And the online travel agency with the most complaints is …

Expedia. That’s according to a survey of my authoritative email “in” box, which contains seven years of complaint data from travelers. Coming in second? Travelocity, followed by Orbitz.

Alright, my methods may not be completely scientific (after all, my email contains all of my correspondence, not just complaints) but it’s a pretty good indicator.

Let’s start with Expedia.

Notice the steady rise in complaints? Could just be that more people are complaining to me, of course.

Here’s Travelocity.

Notice the trend line, which is almost identical.

And here’s Orbitz.

Again, the curve is almost the same.

Put it all together, and here’s what it looks like. Orbitz is blue, Travelocity is red and Expedia is orange.

So which agency gets the most complaints? The raw numbers (inexact as they are, admittedly) must be weighted, as several of the commenters have pointed out.

A few hours after this post appeared, Expedia contacted me to say it had crunched my numbers based on market share data provided by my good friends at PhoCusWright. How nice of them!

These are the conversations per market share point.

1. Travelocity 26.1
2. Orbitz 20
3. Expedia 16.2

According to Expedia,

You can see that Expedia scores the best not worst. In fact, Travelocity has 61 percent more complaints per percentage of market share than we do. So, based on the volume of email conversations you’ve had by brand, a customer that books with Expedia would be far less likely to bring you a complaint compared to customers that book with the two OTAs.

(Photo: Life art/Flickr Creative Commons)

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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