. She was also awarded 15,000 Expedia points—points she said she will never use because she vowed not to use the company ever again.
“I don’t think it’s enough,” Y said in one of the last update videos. “For all the time you have taken from me, the emotional damage you’ve caused me.”
In the end, Y ended up asking Expedia to cancel her booking completely due to the “lack of respect.” The company “happily” obliged.
According to Y, this does not seem to be an isolated incident. She told the Daily Dot many people in her comment section expressed similar experiences. Some were allegedly charged double or had their reservations frozen by the company.
“Without knowing the specifics of the comments or posts that she’s referring to including the travelers’ itinerary numbers, I’m unable to comment on this as it’s unclear exactly what cases she is referring to,” Atassi responded when asked about other incidents.
Many users commented on the videos that they would never use the booking website again.
“Corporations think they can abuse their customers because we have no platform to stand on,” a user commented.
Y said she had used Expedia before with no major issues because it was the easiest way to compare flights. But after this incident, she said she will make sure no one around her uses its services.
According to Atassi, Y’s frustration is justified, stating the experience she had is in no way how Expedia wants to show up for its travelers.
“We are very sorry for the added complications with her ticket,” Atassi said, adding that they are looking into the situation further to stop it from happening again.
“We do acknowledge that our agents are human and mistakes unfortunately can happen. Our agents are not incentivized or directed to upsell travelers in any way and there was absolutely no intent to take advantage of the traveler as she suggested in her videos,” Atassi added.
Atassi said they believe the refunds administered “are commensurate with the issue at hand.”
Still, Y believes she should have been rightfully compensated for the “emotional distress.”
“Traveling for most people is a large expense and an experience they want to enjoy,” she said via Instagram message. “But by using Expedia it puts you at the risk of losing your tickets, bookings, money, reservations, etc. with no return or compensation.”
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