Captain’s Log: Stardate 10591.0
There is a threat out these more dangerous than any threat we’ve ever known. We must stop them at all costs. Note to all crew, friends and viewers of the Captain’s Log:

NEVER EVER EVER EVER USE EXPEDIA.COM.

Here’s what almost happened to me: I’m traveling, tomorrow, on business, to Chicago and needed a place to stay near the O’Hare airport for one night. So, last week, I brought up Expedia and searched hotels. Choices, Choices, Choices. I settled on the Wyndham O’Hare and made my reservation online. They charged my credit card and sent me a beautiful email detailing my reservation (number 114683130000) and said I even had a guaranteed late arrival – not that I needed it, but I thought it was a nice touch.

I went to United.com to print my boarding pass and decided, on a whim, to contact the Wyndham to make sure everything was copasetic. They had no reservation. They’re sold out. If I showed up tomorrow, I wouldn’t get a room and would be out in the cold in November, in Chicago. The Wyndham suggested I contact Expedia, which I did.

After being on hold for some time, I spoke to a representative, who we’ll call “Dufus.” Dufus said, “Yes, you have a reservation.” I said, “Check with the hotel because they disagree and since that’s where I’ll be arriving, they pretty much have the last word.” Dufus checked and I was back on hold for a few minutes.

“They’re sold out,” said Dufus.

“What about my reservation? The word guarantee is in there.”

“We have confirmed that they received the fax.”

Get this, ladies and gentlemen. The one and only thing that hinges between a room and the floor of the Chicago O’Hare International Airport in November is a fax confirmation page – and apparently that doesn’t always work.

“That’s it!!!???”

I could hear Dufus shrug. “Umm... yes. I could refund your credit card.”

He did. That email came in faster than the reservation one the week before.

“… and, I could help you book a new room. There’s a lot sold out tomorrow night.” No shit, Dufus! Really?

I yelled at Dufus. They need to invent a button so you can send 50,000 volts of electricity over the phone wire to the person at the other end. I’d buy that. I would’ve loved to hear Dufus fry.

He put me on hold. I launched my browser and clicked on the Ramada. Dufus came back and I asked him to hold a second. On the other line, I called the Ramada. Room reserved. No airport floor for me.

Came back to Dufus. “I’m having trouble finding something,” he said. I needed the button again. Not that I would trust them to make the reservation if he had – but I asked “What about the Ramada?” Dufus typed away “No, they’re sold out.” (They’re not. At least 4 more rooms available – one of which is a suite.)

“I could . . .” he started to say.

“Never mind,” I said. “Your service is piss poor, your company apparently can’t make a hotel reservation. And, you are a Dufus. It’ll be a cold day in hell before I use your service again.”

“I –“

“And Orbitz.com shows rooms at the Ramada. And I just booked the Ramada on the phone with them directly. You guys suck.” Click.

They do. Be careful.