2003

Bad tickets on Amex

by Christopher Elliott on November 3, 2003

A reader tries to book an airline ticket for his son to fly home for Thanksgiving on the American Express Travel Web site. But after hitting the “purchase” icon, the site returns an error. When he pages back to finish the reservation, the site has changed the name on the ticket. Now the airline wants $100 to fix it. Who should pay the penalty?

After his group is bumped from an American Airlines flight, he’s offered a refund on the unused flight segments. But now the airline refuses to pay him. Is the airline just trying to save a few more bucks – or did this customer misunderstand a ticket agent’s promise? Only one way to find out: Call in a professional.

Cheap Charlie spends his nights in youth hostels, campsites and one-star hotels when on the road, right? Doesn’t this champion of the cheap masses yearning to travel inexpensively regularly dine at unassuming cafeterias and small, low-cost Mom-and-Pop hole-in-the-walls?

Disney disaster

by Christopher Elliott on October 13, 2003

A theme park ride accident leaves a visitor in pain and ruins the rest of her vacation, she says. But should Disney offer her a refund? It would be nice, but the Mouse isn’t even returning her phone calls at the moment. In fact, it’s been stonewalling her for the better part of a year. Is it time to call in a professional?

Fly a hero home

by Charlie Leocha on October 10, 2003

You can donate miles to help troops returning from Iraq on leave fly home. Alaska, Delta, Southwest, United and Pan Am have all joined Operation Hero Miles to allow their frequent flier program members donate miles to be used by soldiers.

No photos, please

by Christopher Elliott on October 10, 2003

A Delta Air Lines employee stops a passenger from taking photos of a gate, claiming it’s a “security area” and referring to a secret TSA directive that forbids cameras. Huh? After the traveler fails to get a straight answer from the TSA, he turns to the travel troubleshooter for help. Is there really a rule against using your camera at the airport? Find out.

She finds a bargain fare on United Airlines for her stepmother. But wait – that’s not her stepmother’s real name, but her nickname she just typed in. Can’t the airline just fix the mistake? Sure, as long as she’s willing to drive to the airport and give it another $100. What’s going on here? Sounds like a case for the troubleshooter.

Where’s my waiter?

by Terry Riley on October 1, 2003

Is there a conspiracy among service providers to withhold service from you?

Bravo, jetBlue

by Charlie Leocha on September 29, 2003

The JetBlue privacy violation is a perfect example of the media getting excited about the wrong thing. The only violation that was committed by JetBlue was a possible violation of their own privacy statement which notes, “The financial and personal information collected on this site is not shared with any third parties, and is protected by secure servers.”

ATA’s mileage mishap

by Christopher Elliott on September 29, 2003

When his hard-earned mileage voucher never shows up in his mailbox, a despondent traveler asks ATA to reissue the ticket. No can do, says the carrier, and asks him to recheck his mail. Can’t the airline just print another voucher? After a frustrating exchange of e-mails with the airline, the frequent flier asks the Travel Troubleshooter to investigate.