My HORRIBLE experience with Travelocity.

Their complete LACK of help, refusal to answer my many emails lack of concern for customers' wellbeing and their obvious concern ONLY with taking my money instead of helping me amazes me.

I registered at and posted at "Vacation Packages."

In early 2009, I booked a vacation in Mexico and used Travelocity. I did not buy cancellation insurance because I had NO intention to ever cancel, for any reason.

Then the Drug War got very heated and it became too dangerous to travel to Mexico. The government of Canada posted this warning on their website:

"Canadians travelling to Mexico should exercise a high degree of caution due to occasional demonstrations and protests, high levels of criminal activity and violence throughout the country."

"OFFICIAL WARNING: Foreign Affairs and International Trade Canada advises against non-essential travel to Mexico, due to an outbreak of human swine influenza."

This is not my idea of a restful, enjoyable vacation. I spent time on the front-line of a WAR and I'm here to tell you that it does not make for a nice "vacation."

In no way am I BLAMING Travelocity for the awful mess in Mexico; of course not!

Here is an analogy:

Suppose you go to a car dealership and agree to buy a certain car and pay $x for delivery in y weeks. Then the dealership is destroyed in an awful fire. Now, the dealership, through no fault of their own, can not provide you what you had agreed to buy and had paid for. Would it be reasonable for the dealer to KEEP all of your money, or even part of it? Of course not! You would be entitled to a FULL REFUND!

On April 13, 2009, I emailed this to Travelocity, with details of my booking:

Hello; due to the horrible drug war going on there, my traveling partner has decided that she does not dare take the trip. Can you please CANCEL it at this time? I can book it at a later date when the war settles down. Thank you.

I contacted Mastercard. I had not yet received a statement from them with the billing on it but they told me to pay it in full to avoid interest charges, and wait for a credit from Travelocity to come.

Two days later, Travelocity promptly replied:

Dear Ken,

Thank you for writing to Travel Reservations Center.

We are sorry, your email did not provide us with enough information to process your request. Please provide further details so that we may be able to assist you.

Warmest regards,

Keith T
Travel Reservations Center

So, in frustration, I sent them this:

"Hi, I gave all the info on my email of 2 days ago; I hope the following will help you to identify me and our trip.

I need to CANCEL this trip; we strongly feel it is TOO DANGEROUS to travel to Mexico at this time. This is unfortunate but not our fault. Now that we are fully retired, and can afford to travel, we would like to do this at a future time.

Even the Canadian government has issued a warning which runs like this:

"Canadians travelling to Mexico should exercise a high degree of caution due to occasional demonstrations and protests, high levels of criminal activity and violence throughout the country."

Here is the info again; please process a complete cancellation; hopefully this drug war will end soon and we can book our trip in complete confidence and security:"
(and added all the trip info)

By April 20, I still had not heard back so I wrote them AGAIN:

PLEASE.................. I asked you about this first, a week ago and you replied: "We strive to respond to all e-mails within four hours, but sometimes a high volume of e-mails prevents this. " This is not very good service, is it? I sent all the info again on April 15; still no reply. I need you to CANCEL my trip NOW and process a full refund please.

It is very clear that Travelocity is concerned with only one thing: Taking Your Money. Clearly, they have no interest in serving customers' needs.

On April 22, my bill came from Mastercard: $515.41 x 2 plus $1,636.13 = C$2,666.95. (US$2,017.77)

STILL no reply from Travelocity so again I emailed them:

Keith T..................

I am most disturbed by Travelocity business practice and plan to do something about it.

Since April 13, I have been trying to get you to cancel our trip.

As I see it, Travelocity has misrepresented the facts. We wanted a restful, relaxing vacation. Travelocity made no mention of the dangers of traveling to Mexico. I have found these comments in that regard:

"It's very violent in the area and not save right now. It's not worth taking the risk at all."

"just don't walk alone at night, walk as a group because you can get kidnapped or something."

"Mexico is safe if you're a bullet.."

"No don't go. It isn't safe right now whether you are in a tourist area or not."

"traveling throughout Mexico should exercise caution in unfamiliar areas and be aware of their surroundings at all times. Mexican and foreign bystanders have been injured or killed in violent attacks in cities across the country, demonstrating the heightened risk of violence in public places. In recent years, dozens of U.S. citizens have been kidnapped across Mexico."

"Don't go. It's not safe."

"Drug traffic and activity of criminal groupings do this rather quiet country dangerous to tourists. In capital of the country - Mexico City - 15 000 people are being killed annually."

"What is not being told is a significant number of the policia are in the pay of the Narco Terrorists. It is beyond me why someone would risk kidnapping or worse for a few days in the sun and a few margaritas."

"I feel it is unconscionable for anyone in the tourist industry to recommend Mexico as a holiday destination."

"CNN Increasing reports of tourists being targeted in Mexico. There are numerous State Dept. warnings, and they are urging travelers to check there website prior to traveling there."

"Mexico has became a very corrupt place. fill with angry envious vicious people."

"Mexican federal authorities are basically in a state of war against the drug rings right now as the cartels are killing authorities all over the place in an attempt to make a statement and force Calderon to back down."

"Crosses decorate the Mexican side of the border fence between Nogales in Sonora, Mexico, and Nogales in Arizona. U.S. Department of State officials are warning travelers to avoid Mexico because of increases in crime, even in public places." (Deanna Dent/The State Press)

On CNN and/or FOX TV news, I see/hear "...escalating violence in Mexico..." and "...resorts also..."

April 13: Canadian government warning: "Canadians travelling to Mexico should exercise a high degree of caution due to occasional demonstrations and protests, high levels of criminal activity and violence throughout the country."

AND; April 18: "Curry also found out firsthand what federal drug enforcement agents have long understood. The drug war, with the savagery it brings, knows no bounds. It had landed in his back yard, in the foothills of the Appalachians, in Alabama's wealthiest county, around the corner from The Home Depot. One thousand, twenty-four miles from the Mexico border..........But also the central state of Michoacan and resort cities like Acapulco, an hour south of the place where, months ago, the decapitated bodies of 12 soldiers were discovered with a sign that read: "For every one of mine that you kill, I will kill 10." Some 10,560 people have been killed since 2006......"

"....the once glamorous resort city has seen daytime shootouts between police and drug hit men who have dumped severed heads in public as part of turf battles that killed 2,000 people in Mexico last year."

"Reporting from Cancun, Mexico -- The suspect cruised around in an SUV that had been reported stolen. He toted corrido music glorifying drug smugglers and hit men, and allegedly helped them operate in this beach resort."

"Unknown to most visitors, how-ever, the low-lying Yucatan peninsula, dotted with major Mayan ruins and Spanish colonial towns, has become a key dropping-off zone for Colombian smugglers moving cocaine from South America towards the US."

"Mexican officials estimate that as many as three drug gangs may now be operating around Cancun, including two that have fought bloody battles for control of the northern border. The Cancun area is attractive to traffickers because it's easy for them to work and live there. It's a transportation hub, with many opportunities to move drugs and money, as well as lots of businesses to launder that money."

Keith, this does not suggest a restful, relaxing vacation.

I'm sure you will understand that I feel compelled to post this entire matter on my website and in many forums and other online discussions. If Travelocity will not warn the public, then I must.

I have now received my bill from Mastercard and the total charge to me is US$2,017.77. I am demanding a full refund of that amount immediately.

On my own website, I'll be posting all this at

And, I got the usual notice:

Thank you for contacting Travel Reservations Center.

This is to confirm that your email has been received by Travel Reservations Center.


Travel Reservations Center
Customer Care Team

Strangely, I ALSO got this in a separate email:

This is an automatically generated Delivery Status Notification.

Delivery to the following recipients failed.

This makes me think that they are trying to make me think that they did not get my email and forgot that their system had already, automatically, sent me the confirmation. NASTY WORK!!!

Then, in utter DISGUST, I went to their website and left this message:

Why do you refuse to reply to my cancellation request? I keep getting notices that you have received my emails, but don't get a REPLY. KEN LANINGA. Details at

That provided the automatic acknowledgement:

Your reference number is: 090422-007172

You should receive an email acknowledgement from us within the next 30 minutes.

Sure enough, I did get an email within minutes; not that it was of any use:

Please note this is an automated acknowledgement.
Thank you for contacting Travelocity, we appreciate the opportunity to serve your travel needs. Your enquiry has been passed to our Sales & Customer Care Team who will strive to respond to your contact within 4 hours.
Travelocity Sales & Customer Care

I notice now that on April 20, 2009, the USA posted this on their website:

While millions of U.S. citizens safely visit Mexico each year (including thousands who cross the land border every day for study, tourism or business), violence in the country has increased recently. It is imperative that travelers understand the risks of travel to Mexico, how best to avoid dangerous situations, and whom to contact if one becomes a crime victim.

A few hours later I got a reply:

Response (Roger T) 04/22/2009 06:54 PM
Dear Ken,

Thank you for writing to Travelocity.

We are sorry that you did not receive a reply for your cancelation request.

We've checked our Sabre reservation system and were unable to locate a reservation under the name or e-mail address provided. To assist you properly, we will need to review the reservation in question. Please provide us with the 12-digit Travelocity Trip ID number or the 13-digits ticket number so that we may assist you further.

Awaiting your response.


Roger T
Travelocity Customer Service

So, once again I gave them all the information; the THIRD time. AND got the usual acknowledgment.

Then, back to waiting............... and waiting................

THEN, on April 23, to make things even WORSE, this news: and

A mysterious and "severe" respiratory illness has surfaced in parts of Mexico and may be affecting some Canadians who recently vacationed there.

Canadians who have recently returned from Mexico are being warned they should be on alert for flu-like symptoms that could be connected to the illness, says an advisory sent by the Public Health Agency of Canada to health services across Canada.

And that news item garnered these comments from readers:

Again, why the heck would anyone want to visit this country. Mexico is one place I will NEVER go to. The way they treat tourists and now this. Unreal.

I know a few people who have returned in the past couple of weeks from Cancun and Mayan Riviera and all of them were sick.

A man who works in my building caught a respiratory infection (which affected his lungs) while he went to Mexico by cruise ship.

Between respiratory illnesses, tourist murders and an ongoing drug war, seems like Mexico is no longer a very safe place to vacation for Canadians.

April 24; 11 days after first emailing Travelocity; STILL NO ANSWER!

So, once again I emailed them:

Travelocity, WHAT IS THE MATTER with you?!?!?! I have been trying since April 13 to get you to CANCEL my trip/account/charge and issue me a full credit. All I get is emails asking for my file info AGAIN and emails telling me you have received my email.

The Rest of the Story:

PLEASE CONFIRM NOW THAT you have CANCELLED my account and processed a FULL REFUND.

I'd rather not post this url on all the forums etc etc all over the internet, but you seem to want me to.

It would appear that Travelocity has set their email so as to bounce any that come from me now; this one bounced also. So, once AGAIN I went to their website and left a message there:

PLEASE take care of this; I have been trying for 11 days to get a decent reply. ALL the details at DO IT NOW PLEASE and confirm. Even my emails to you are now bouncing.

When I posted that, it showed this:

Your reference number is: 090424-008295

You should receive an email acknowledgement from us within the next 30 minutes.

In spite of the fact that I got an email telling me that my email to them had bounced, I did get, AGAIN, the usual acknowledgement:


Please note this is an automated acknowledgement.

Thank you for contacting Travelocity, we appreciate the opportunity to serve your travel needs. Your enquiry has been passed to our Sales & Customer Care Team who will strive to respond to your contact within 4 hours.


Travelocity Sales & Customer Care

BACK TO WAITING.............................................

On April 26, I wrote to them again, this time to TWO of their addresses:


WHY DO YOU NOT REPLY TO MY EMAILS?????????????????????????????????


Do you REALLY want me to go to ALL the forums and travel discussions all over the WWW and tell them that Travelocity is WORSE than HORRIBLE to work with?!?!?!!

AND, as usual, got the usual reply x 2:


Thank you for contacting Travel Reservations Center.

This is to confirm that your email has been received by Travel Reservations Center.


Travel Reservations Center
Customer Care Team

Then, I asked for advise at a forum at where I posted this:

Travelocity is treating us VERY BADLY. I've never dealt with any company as bad as Travelocity. Every time I email them to cancel my trip, I get an automated reply telling they have received it, but they never reply other than, once or twice, to ask for more info. All the details at IF ANYONE has any suggestions for dealing with Travelocity, please let me know.

Meanwhile, on the TV news I see that the World Health Organization calls the Mexico Swine Flu outbreak a crisis of international concern!!!

Then I got a reply:

Dear Ken,

Thank you for writing to Travel Reservations Center.

We understand that you wish to get a cancelation notice for your reservation to Cancun, Mexico with MEXICANA DE AVIACION listed under Trip Id 390697116312.

Per your email we have reviewed your reservation and see that your reservation is active. However, if you wish to cancel your reservation we request you to please contact our Customer Service Center at :877-657-4874. Our customer care agents are available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Please note that you have purchased a "flight + hotel" package with components that have been combined to offer you the best value. Please be advised that there may be cancellation fees and penalties associated with any change to your trip, depending on airline and hotel policies.

Assuring you best of our service and cooperation.


Roger T
Travel Reservations Center

And my reply:

Roger, I cannot phone; bad ears; no more phone.

It is not my fault that it is necessary to cancel; it is Travelocity's fault as explained on my website at

I demand you cancel and give me a 100% refund.

If it was not for the horrible drug war in Mexico, then the new "International Crisis" of Swine Flu certainly makes it absolutely necessary for you to cancel this immediately.

Thank you.

By BCC of this email I am asking my son, David Laninga, to phone the number you gave me to confirm this

THEN, I got this email on April 26:

Dear Ken ,

Thank you for responding

We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience caused to you. We understand that you wish to cancel the reservation as you cannot call due hearing problem. Ken, we understand that you wish to cancel the reservation due to drug war in Mexico and if not for "International Crisis" of Swine Flu . Please be advised that we also have customer care center helping for hearing impaired. We request you to call on this number so that they contact our vendors and assist you in canceling the reservation.

TDD hearing: 800.555.7585

(Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week).

We sincerely regret the inconvenience caused to you.


Norman T
Travel Reservations Center

And in UTTER DISGUST I answered this Norman fellow:

Norman, as I said, I HAVE NO PHONE and cannot use one if I did.

JUST CANCEL the trip and issue a 100% refund NOW.

You really want me to write to all the newspapers and link to this website all over the WWW, don't you?

On CNN I see that a "Public Health Emergency Has Been Declared." Maybe Travelocity wants to assume responsibility for our DEATHS?? Already I see there are at least 81 dead in Mexico!

One resident of Mexico posted this: "Please wake up people this is nasty, and it's gonna get alot worse. I'm scared, and will not send my girls to school's insane the being so close to Mexico city, the authorities have done nothing here in Queretaro!!!

Another wrote: "the difference between this flu and the regular flu is that the mortality rate for this flue is several orders of magnitude higher. It kills people with completely healthy and functioning immune systems - not just those with weak or compromised immune systems.

Then this:

and this:

A number of countries are now warning against travel to Mexico.

On April 27, the European Union started urging people to postpone all non-essential travel to ...... MEXICO. Meanwhile, more than 1614 cases of Swine Flu are reported in Mexico with at least 103 dead.

Fox News: Breaking News State Dept. Reportedly Will Urge Americans to Avoid 'Non-Essential' Travel to Mexico.

And the fun continues; on April 27 I got a reply from the lovely folks at Travelocity:

We understand that you wish to cancel your reservation to Cancun, Mexico under the trip Id xxxxxxxxxxx. Please forward a day and night phone number where you can be reached so that we may set up a callback request for you. So that we can assist you with your request and go ahead and cancel your reservation.


Amelia T
Travelocity Customer Service

I could hardly believe my eyes when I read that but of course, I replied:

Can you not read ENGLISH? My email clearly says that "I HAVE NO PHONE and cannot use one if I did. "


Rest of the details at

Then my son phoned them and was told they wanted US$782.88 penalty to cancel.

Once again I sent them an email on April 27: (and got the usual acknowledgement)

Hello, I've been emailing Travelocity since April 13 to cancel.

We booked a "restful, relaxing vacation" at Akumal. THEN the drug war got out of hand, and NOW the Swine Flu epidemic makes it imprudent to travel to Mexico and I have made other plans.

It is NOT our fault but you clearly cannot provide the "restful, relaxing" vacation we paid you for.

Thus, we reluctantly requested that Travelocity do the "Right Thing" by canceling our trip and giving a full refund.

I have gotten ZERO cooperation so far. Our Trip ID is xxxxxxxxxxx.

All I get is emails confirming that they have received my email or asking for my ID number again. I have told them that I HAVE NO PHONE and bad hearing makes it impossible for me to use one AND STILL THEY TELL ME TO PHONE them. Maybe they cannot read English.

Travelocity needs to refund me the full US$2,017.77.

I have listed the whole awful story at

One of the people I wrote to, advising of the problem with Travelocity wrote back:

Around a week ago, after that other Canadian travel agency (Conquest?) went under, I did some googling on Travelocity and found that they have abysmal customer service. If any of us had thought to google the company ahead of time, I'm sure none of us would have booked through them for such small savings over booking hotel/airfare separately. Hindsight and all.

Next step: start telling the world about this Travelocity Ripoff; one place was Clark Howard where I posted this:

Booked to go to Mexico, with Travelocity. Then the Drug War heated up, Now the Swine Flu is getting worse by the hour. Asked Travelocity to cancel with 100% refund. They want an $800 penalty fee. Not my fault; I wanted to go. It is THEY who cannot now provide the "restful & peaceful" vacation they advertised. But they refuse. ALL the gory details on my website at Any suggestions?

C. Coleman wrote to tell me of their HORRIFIC problems with Travelocity where Travelocity is refusing to issue a refund in spite of the fact that THEY made a mistake:

This trip was booked for 2 people out of a party of 5. At the same time we tried to book 3 others for the same flights. Because of technical difficulties, we were unable to confirm the other flights. Hours later I was told, on the phone, that there were no seats available for the 3 other people, so I cancelled this reservation. Within an hour or less of the cancellation, we were able to book for 5 people, same flights.

For this reason I ask that you give me a full refund for these tickets for ***** and ********. We are all on the same flight now. The information given on the phone that the flight was full was INCORRECT. This was not a different flight, this was the exact same flight. Your people gave me WRONG information on the phone. I will not accept a penalty of any amount and refuse to pay the charge on the Master Card.

It looks like a legal action against Travelocity is my only option. Too bad.

On May 14, I finally got a reply from Travelocity, after I had filed a complaint with Mastercard:

Email Correspondence
Response (Anil Tarachandani) 05/14/2009 11:42 AM
Dear Ken,

Please accept our apologies for the delay in responding to your email. We are currently facing high volumes and hence the delay.

We understand that you wish to cancel your reservation for travel to Mexico under Trip ID 390697116312.

Ken, as advised to you earlier, the airlines have not provided us with any refund options for travel in September. Almost all of the airlines are allowing a free change, and no refund, for travel by May 31 only. Currently, the reservation can only be cancelled within the cancellation policies advised to you over the phone.

Do revert in case you wish to proceed with the cancellation of the trip.


Max T
Customer Service - Manager

So I answered:

Thank you for that reply. I do not know what you mean by "Do revert in case you wish to proceed ...." but assume you mean "reply."

The phone call you refer to was to my son and I'm not sure what that "cancellation policies " means. Please explain.

Yes, I do want a cancellation and a full refund. If you will not provide a full (C$2,666.95) refund, then, I'm sure you will understand that I will not be very happy with Travelocity and my website at will explain the reasons.