But what if, instead of booking directly with the airline, you booked with an Online Travel Agency? OTAs like Expedia, Kayak, and many more have also been bombarded with customer service calls this week as travel options rapidly change.
The good news is that OTAs are generally deferring to – and honoring – each airline or hotel’s policies. That means you may be eligible for a voucher or fee-free change, but it’s up to whatever the airline you’re flying or hotel you’re staying with is offering. Read our guides to airline and hotel change and cancellation policies.
But because you booked with an OTA, there’s another layer of complexity – and often, worse customer service. You need to go through whatever travel agency you booked with in order to change or cancel your trip.
This is why we recommend booking directly with the airline instead; saving a few bucks isn’t usually worth the hassle when plans change.
If you booked with an OTA for upcoming travel, here’s a look at how some major OTAs are approaching requests to change or cancel.
Expedia is perhaps the best-known online travel agency and is the parent company to other smaller OTAs like Orbitz, HotWire, CheapTickets, and more. They are following the policies of their airline and hotel partners for each booking. Navigating change and cancellation requests with Expedia is relatively straight-forward.
If you are traveling within the next seven days, you may be able to change or cancel many reservations from within your account without any additional fees. For hotels, flights, car rentals, and activities, here’s how:
- Use your account, itinerary number, or confirmation number to locate your trip under My Trips and see if Change or Cancel buttons are shown in your trip details.
- If you cannot change or cancel your flight in your My Trips account but the airline you’d be flying is offering free changes and cancellations, submit this form to receive credit for a future flight.
- If not, use the Chat button to chat with an Expedia agent
Find more information on Expedia’s policy during coronavirus.
Kayak, similarly, is deferring to airlines’ individual policies for customer bookings. However, they aren’t offering as many options to resolve change or cancel requests on their end.
Since Kayak is more of a search engine than a travel agency itself, if you searched through Kayak but were redirected to the airline’s site to book, you’ll need to contact your airline instead.
If you booked directly with Kayak rather than the airline, you can go to your Bookings to seek support from a customer service representative. If you’re not sure, you can look at your Bookings page or credit card statement to see which processed your booking.
Find more information on Kayak’s statement.
If you booked travel with Priceline and have travel coming up within three days, you can log into My Trips to view your itinerary and see if a cancellation option is available.
This will depend on whether the airline you’re flying with is allowing cancellations or credits for future travel. If the airline does allow changes or cancellations, the fastest option is to work directly with the airline.
If you have any issues seeing your options on your My Trips page, you can contact Priceline at 1-800-774-2354.
More information on Priceline’s policy.
What About Other Smaller OTAs?
There are other smaller online travel agencies like TravelMerry, JustFly, and hundreds more. Ultimately, you’ll want to reach out to their customer service to see what their policy is, but just know that smaller OTAs are a bit notorious for slow (or nonexistent) customer support.
In this case, you may want to also contact the airline (or hotel) you’re traveling with to understand your options. Some may allow you to process a change or cancellation directly.
The good news is that you’re not stuck holding the bag if you booked with an OTA. They’re deferring to the cancellation policies of each airline or hotel.
But you’ll have to go through whichever middleman you booked with. And in that case, it can make changing your travel more difficult.