2003

Slaves and convicts

by Charlie Leocha on December 21, 2003

The Boston Globe recently published an editorial about the Knee Defender, a small device that prevents the seatback in from of you from reclining. The following day, the editorial found its way into the International Herald Tribune.

What happens when an airline misplaces your check-in bag and you can’t make a claim – because of language barriers, distance, or because the receipts for the clothes you bought are halfway around the world? That’s the problem of one British Airways passenger who is out $178.18 for clothes. The airline won’t respond to her repeated requests for help. What to do?

Guy travel tips

by Terry Riley on December 7, 2003

Seven habits that I’ve learned from my own misadventures to help other men travel smarter, travel safer, and travel with more confidence.

Burned by Hotwire

by Christopher Elliott on December 7, 2003

Don’t worry, a customer is told by Hotwire when she types in the wrong date for an airline ticket. Your reservation never went through. But no – it turns out it did get processed. And now she’s out of luck. Or is she? Are tickets booked on Hotwire really that inflexible? Get the surprising answer, and find out if this story has a happy ending.

He uses his American Express points to rent a car in France. A Budget representative tells him his voucher is good in Europe, but when he arrives – surprise! – it isn’t. Now he wants a refund on the points he couldn’t use. Is this a case for the Travel Troubleshooter?

Priceline gets an upgrade

by Charlie Leocha on November 23, 2003

Priceline is changing. This is a big change. No, they are not returning to the days of bidding for groceries and gasoline. They are improving their airline section and expanding from simply “name your own price” to providing the option to purchase from the airlines directly, more hotels and a new “weekender” alternative.

One helluva honeymoon

by Christopher Elliott on November 23, 2003

On their outbound flight for their honeymoon, a rude American Airlines gate agent denies his new wife boarding. The reason? She took the wrong birth certificate along. Now their hard-earned vacation is ruined. But whose fault is it that she didn’t know better? The airline’s? Her travel agent’s? The U.S. government’s? Time to call in the troubleshooter to sort it all out.

He upgrades to Envoy class using hard-earned frequent flier miles. But wait, what’s this? A surprise fee for the privilege of sitting in the front of the cabin? US Airways insists it’s not to blame for the extra charge. So why didn’t it tell him about the tax? Find out.

Where’s the kid Repellent?

by Terry Riley on November 3, 2003

SkyMall is testament to simple consumerism—so many impractical products, all available for purchase in one place. But what about kid repellent?

Old time magic

by Charlie Leocha on November 3, 2003

My normal readers may think I’ve gone a bit soft. This column is about overnight kits in business and first class sections of airlines. Yes, the little bag of goodies that most business and first class passengers find in their seat-back pockets or have distributed just before flight time.