OK, I have to eat a bit of crow...
Sarah, who kindly left a message in the comments, was as good as her word, and did respond promptly to an email from me.
She pointed out that indeed, the telephone number is accessible on Orbitz' site, if you search for the right words (like "phone number" -- not sure how I missed that one!).
And, she did discover that I got two email notifications some time back. I don't have them, which suggests they ended up in the "spam" folder, which is easy to understand.
So...Orbitz doesn't deserve to be called "evil."
I stand by my view that for customers outside the U.S., it would be better to have another option besides asking customers to call at their expense. And I wonder why it took me close to three hours on the phone with Orbitz to solve this. If I were the Orbitz people, I'd want to know that, too.
Finally, fairness requires I point out that Sarah offered a $100 travel voucher. I don't know if I'll take advantage of it; it depends on the "ifs, ands, or buts" involved. And, while Sarah represents her company well, I'd like to have a bit more assurance of knowledgeable customer service.
OK, I've eaten the whole crow. Tasty!
(Original post follows...)
I'm having troubles in my final days of my sabbatical.
I booked a flight with Orbitz in November -- from Cincinnati (in January) to Israel; Israel to Rome; Rome to home (next week).
Sometime since I left, the final leg -- New York to Cincinnati -- was dropped. When? I don't know. It was there when I left Cincinnati.
Orbitz loves to send me emails, and claims it will notify you if there's a change. I've gotten notices about gate changes and time changes. I have a ton of emails from Orbitz. I can't find any notice about this. In fairness, I might have deleted it.
How did I find out? When I went online to see about seat arrangements and so forth.
I am in Rome; I spent about 2 hours on and off hold, on an international call. What will that cost? And I still don't have a final flight home. After all my waiting, the operator -- who was very nice by the way -- said I need to call back. It's early AM in the U.S. OK, I get that; I'd rather have called local in Europe (cheaper); but the only help number is in the U.S.
Will they call me? Nope.
Anything on the website? Nope.
In fact, Orbitz doesn't even provide this telephone number on its website. I had to search online. Orbitz doesn't WANT customers contacting them.
The only feedback option on the website, I used to send an "URGENT" message. That was three days ago, still no response to that.
Well, Orbitz, maybe adding "Orbitz is evil" to the Google search algorithm will get your attention? Increasingly, only nastygrams from attorneys, and negative social-network attention, matters to these operations.