Open Letter to Travelocity

I work for an amazing company, Fuller Theological Seminary. We have the great privilege of working with and for ministry leaders from all over the world. One such leader is a pastor and seminary professor from Myanmar. In order to be the best professor and pastor he can be he has applied for the Doctor of Ministry program at Fuller. 

We were able to find this pastor a full scholarship for this first course here on campus. A generous and gracious church has covered all his expenses: flight, housing, food, tuition, books - it is a really beautiful thing.

So our office has begun making arrangements to bring him to campus. We booked a flight with you, Travelocity, from Myanmar to Los Angeles for him. A few hours after booking the flight we were contacted via email letting us know it was canceled. 

We called you to inquire as to why the flight had been canceled. After one of my colleagues was on hold with your customer service for one hour and thirty four minutes, you informed us that the passengers name was not acceptable. You see, he only has one name. No first name, only a family name. So when booking the ticket we put in "First Name Unknown" and then his Last Name. My colleague inquired "am I not able to use your service if the passenger does not have an American name?" to which your customer service representative replied, "If they do not have a first and last name, the bank will not allow them to book a ticket."

We are paying for his ticket as the accredited graduate school supporting his studies, so I do not understand why the bank should be an issue. We have a copy of his passport verifying he only has one name - why is it that you cannot complete a simple transaction allowing a citizen from Myanmar to use your service to fly to America?

It baffles me that in today's world we still make things so inaccessible to those who do things differently than us. 

So we booked the flight through Expedia. It took approximately 34 seconds and in the amount of time it took me to write you this letter we already got the confirmation of the ticket. I am glad to see that some companies are willing to work with various cliental from around the world. Thank you, Expedia, I will be using you a lot more in the future.


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