Throughout the coronavirus outbreak, we have been reporting on airline updates regarding their waiver of change and cancellation fees. In line with this are hotels and even Airbnb. However, what would happen if you used an online travel agency to make your reservation rather than the airline directly? This week, when travel possibilities change quickly, OTAs like Expedia, Kayak, and many more have also been inundated with customer care calls.
OTAs usually respect the policies of individual airlines and hotels, which is good news. This implies that you might qualify for a coupon or a fee-free change, but it depends on what the airline or lodging provider offers. There’s an additional level of complication and frequently worse customer service since you booked through an OTA. To modify or cancel your trip, you must contact the travel agency you used to make your reservation.
For this reason, we advise against making reservations through the airline directly; sometimes, the inconvenience of having to change arrangements outweighs the small savings. This is how some of the biggest travel agencies are handling requests to modify or cancel reservations if you made your reservation via them.
The parent firm of several smaller OTAs, including Orbitz, HotWire, CheapTickets, and others, is Expedia, arguably the most well-known online travel agency. They adhere to the rules set forth by their hotel and airline partners for every reservation. With Expedia, handling requests for changes and cancellations is comparatively simple.
You might be able to modify or cancel a lot of reservations directly from your account without paying extra if you’re planning to travel within the next seven days. This is how you book lodging, airfare, rental cars, and activities.
Go to My Trips, find your trip, and check if the Change or Cancel buttons are displayed in the trip details using your account, itinerary number, or confirmation number.
If the airline you’d be flying with offers free modifications and cancellations but you are unable to do so through your My Trips account, utilize the Chat option to speak with an Expedia representative.
Similar to other airlines, Kayak respects the particular booking policies of each airline. On the other hand, their options for handling requests to modify or cancel are less extensive. You should get in touch with your airline if you used Kayak as a search engine but were taken to the airline’s website to make a reservation, as Kayak functions primarily as a search engine.
If you made your reservation via Kayak directly as opposed to the airline, you can access your Bookings to contact customer care. If you’re unsure, you can check which company processed your booking by visiting your Bookings page or checking your credit card statement.
If you purchased your trip through Priceline and will be departing in three days, you can check your itinerary and see if there is a cancellation option by logging into My Trips. This depends depend on whether the airline you’re using offers credits for future travel or cancellations. The quickest way is to deal directly with the airline if it permits modifications or cancellations.
What about smaller OTAs?
Numerous smaller internet travel firms exist, such as JustFly and TravelMerry, among many more. Smaller OTAs are somewhat renowned for having slow—or nonexistent—customer assistance. Nevertheless, you should ultimately get in touch with them to find out what their policy is. In this situation, it could be a good idea to speak with the airline (or hotel) you are using to learn more about your alternatives. For some, you might be able to handle a change or cancellation straight away.
Fortunately, if you made your reservation through an OTA, you won’t be left holding the bag. They are yielding to individual airline or hotel cancellation policies. However, the middleman you booked with will have to handle everything. And in that scenario, it could be more challenging to modify your itinerary.