ATLANTA — Five days on airplanes, 24 hours in Israeli police custody and two trips across the Atlantic.
A metro Atlanta woman says it is all because of a mistake by Priceline that the travel site won’t own up to.
Dorcas Muwandi bought her flight to visit her daughter in Dubai for Christmas on Priceline.
The itinerary was supposed to take her from Atlanta to JFK and JFK to Tel Aviv on Delta before switching to FlyDubai Airlines for the final leg to Dubai.
She never made it to Dubai.
“I was treated like a terrorist,” Muwandi said.
Muwandi’s passport was immediately confiscated by armed guards when she walked out of the jetway in Tel Aviv.
She was taken into custody for 24 hours and eventually told that her flight to Dubai did not exist.
“I stayed there 24 hours before they told me I have no flight. There is no flight to Dubai from Tel Aviv. There is no flight for you,” Muwandi told Channel 2 investigative reporter Justin Gray.
She was put on a plane back to America where she had to book another flight on another airline back to Dubai.
Her trip back and forth across the Atlantic took five days.
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“I was so exhausted, mentally exhausted. Emotionally exhausted,” Muwandi said.
Lots of travelers look for cheaper flights on third-party apps like Priceline, but Channel 2 consumer advisor Clark Howard said flights with multiple airlines often lead to trouble.
“Whenever you see a deal on a third-party site and it involves more than one airline your risk of a problem goes way, way, way up,” Howard said.
After months of getting nowhere with Priceline, Muwandi reached out to Howard’s Consumer Action Center.
Gray has been exchanging emails with Priceline for four days now.
They first blamed Muwandi, incorrectly claiming she failed to provide proper paperwork.
Priceline also claimed it was an issue between Muwandi and Delta, not them.
A Priceline employee even wrote Gray that they could not find a working phone number to reach FlyDubai Airlines — the airline Priceline booked Muwandi on.
They did share in a statement that “if Priceline is found responsible for what happened, we will take responsibility.”
Muwandi’s ticket from JFK to Tel Aviv was stamped ‘doc OK’ in New York where she was checked in by Delta and no problems were flagged.
She says nobody ever mentioned a paperwork problem in Tel Aviv or anywhere else. Israeli officials told her the problem was that the flight did not exist.
“Priceline is responsible. They should be held accountable, you can’t sell a ticket of a flight that doesn’t exist, and you put me in danger,” Muwandi said.
So far, Priceline has refused to issue a refund.
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