Online hotel booking hampers woman's Super Bowl trip | News
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- It is the biggest football game of the year and it brings out the best and the worst, as well as problems when booking travel plans online.
April O'Brien is a Jacksonville Jaguars season ticket holder and won two tickets to the Super Bowl.
"When I picked these up, my hands shook so bad I couldn't sign my name," said O'Brien.
She had tickets, but no accommodations. O'Brien said she used Orbitz to secure two nights at a hotel in Hammond, La.
"They gave me a confirmation number. It was $96 a night, which I was surprised," she said.
Her reservations were made January 15th. Two weeks later, she called the hotel to make changes and was told there's a problem.
"I said 'what do you mean there's a problem'," said O'Brien. "Orbitz had booked about 26 people at this hotel didn't give any contact information they said and my reservation is no good."
O'Brien contacted Orbitz immediately looking for answers and was told there's no problem.
"Orbitz said the reservation looked fine on their end," she said.
Confused, O'Brien decided to make her own accommodations at another hotel. She said a phone call to change her reservations saved her Super Bowl weekend.
"I fully believe I would have been a couple of states over stranded on Super Bowl weekend with no place to stay."
But she said she still doesn't have answer for what happened to her so-called confirmed reservations made through Orbitz.
Marita Hudson Thomas said they are looking into it.
It appears that O'Brien experienced what's called "dropped reservations."
To avoid dropped reservations, always contact the hotel directly to confirm your reservation.
Online sites list key hotel room choices. Always read the fine print to make sure they are guarantees and not preferences.
To avoid getting the worst room in the hotel, do your research on sites like TripAdvisor for opinions on the hotel.
If you experience a problem and the online travel agent tells you to call someone else, tell them they are your agent and you will take your business elsewhere.