We booked our tickets on October, 31st 2008. In December of 2008, Iceland Air discontinued their direct flight from Reykjavik to Glasgow. Expedia contacted us and offered to refund our money or re-route us through London. When we looked up new flights they were quite a bit more expensive than the deal we had originally found, so we agreed to be re-routed through London.
This seemed innocuous to me at the time. Chalk it up to naivety on my part; we should have booked directly with the airlines and will always do so in the future. Expedia happily re-arranged our flights but never re-issued the tickets. Essentially our itinerary looked great on Expedia's end but Iceland Air had no idea who we were.
We arrived in Boston and headed to the Iceland Air ticketing gate where we would stand for the next four hours fighting with Expedia on multiple phones (simultaneously) trying to get through to someone who knew what they were doing or at the very least were capable of understanding what we needed.
Throughout this entire process we had support from a brother and sister and mother who worked at Iceland Air (their dad works there too but he was away on business in Seattle). There is absolutely no way we would have made this flight without their help. Thank you Olafur and family!
Here is a timeline of our experience:
Arrival at Iceland Air ticketing gate, the insanity begins as we try to unravel what occurred with the help of Expedia's brain-dead support reps.
When we establish that the tickets need to be re-issued Olafur's sister tries repeatedly to explain to Expedia what this means (!!!) and why they need to do it.
Expedia tells us they have re-issued the tickets but nothing has changed on Iceland Air's end. Tara and I both get on the phone with Expedia hoping one of us will reach someone willing or capable of doing their job. Olafur and his sister take turns trying to communicate with the idiots at Expedia as well.
Expedia tells us they are contacting their ticketing department to resolve the issue. Lots of useless holds ensue and nothing is accomplished.
Expedia tries to have me purchase a ticket for a flight the following morning saying that they will refund the purchase. I refuse telling them I am not going to leave $6,000 in bicycling equipment in an airport overnight and that I don't trust I'll receive a refund much less be able to reach anyone who will help me when I don't.
Olafur's mother pulls our baggage and has it held just in case we can't get things resolved.
Olafur finally gets someone on the phone who is capable of doing something. Expedia agrees to refund us for a ticket purchased immediately if we fax them a receipt but not before I insist that I get an email confirming this as well as several phone numbers and names.
Olafur's mother holds the flight for us to finish up while commenting that this is like The Amazing Race.
I get enough documentation from Expedia that I feel comfortable giving Olafur my credit card to run the $3,500 one-way booking.
Chase declines the transaction even though I called them well in advance to let them know I would be traveling.
I frantically call Chase to validate the charge. Olafur runs the card again and it asks for an authorization code. Not thinking clearly at all we waste another 5 minutes trying to figure out what that means with Chase when Olafur's mother realizes that we just need to enter the cards CID (3 digit code on the back).
With the transaction approved Olafur takes the lead and rushes us through security to our flight. We exchange hugs and thank yous and dash down the ramp to the plane.
We are in the air eating a delicious hot meal with several glasses of wine laughing and being incredibly thankful for the good fortune of meeing Olafur and his family.