Hotwirewrong last name on reservation

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I reserved 2 airline tickets for travel to Ecuador. On April 13, about 3 weeks later, I call the airline, COPA, to confirm that everything is o.k. To my surprise, the first name for my mother in law, my traveling partner, was misspelled, and the last name was completely different, one that she hasn't used in 40 years. I have been married to my wife 23 years; don't you think I know what her mother's last name is? Besides, I did check all 3: first name, middle initial, and last name in her passport, before I submitted the reservation with payment. I had my wife check the information, it was correct. The airline agent told me there might be a problem at the airport, that she might not be allowed to board the plane, because the name would be different from the passport. That's understandable, so I called Hotwire, they said they would forward the information. I confirmed a day later that it was received, but when I was about to print the boarding passes, I found the names were still the same. No correction had been made. I called COPA, they said they cannot make the change because I didn't do business directly with them. So then I called Hotwire, they forwarded the information for the change to be made, but when I called the airline, they hadn't updated it They received the note, but not a request to change it. They told me that this was because of government regulation, so I called Hotwire again. By this time I was losing patience, but I managed to maintain my composure. The lady who answered told me that the change could not be made, because that is the name on file, the one I submitted. In short, my mother in law could not travel, COPA would not change the name, and Hotwire would not change it. I pleaded with her, to no avail. I asked to talk to a supervisor, I waited nearly 40 minutes, and he said the same thing. I pointed out the mistake, they both blamed me for it. They said that no human hands touched it, that everything is done digitally. I find that hard to believe, they stand by their system being perfect, but that is a lot of bull! There are computer glitches, breakdowns in systems, so don't tell me that doesn't happen.
So that got me nowhere. I had to cancel the itinerary. As for a refund, I got none. One thing the supervisor said was that when I cancel the date or change it, it loses value. Well, I can travel at another date, I have one year from the date of reservation. I could have traveled by myself and my mother in law would follow once space was available, but buying a new ticket at twice the cost of what she already paid is ridiculous. She is 72 years old, she cannot travel by herself, that's why she was taking me with her, to help her and visit her country of origin for the first time. Now I will do whatever I can to remedy the situation, however the prospects don't look good. Advice: NEVER USE HOTWIRE!


  • SweetVirginia Jul 18, 2009

    You want me to give YOU an advice? Try taking responsibility of your actions next time.
    Listen, I do not work for Hotwire (thanks God!) but I am a travel agent who have worked in the industry for 11 years now, ever since getting off from H.S and let me tell you, that there is absolutely NO WAY that the Global Distribution System (GDS) could have a "glitch" that would cause it to put a different name, specially "one that she hasn't used in 40 years". Believe me, there could have been cases where there are glitches in the system as far as fare calculation goes, schedule changes, of cancellations but never name misspellings.
    About the note that you are talking about, it is called an OSI and that is the best that they could do. Of course they can't just "change the name" like you suggest because the tickets are non-transferable, which means that name changes are not allowed. Minor name corrections as such are allowed with a penalty fee usually with a penalty of $100.00-$250.00, and if you ticket was not refundable (which is most likely the case) then the original ticket cannot be refunded.

    Now, I don't know if I should feel pity for you or tell you 'I told you so' but when people start playing travel agents and buying tickets online on their own just to save 15.00 that an experienced travel agent/consultant charges for her expertise then they should know that they are on their own when it comes to problems with the airlines and tickets.

    So next time, stop being a cheapskate and go directly to a reputable travel agency and know that you can't compare yourself to the expertise of someone that deals with travel on a daily basis.
    Remember: Without a Travel Agent you are on your own!


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