Branka Alkalay’s airline ticket has the wrong name. Can Expedia make the ticket name change without charging her even more?
Q: My husband and I recently booked round-trip airline tickets from Tel Aviv, Israel, to Boston with Turkish Airlines on Expedia. We ordered the tickets online. A few weeks after receiving our confirmation, I noticed that my last name was spelled “Alkaly” instead of “Alkalay.”
I contacted Expedia and it emailed me and said it had reissued the ticket under the correct name. However, Expedia also charged me an extra $679 for the new ticket.
Our original tickets were refundable with a penalty fee of $195. If Expedia had mentioned that we needed to buy a new ticket, we could have canceled the old ticket and paid only $195. But they mentioned that the only additional cost will be the difference between the price of a new ticket and the cost of the original one. Can you help me get my money back? — Branka Alkalay, Raanana, Israel
A: Expedia should have spelled your name correctly. Airlines are strict about the name on your ticket matching the one on your passport. Although I think you might have been able to correct this obvious typo by showing up a little early and asking a friendly ticket agent to add an “a” to your last name, you’re better off getting it fixed now.
You could have avoided this problem by reviewing your tickets as soon as you received your confirmation. Had you done that, Expedia would have been able to change your tickets much more easily without charging you an extra fee. In the United States, there’s a 24-hour rule that allows you to cancel tickets and receive a full refund, but Expedia might have also quickly fixed your name in its system before issuing the tickets.
You tried to fix your ticket problem by phone, which led to even more confusion. Expedia purchased a new ticket, leaving you with two tickets to the same destination. Keeping a paper trail might have allowed you to hold Expedia to the promise you thought it made, to fix a typographical error.
But there was a short paper trail. It showed you growing increasingly frustrated by what appeared to be a series of form responses by Expedia. And finally, you were writing messages like these: “PLEASE PASS MY REQUEST AND THE CORRESPONDENCE TO YOUR SUPERVISOR!!!!!” In fairness, you say you were polite for the first few weeks of trying to resolve this case. I believe you.
I understand how you must have felt, but patience and politeness would have gotten you further. Oh, and also the names, numbers and email addresses of the customer service executives at Expedia, which I list on my consumer advocacy site.
It looks as if this problem was caused either by your computer or Expedia autocompleting your name. When it did so, the name was incorrect. You might want to check your browser to ensure that your name autocompletes correctly on your side.
I contacted Expedia on your behalf. According to the online agency, Turkish Airlines should have returned your money in eight weeks. You had been waiting for almost four months. But after Expedia stepped in, you received a full refund for your first ticket.