Industry Update
External Article17 March 2020

Coronavirus cancellations have overwhelmed third-party travel booking sites

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When Barbara Nicolle of Vancouver Island, Canada, purchased a week-long, $10,000 trip to Mexico using the booking site Expedia, global pandemic was the last thing on her mind.She bought her tickets last June. Now, as the coronavirus spreads, Nicolle is one of thousands of travelers scrambling to change their plans.Nicolle had planned to travel with her husband, their three children and one additional minor, leaving for Mexico on Monday, March 16."There's talk that they may close the borders," she said on Sunday. "At that point we said that there's no way we could go." Today, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the country's borders would close to many foreigners.Now Nicolle, along with many customers of third-party sites like Expedia, and Orbitz, has struggled to get assistance.First, she tried to contact Expedia, where a surge of calls made customer service nearly impossible to reach. "I started to call them and sit on hold," she says. "Usually about an hour and a half to two hours, and [they] just cut you off. I got to five hours another time."Both the airline and the hotel told Nicolle they couldn't help process her cancellation, sending her right back to Expedia.

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