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Yesterday I ran into a snag trying to set up a travel package with a specific, slightly unusual requirement: my destination is nowhere near an airport. I asked a question on here about how to set it up properly, and I was careful to do everything right as far as I know.

On StackOverflow, to ask a good question that won't be downvoted and closed, you're supposed to explain what your actual goal is, what effort you've already put into solving it, and why that didn't work. So that's exactly what I did here.

Actual goal: book a package where the hotel is in a specific location that's nowhere near the nearest airport.

What I tried and why it didn't work:

  • tried changing the destination on the hotels page. This gave me an error telling me it couldn't find any flights to that location.
  • tried calling customer service. The front-line support lady seemed incapable of understanding the issue. Five different times, I explained the issue, and five different times she tried to give me different techniques to search for hotels near the airport I was flying into, despite me explaining over and over again that that was the exact thing I was trying to specifically not do.
  • tried asking to be escalated. Got passive-aggressively put on hold and left there until I went away, an hour later.

After asking what should have been a perfect question, it was greeted with hostility here, with a bunch of comments accusing me of "ranting" for explaining the problem in detail, and then a bunch of downvotes and close votes, and the only answer I got was someone gaslighting me and claiming that the problem I was having does not exist and it works just fine!

I kind of figured that, being a StackExchange site, the basic procedure for asking a good question would be the same as on SO. Apparently that isn't the case here, so what's the right way to ask a question like that on this site?

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  • As someone who had never heard of, let alone used, Orbitz, your question was kind of long and hard to read. It didn’t engage me enough to motivate me to try to find an answer. It also included quite a lot of emotive wording. You’ve presented the question much more clearly here, setting out the goal and using bullet points. Other users often employ the ‘TL;DR’ (‘too long; didn’t read’) approach to summarise what they want to know at the start or end of their post. – Traveller Aug 4 '19 at 9:46
  • @Traveller Maybe it's different in the UK; I don't know as I've never been there. But in the US at least, they're basically the default travel site. If you want to search the Web, you go to Google. If you want to look up general knowledge, you go to Wikipedia. If you want to book travel arrangements, you go to Orbitz. – Mason Wheeler Aug 4 '19 at 9:54
  • I guess it’s just one of many travel fare aggregator websites, in the UK we’re probably more familiar with Expedia, Kayak, TravelSupermarket etc. Perhaps that was also a contributing factor to the responses you received, given that TSE isn’t US-centric :-) – Traveller Aug 4 '19 at 10:10
  • Maybe. Of those three, the only one I've even heard of is Expedia. – Mason Wheeler Aug 4 '19 at 10:11
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    I suspect "The front-line support person turned out to be some sort of idiot who simply could not get it through her head", and "This is ridiculously frustrating" don't help. Try to take the emotion out of your question, give the facts, state the problem, ask the question. – Midavalo Aug 4 '19 at 16:03
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    As someone who has searched and booked a fair bit of travel in the US (I used to do it for my boss, who travels a lot), I can honestly say, while I've heard of Orbitz, I've never used it. I wouldn't suggest they're the default travel site - Expedia, Kayak, Google (amongst a handful of others) are the ones I hear people recommend far more often. – Midavalo Aug 4 '19 at 16:06

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