News10NBC Investigates: Missing letter in name leads to problems for Webster family’s European vacation

News10NBC Investigates

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WEBSTER, N.Y. – A Webster family’s scheduled European vacation has so many problems, it’s fit for Chevy Chase.

At one point, a third party booked the family’s four-year-old daughter on a flight by herself.

The trip is scheduled to start in two and a half weeks.

Chris, Courtney and Chloe Collins should be getting ready for a vacation to Italy.

“My daughter is looking forward to this. She loves traveling,” Chris Collins said. “She keeps talking about it. I just want to make sure it happens.”

The problems started from the get-go. When Chris booked the flights through Priceline, Chris left out a letter in his daughter’s name.

It’s spelled Chloe. He spelled it “Choe.”

Chris says when Priceline tried to correct the error and change flights to reduce a layover, the problems mounted.  Their daughter Chloe was booked as an adult. Then she was left off a flight. Then the four-year-old was booked on her own separate flight.

Berkeley Brean: “So she didn’t have a ticket at all or she was on a different plane?”

Chris Collins: “Both, at different times in the conversation.”
Because the Collins’ used a third party like Priceline, the airlines would not and could not correct the problems. The Collins had to go through the third party and that resulted in what call endless calls and text messages.

“Like we’ve had to call to get updates seven or eight times and every time we speak with someone new that has no idea what’s going on,” Chris said.
“We’re working directly with the airline,” Patty Bean said. “There isn’t another third party involved.”

Bean picked up on the first ring when I called her today. She’s the owner of Bean Cruises and Travel on Mount Hope Avenue.

She isn’t critical of third parties but says a lot of her new customers come to her frustrated with wait times to fix problems by third parties.

“It’s not to say us travel advisors didn’t have those same kinds of waits but we were doing it for our clients,” Bean said.

The Collins’s say it wasn’t until they told Priceline that I was getting involved that they started getting daily updates.

“The moment we said a local news reporter was going to cover this case and publicize it all of a sudden there’s an individual who has reached out to us on three different occasions over four days to give us updates and has gone from disinterested to overwhelmingly nice,” Chris Collins said.

Priceline emailed me at 3:30 p.m. Monday. The company says correcting misspelled names on multiple international flights is complicated.

“Name changes, especially multi-carrier international tickets, can be complex and do take some time to implement,” a Priceline spokeswoman wrote to me. “We are continuing to work with the airlines to urgently secure the necessary authorizations needed on behalf of the family for the name change and have provided updates to the Collins family.”