When Sir David North booked his flight from Miami to Milan and Bologna, Italy, through the online agency Orbitz, he didn't anticipate any problems making a change if necessary. After all, he was flying business class and understood the itinerary could be altered, albeit at a price.

Before he departed, though, he learned he also had to go to Greece while in Europe. That's when the problems began.

North couldn't make the change online. So he called the agency's customer service. After spending 10 or 15 minutes "trying to actually talk to a real, living person," he learned it would cost him more to reroute to Greece than he had already paid for the trans-Atlantic flight to Italy. Not a good option.

He called a Miami travel agency he had worked with before and was able to work out the change. He believes that without the agent's help, he never would have gotten this done.

Orbitz, which brags about its customer service ratings, says North's experience was unusual.

Get the full story at St. Paul Pioneer Press