Orbitz, Others Raise Questions Over Online Booking Industry’s Attention to Detail

Consumers have taken to online price shopping travel websites in mass numbers. With the industry leader Priceline reporting steady profits and an ever-expanding market cap, it appears that shopping for air tickets by price is a winner for both customers and companies. But one online travel tool has been attracting all the wrong attention, racking up hundreds of consumer complaints last year.

The website in question is Orbitz, a fairly popular online booking tool that’s listed on the New York Stock Exchange and advertised nationally. The website is considered a leader in the online tourism field, although a slew of recent complaints reveal that it could be moving down the ranks. From an unusual marketing policy to poorly planned flights, customers don’t seem happy with Orbitz.

Public complaints have listed the website as one of several that shares customers’ bank information with third parties, most offensively, subscription companies that engage in unethical marketing. An Orbitz customer may find themselves enrolled in another company’s monthly ‘tips’ club, paying fees of up to $15 monthly and often completely oblivious to the fact that they have been enrolled.

A second Orbitz tactic that’s raising controversy is the service’s pairing of flight connections that are simply impossible. Customers are routinely pushed to purchase connecting flights departing from a location over sixty miles from their landing point, with all travel to be completed in an impossibly swift thirty minutes.

The company has publicly responded to some of the criticisms, arguing that its algorithm is far from a perfect solution and suggesting guests double-check itineraries before purchasing. It’s a smart call, but for the thousands of dissatisfied Orbitz customers, it could be one that’s too late. Search ‘Orbitz’ on Google and you’ll run into hundreds of prominent unhappy customer reports on the company.