it should not have been that difficult

I guess I made a mistake.

It couldn’t have been the technology.

So when ISHI said, “Smoking”, I thought for a minute he was channeling Jim Carrey.

No, he was commenting about our hotel reservation for our upcoming trip. He actually read the details of the email that I forwarded him.

Wait–that sounds wrong. I didn’t read it; he did. He caught a mistake. That’s usually my job, isn’t it?

He read that the reservation was for a smoking room. WHAT? Yup, that’s what the reminder said, and that’s what the original said. But who reads all the details?

Apparently not me.

So I called the hotel and told them there was a mistake and could they please change the room to a non-smoking room?

After a long time checking with who-knows-whom, the answer came back. “I’m sorry, but since you booked with a third party, you have to deal directly with them.

You can see where this is going, can’t you?

So I called Orbitz and spoke to I can’t even remember now. Let’s call her “Elizabeth”. As in Elizabeth, India. She said, after a long time checking with whomever she checked with, that the reservation could not be cancelled at this point. After all:

This reservation is non-refundable. Cancellations or changes made at any time are subject to a 100% charge. We are sorry but refunds are not available for early check-out.

But I never would have chosen a smoking room! I hate smoking! I hate the smell of smoking! I hate the thought of people smoking! It makes me sick!

“Sorry, but I can’t do anything about this. It is policy.”

“Can I speak to your supervisor, please?”

“Certainly. One moment, please.”

After a few more than one moments, her supervisor gets on the line. Let’s call her “Lima”, as in Lima, Peru. And wouldn’t you know, after a long many many moments more, she comes up with the same solution. Sorry. She called the hotel, even, and they said it couldn’t be cancelled at this point without full payment.

I don’t want to cancel; I just want to not be sick!

“Let me speak to your supervisor, please.”

“Certainly. One moment, please.”


“Hello. My name is Yolanda. (That actually was the name that she used; I remembered that one, although Yolanda distinctly spoke with an English Canadian accent.) How can I help you?”

I know upped the ante. It was a mistake, but a deadly one. I’m allergic to smoke. I can’t be in a smoking room. It doesn’t matter how the mistake happened, but it shouldn’t cause me to be sick or lose money. I don’t want to not use Orbitz again, which would be what would happen; I just want to be able to breathe on my trip.



“Yes, no problem. It’s now in the computer system for a non-smoking room. If you want, for your own peace of mind, you can call the hotel and make sure they also have the corrected record.”

“Thanks, I’ll do that, Yolanda. Thank you very much.”

Have a nice day.

And just for fun, here’s someone Orbitz should hire.


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