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(AsiaOne)   What's worse, arriving to a hotel and realizing you were never booked or paying $588 in roaming charges when you call customer service?   (asiaone.com) divider line
    More: Awkward, Roaming, Telephone, Mobile phone, Ng Shei Kee, Telephone exchange, hotel stay, hotel staff, New Zealand  
•       •       •

2505 clicks; posted to Main » on 02 Dec 2022 at 10:05 PM (8 weeks ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook



32 Comments     (+0 »)
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2022-12-02 10:13:05 PM  
I assume this was an inexperienced young traveler who went abroad for the first time?

Since the first time my wife and I went overseas with a cell phone almost two decades ago, we knew we had to activate a local prepaid line upon arrival, or we would be eaten alive by international roaming charges. We kept doing so for any trip.

Nowadays, with wi-fi calling and other features, there are fewer excuses to get surprised bills when returning from trips overseas.
 
2022-12-02 10:19:11 PM  
She had decided to quit her job and fly to New Zealand for a year-long holiday.
[...]
Her phone bill for September was $618, which included an outrageous $588 in international roaming charges.


Failure of planning, and probably on an iPhone lol. Get the international phone plane before you start your year long international trip.

I get it that it was her first day, but as soon as you cross the border you get "Welcome to xyz country. You are now roaming". You have an opportunity to jump on wifi and add the intl plan to your account. Obviously this was her first international phone bill. It will never happen to her again!
 
2022-12-02 10:19:18 PM  
Went to Puerto Rico as disaster response after the hurricane. I spent a lot of time making sure that my att plan covered there.
 
2022-12-02 10:19:58 PM  
My favorite was when I got to my hotel and they told me they had overbooked on the assumption that there would be some cancellations and didn't actually have any rooms left.
 
2022-12-02 10:24:03 PM  

Jairzinho: I assume this was an inexperienced young traveler who went abroad for the first time?

Since the first time my wife and I went overseas with a cell phone almost two decades ago, we knew we had to activate a local prepaid line upon arrival, or we would be eaten alive by international roaming charges. We kept doing so for any trip.

Nowadays, with wi-fi calling and other features, there are fewer excuses to get surprised bills when returning from trips overseas.


I agree that you do the right thing, but international roaming charges, or roaming charges in general, seem to me to just be a scam the phone companies came up with.  Yeah sure, if Verizon isn't in that country, then maybe you get a small charge of a couple bucks for someone else to pick up the service.  Then again phone and internet providers are the biggest markup services out there.
 
2022-12-02 10:24:10 PM  

SomeAmerican: My favorite was when I got to my hotel and they told me they had overbooked on the assumption that there would be some cancellations and didn't actually have any rooms left.


I knew airlines did that, didn't realize it was so pervasive.

Do hotels have the same protections that the carriage contract guarantees the airlines?
 
2022-12-02 10:25:09 PM  
Roaming fees
 
2022-12-02 10:26:21 PM  
In a similar situation, I'd be so angry, I'd be trembling.

Fark user imageView Full Size
 
2022-12-02 10:34:02 PM  
CSB: I think I've told this one before but I was working in Germany traveling from site to site spending a day or two at each so I had to make arrangements every day through Carlson Wagonlit. At one point when I had a very bad cold I made reservations for a hotel in Essen, Germany. At the end of the workday I consulted my map index and couldn't locate the street that the hotel was on. I called Carlson who then did a three way call with the hotel to get directions. When I told them my starting point they were equally confused. After about 10 minutes of back and forth trying to find middle ground and get me to the hotel we realized that I was speaking to a hotel in Athens, Greece.
 
2022-12-02 10:34:16 PM  
For international trips and if you are not planning to use a local wireless provider:
As soon as your plane starts taxiing for departure, set Airplane mode -> ON, Wi-fi -> ON, and KEEP IT THAT WAY until landing on you return flight back home.
 
2022-12-02 10:35:57 PM  

SomeAmerican: My favorite was when I got to my hotel and they told me they had overbooked on the assumption that there would be some cancellations and didn't actually have any rooms left.


Every airport or downtown hotel does this and has been doing it since the early 70s.  Why you never book a six pm reservation when flying.
 
2022-12-02 10:36:55 PM  

winedrinkingman: Jairzinho: I assume this was an inexperienced young traveler who went abroad for the first time?

Since the first time my wife and I went overseas with a cell phone almost two decades ago, we knew we had to activate a local prepaid line upon arrival, or we would be eaten alive by international roaming charges. We kept doing so for any trip.

Nowadays, with wi-fi calling and other features, there are fewer excuses to get surprised bills when returning from trips overseas.

I agree that you do the right thing, but international roaming charges, or roaming charges in general, seem to me to just be a scam the phone companies came up with.  Yeah sure, if Verizon isn't in that country, then maybe you get a small charge of a couple bucks for someone else to pick up the service.  Then again phone and internet providers are the biggest markup services out there.


So, $588 dollars for 120 minutes of airtime is around $4.9/minute.  That's Singapore Dollars, so $434.81 USD, so $3.62/minute.

If I flew to New Zealand OR Singapore right now and made a phone call (without connecting to Wi-Fi, and without purchasing an international plan), it would cost me 25¢/minute.

WTF kind of janky cellular service do they have in Singapore?  The entire country is the size of a modest bowel movement, so I'd expect roaming to be a bedrock requirement.
 
2022-12-02 10:39:13 PM  

morg: CSB: I think I've told this one before but I was working in Germany traveling from site to site spending a day or two at each so I had to make arrangements every day through Carlson Wagonlit. At one point when I had a very bad cold I made reservations for a hotel in Essen, Germany. At the end of the workday I consulted my map index and couldn't locate the street that the hotel was on. I called Carlson who then did a three way call with the hotel to get directions. When I told them my starting point they were equally confused. After about 10 minutes of back and forth trying to find middle ground and get me to the hotel we realized that I was speaking to a hotel in Athens, Greece.


"'Ello, miss."

"Wot d'ya mean, 'miss'?"

pause
"I'm sorry, I have a cold. "
 
2022-12-02 10:45:49 PM  

SomeAmerican: My favorite was when I got to my hotel and they told me they had overbooked on the assumption that there would be some cancellations and didn't actually have any rooms left.


Reputable hotels will generally do their best to arrange equivalent accommodations elsewhere on their dime when this happens.
 
2022-12-02 10:48:12 PM  
Maybe she works in "customer service", talking in circles to people from other countries ripped off by similar policies.  I have no reason to believe this, I just so want it to be true.
 
2022-12-02 10:48:58 PM  

olorin604: SomeAmerican: My favorite was when I got to my hotel and they told me they had overbooked on the assumption that there would be some cancellations and didn't actually have any rooms left.

I knew airlines did that, didn't realize it was so pervasive.

Do hotels have the same protections that the carriage contract guarantees the airlines?


I don't know, but I do know that some hotels make plans for it.

I was traveling for work about a decade back, and the hotel had a jigsaw puzzle in the lobby, so I kept spending my evenings there, chatting with the hotel staff while working on the puzzle.

Every hour or two, they'd call around to other hotels in the area, exchanging info about how many rooms they still had available, so they could refer people who tried checking in if they filled up.

But you had that question when it was getting towards midnight... do you take the guy with money standing in front of you, when it's your last room and you've got an outstanding reservation?

I think in one case, they managed to call the person with the reservation, but cell phones weren't as prevalent back then.

/didn't manage to finish the puzzle before I left
//but I got damned close
///and they said that puzzle had been out for longer than they remembered any of them being there
////buffalo blend into tall grass pretty damned well
 
2022-12-02 10:52:52 PM  

Jairzinho: For international trips and if you are not planning to use a local wireless provider:
As soon as your plane starts taxiing for departure, set Airplane mode -> ON, Wi-fi -> ON, and KEEP IT THAT WAY until landing on you return flight back home.


Do you know enough to explain what airplane mode actually does? Actual question.
 
2022-12-02 10:59:05 PM  

olorin604: SomeAmerican: My favorite was when I got to my hotel and they told me they had overbooked on the assumption that there would be some cancellations and didn't actually have any rooms left.

I knew airlines did that, didn't realize it was so pervasive.

Do hotels have the same protections that the carriage contract guarantees the airlines?


Not sure... but as for me, they offered me & about a dozen other people a bus to an affiliated hotel significantly outside of Chicago... without dropping my downtown Chicago nightly rate any.  I took it for that night, found a better hotel the next day, and left them a scathing review.
 
2022-12-02 11:05:21 PM  

olorin604: Jairzinho: For international trips and if you are not planning to use a local wireless provider:
As soon as your plane starts taxiing for departure, set Airplane mode -> ON, Wi-fi -> ON, and KEEP IT THAT WAY until landing on you return flight back home.

Do you know enough to explain what airplane mode actually does? Actual question.


I'm sure there are people who can explain it better than me here but I'll give it a try.

As I understand it, it shutdowns the radio capabilities of the cell phone, so no cellular signal can reach it or be sent from it to any cell tower. It also prevents the constant search for a cellular signal when none (or none compatible) is available.
In some/most models it also shuts down the wi-fi and bluetooth radios, so that's why you need to set it ON, so you still can connect to some hotspot.

If I made any incorrect technical statement, someone will set me straight here but I'm pretty confident that's basically it.
 
2022-12-02 11:05:35 PM  

olorin604: Jairzinho: For international trips and if you are not planning to use a local wireless provider:
As soon as your plane starts taxiing for departure, set Airplane mode -> ON, Wi-fi -> ON, and KEEP IT THAT WAY until landing on you return flight back home.

Do you know enough to explain what airplane mode actually does? Actual question.


It used to turn off all radios on the phone.

These days it will disable the wifi and cellular antennas, but you can turn back on wifi afterwards

I have no idea if there's a norm for how Bluetooth is handled.
 
2022-12-02 11:20:47 PM  

Oneiros: olorin604: Jairzinho: For international trips and if you are not planning to use a local wireless provider:
As soon as your plane starts taxiing for departure, set Airplane mode -> ON, Wi-fi -> ON, and KEEP IT THAT WAY until landing on you return flight back home.

Do you know enough to explain what airplane mode actually does? Actual question.

It used to turn off all radios on the phone.

These days it will disable the wifi and cellular antennas, but you can turn back on wifi afterwards

I have no idea if there's a norm for how Bluetooth is handled.


What the hell is the point I assumed it turned off all send/ receive.
 
2022-12-02 11:31:06 PM  

olorin604: Oneiros: olorin604: Jairzinho: For international trips and if you are not planning to use a local wireless provider:
As soon as your plane starts taxiing for departure, set Airplane mode -> ON, Wi-fi -> ON, and KEEP IT THAT WAY until landing on you return flight back home.

Do you know enough to explain what airplane mode actually does? Actual question.

It used to turn off all radios on the phone.

These days it will disable the wifi and cellular antennas, but you can turn back on wifi afterwards

I have no idea if there's a norm for how Bluetooth is handled.

What the hell is the point I assumed it turned off all send/ receive.


Candy Crush
 
2022-12-02 11:34:57 PM  

olorin604: Oneiros: olorin604: Jairzinho: For international trips and if you are not planning to use a local wireless provider:
As soon as your plane starts taxiing for departure, set Airplane mode -> ON, Wi-fi -> ON, and KEEP IT THAT WAY until landing on you return flight back home.

Do you know enough to explain what airplane mode actually does? Actual question.

It used to turn off all radios on the phone.

These days it will disable the wifi and cellular antennas, but you can turn back on wifi afterwards

I have no idea if there's a norm for how Bluetooth is handled.

What the hell is the point I assumed it turned off all send/ receive.


It does turn it all off with one click, but most phones let you turn individual tranceivers back on one at a time as well. The airline asks everyone to put their stuff on airplane mode for a couple of reasons:
1) Liability
2) Forcing people to turn off their gadgets means they are more likely to pay attention to the flight safety skit
3) better safe than sorry; although the chances are exceedingly small that your device will interfere with their avionics, that chance is never zero since they didn't explicitly test each and every make/model.

Keep in mind that after take-off / before landing, wifi is generally allowed on planes these days, with most airlines explicitly offering it as a (paid for) service on long-distance flights.

Cellphone service itself is more problematic, since unless the airline has its own mobile cell "tower" on board, either you're too high up and your phone will keep yelling at high power settings looking for a cellphone tower, or at lower altitudes your phone can see a dozen different cellphone towers at the same time and keep continuously keeps switching towers looking for the strongest signal as you move along and the cellphone carriers hate that.
 
2022-12-03 12:38:53 AM  
How does a 25 year old not know about international cellular billing in 2022?  She's not some dumb kid.  She's got enough savings to quit her job and hang out in New Zealand for a year and she (I assume) managed to convince New Zealand to give her a visa for that.  NZ's pretty strict about who they let hang out for that long.  I'd expect someone capable of doing this kind of vacation would be pretty savvy but here we are.

I can understand why neither the booking company or the hotel are offering to help her with the phone bill.  That's on her.
 
2022-12-03 3:57:42 AM  

SomeAmerican: olorin604: SomeAmerican: My favorite was when I got to my hotel and they told me they had overbooked on the assumption that there would be some cancellations and didn't actually have any rooms left.

I knew airlines did that, didn't realize it was so pervasive.

Do hotels have the same protections that the carriage contract guarantees the airlines?

Not sure... but as for me, they offered me & about a dozen other people a bus to an affiliated hotel significantly outside of Chicago... without dropping my downtown Chicago nightly rate any.  I took it for that night, found a better hotel the next day, and left them a scathing review.


There are two types of hotel reservations.

6 PM hold which means the hotel will hold your reservation until 6 PM and you aren't required to leave a credit card number. At 6:01 PM your reservation is no longer guaranteed and the hotel is not responsible for providing you lodging or alternate lodging.

Guaranteed Reservation means they will hold your room for you until next day check out time. You will be required to give a credit card number. If you fail to show up you will be charged one night room and tax as a Guaranteed No-Show. If you guarantee a room for four or six or seven nights or whatever and leave a credit card, being a No-Show you will only be charged one night of room + tax. If you have a Guaranteed Reservation and the hotel is oversold, which is frequently SOP, the hotel is obligated to pay for you a room elsewhere for one night and most often provide transportation for you to that facility. That is called walking a guest.
 
2022-12-03 4:18:47 AM  

jtown: How does a 25 year old not know about international cellular billing in 2022?  She's not some dumb kid.  She's got enough savings to quit her job and hang out in New Zealand for a year and she (I assume) managed to convince New Zealand to give her a visa for that.  NZ's pretty strict about who they let hang out for that long.  I'd expect someone capable of doing this kind of vacation would be pretty savvy but here we are.

I can understand why neither the booking company or the hotel are offering to help her with the phone bill.  That's on her.


Well, I don't know how Singaporean phone plans work, but at least with most US carriers, you can get an international phone/data/SMS plan if you plan on traveling. It typically runs about $100/month, but well worth it.

A lot of people internationally, particularly in Asia and Europe, tend to prefer to make calls from Viber, Whatsapp, Wechat, Zalo, etc.  This works well if you have wifi, not so well in all areas if you just have 4G.

Not sure where things went wrong here.
 
2022-12-03 6:47:29 AM  

khatores: jtown: How does a 25 year old not know about international cellular billing in 2022?  She's not some dumb kid.  She's got enough savings to quit her job and hang out in New Zealand for a year and she (I assume) managed to convince New Zealand to give her a visa for that.  NZ's pretty strict about who they let hang out for that long.  I'd expect someone capable of doing this kind of vacation would be pretty savvy but here we are.

I can understand why neither the booking company or the hotel are offering to help her with the phone bill.  That's on her.

Well, I don't know how Singaporean phone plans work, but at least with most US carriers, you can get an international phone/data/SMS plan if you plan on traveling. It typically runs about $100/month, but well worth it.

A lot of people internationally, particularly in Asia and Europe, tend to prefer to make calls from Viber, Whatsapp, Wechat, Zalo, etc.  This works well if you have wifi, not so well in all areas if you just have 4G.

Not sure where things went wrong here.


$100/mo?  You're either constantly on (non-WiFi) voice calls, or you're getting ripped off.  On Google Fi I pay 20 cents per minute for voice calls, texts are free, and data costs the same as domestic.  No special monthly fee for international service.
 
2022-12-03 6:53:01 AM  

Jairzinho: For international trips and if you are not planning to use a local wireless provider:
As soon as your plane starts taxiing for departure, set Airplane mode -> ON, Wi-fi -> ON, and KEEP IT THAT WAY until landing on you return flight back home.


Or just make sure you have a carrier/plan with reasonable international roaming terms.
 
2022-12-03 7:35:44 AM  
588 Dollary doos!?!?!??
 
2022-12-03 8:22:29 AM  
Roaming charges, is this 1995?
 
2022-12-03 1:18:46 PM  
I agree on poor planning for an international trip, that said i wish there was more info on the screw up that lead to the pricey phone charges.   did the person goof or was it booking.com?
 
2022-12-03 3:11:10 PM  

Katwang: Roaming charges, is this 1995?


International roaming charges are absolutely ridiculous because in most places there are no constraints on how deeply the telephone network providers are allowed to fark you over.  The people that have to pay those chargers are just a bunch of foreigners anyway, and vov the business traveler can expense it to his company. Whatya gonna do about it?

Iirc Verizon international data roaming plan is an extra $10 for every 20 megabytes iirc.

/don't watch Netflix on your phone from a cruiseship
//it was a big deal when the EU basically ruled it discriminatory and prohibited them from charging more for it
//another fun side effect of brexit is that EU cellphone companies can now allowed to jack up the rates for UK tourists again since free roaming only applies to EU member countries
 
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