A Terrible Experience with Airbnb During Omicron

In late November 2021 we booked a trip to Los Angeles for a week in January and paid $3,100 for a stay in a condo in Marina del Rey. In late December, omicron appeared and we realized that we could not risk traveling, especially with a two-year-old.

We contacted the host a few days before the date that we would not be able to get a refund of half of the amount. We asked to rebook in the spring but could not do it online because the calendar did not go out far enough. We contacted our host, asking her to do this and stating that we could not travel at this time. We never heard from her and so we contacted customer service.

They promised that they ‘had our backs’ but did nothing except run out the time until we were past the deadline. The host contacted us once to say that she heard from Airbnb but thought we were another booking so didn’t answer. Then after we were due to have arrived, she contacted us and said that she was not going to give us a refund, a credit, or rebook. Customer service kept promising help but never delivered anything but hours on hold listening to the same piece of horrible music over and over.

As it turned out, one of our party got COVID during the time we would have been in LA but this doesn’t seem to be enough to trigger a refund. When I called to ask about what kind of proof they needed of this COVID case, I got put on hold for 40 minutes. I finally sent a message asking to be called back and hung up.

We never were able to ascertain what responsibility to answer inquiries the host needed to fulfill and in what time frame. We got inconsistent and inaccurate answers from customer service (referred to in the future as customer disservice). Between us we spent literal hours on hold. All in all, an appalling display of purposeful incompetence, lack of ethics and callous behavior far below any other travel entity we have dealt with during COVID. We will never use Airbnb again.

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