Q: We booked a flight through Expedia on US Airways to Tel Aviv last November. We were unable to go. When we canceled the trip through Expedia, the company sent us an e-mail saying we had a $2,775 credit that could be used through Nov. 18 of this year.
More than two months before the cutoff date, we called Expedia, as directed by this notice, to schedule a trip to be taken from Feb. 12 to 18, 2015.
The agent went through the entire process of rescheduling, and at the very end, as he was about to schedule the new trip, was informed by a superior that he could not complete the process because US Airways requires that actual travel on the substitute trip begin no later than a year from the date given — that is, travel must begin by Nov. 18, 2014.
We talked with a supervisor and then with Expedia’s customer-relations department, and also with US Airways and got nowhere.
In our view, Expedia should pay for the cost of its failure to give us accurate information, or it should arrange with US Airways to allow us to use the credit in February. The trip we want to take will cost about $970 each, a total of $1,940. I believe Expedia should pay the necessary $1,940 to cover that trip.
A: Expedia should have given you accurate information about your flight credit. For the record, ticket-credit validity is an industry standard. You have one year from the date of your booking — not your flight date — to use the credit. After that, it expires. But the policy differs from airline to airline.
Expedia was bound by US Airways’ rules, but it also had a responsibility to share accurate information about the restrictions on your purchase.
It looks as if you tried to fix this by calling Expedia and US Airways, which is a good start. But you need to move the discussion to e-mail, so that you have a record of what someone has said to you.
Even if you had persuaded Expedia to honor its offer, you still would have been on the hook for $600 in change fees.
I contacted Expedia on your behalf, and the online agency found that indeed, after you canceled, an e-mail was sent to you that “inaccurately” stated that you would need to contact Expedia by Nov. 18, 2014, in order to use your flight credit of $2,775.
Expedia said it will extend the validity time for your credit so that you can travel after Nov. 18, 2014, as you requested.
Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine. Read more tips on his blog, elliott.org or e-mail him at email@example.com.