The cause of consumer advocacy certainly kept our advocates busy in 2016. And it kept you talking.
For your information — and perhaps amusement — we’ve compiled the comments of the year. Special thanks to Tony Hue at Disqus for helping us compile these statistics on our comment section.
The stories that received the highest number of comments were:
1) The Taurus is a total loss — should he pay $22,000? (Christopher Elliott, February 25, 189 total comments)
2) An honest mistake keeps my sister from flying United (Diane Perera, October 26, 130 total comments)
3) Let’s ban emotional-support animals from the skies (Christopher Elliott, October 11, 128 total comments)
4) Angry waiters to consumer advocate: “You should be ashamed of yourself!” (Christopher Elliott, June 8, 103 total comments)
5) “You are not flying today” (Jessica Monsell, May 12, 103 total comments)
6) I was injured and berated by a flight attendant. Now I’m being ignored. (Michelle Bell, November 29, 100 total comments)
7) Heart attack scuttles cruise on Royal Caribbean – refund, please? (Paul Motter, September 28, 95 total comments)
8) After “routine” TSA screening, one passenger says: never again! (Christopher Elliott, May 29, 94 total comments)
9) They took our airline seats away, then our money – and pointed their fingers (Jennifer Finger, October 29, 92 total comments)
10) Amazon gives customer silent treatment after closing his account — and us, too (Jessica Monsell, February 7, 92 total comments)
These are the most upvoted comments for 2016 that pass muster according to our comment policy.
As I noted yesterday, several of our most upvoted comments violated our commenting rules. Those comments are not included in this list. (Friendly reminder: Commenting on our stories is a revocable privilege, not a right. It’s no coincidence that the comments section for this post is closed.)
1) Should we help a passenger who was bumped from a flight after boarding?
Throwing someone off a plane that has already boarded because they gave the seat to someone else? Then waste a day of his life hanging around an airport? This is exactly the sort of appalling case that you should be pursuing and publicizing. Not all the “I bought a nonrefundable ticket and now want a refund” cases that keep popping up.
(disqus_00YDCZxqDV, July 14, 40 upvotes, on Ejected from my seat on Air Canada, Jennifer Finger)
2) What should crew members do with a passenger who tells them that he can’t control his behavior?
If someone communicates that they “can’t be responsible for their own behavior,” then I think they reacted appropriately. If he is already showing signs of panicking, it sounds like they made the right choice. If he had a private conversation with them and the flight attendants removed him, that would be different, but putting the rest of the plane on edge is the wrong way to approach it.
(spoonerstreet, September 1, 35 upvotes, JetBlue passenger removed from flight after medical overshare with flight crew, Jessica Monsell)
3) When your kid uses your credit card without your permission
I had a woman whose kid bought $200 worth of stuff from an internet business I used to run . . . and she told me that her kid was not authorized to use her card, she was going to dispute the charge.
I said fine. What’s your kids name? He lives at the address I shipped it to?
Why, yes, why?
Well, when I get the chargeback I’m going to call your local police department and file a criminal complaint for theft. Since he used an instrumentality of commerce, such as the internet and postal service, we have wire fraud and mail fraud. Did your son receive the items?
Wait, wait, I don’t want him arrested.
Then how do you want him to pay for the items, return the ones he cannot pay for and pay to ship them back?
Mom cooled off pretty fast- and Mr. Elliott – THAT is the reason why you can’t simply charge back every item you buy that you are not physically present to purchase. . .
It does give you an extra bit of leverage though when dealing with airlines and hotels — but — do you REALLY want to get blackballed from every airline and every hotel chain?
(Joe Farrell, April 8, 34 upvotes, Here’s a secret rule about credit card disputes you need to know, Christopher Elliott)
4) If you don’t give a business a chance to help you, we won’t be able to.
It isn’t just you or the business that can’t help this woman. I don’t think anyone can help, except maybe a psychiatrist. And, of course, that would mean she would need to admit she has a problem (that isn’t caused by anyone other than herself).
(Rebecca, December 16, 28 upvotes, “I wasted my time again!”, Christopher Elliott)
5) What travel “insiders” think of cruisers who don’t buy travel insurance
Who are these people that spend $12k on a cruise (and that’s just the cruise – it isn’t like they won’t spend more while they’re actually there) and don’t buy insurance? I’m not even addressing the fact that this woman is 80. What if she has a medical emergency?
In terms of a terrorist threat, you’re much more likely to die or be seriously injured in an accident before or on your way to the airport. I don’t understand why people think being melodramatic and stretching the truth is going to win them support. “They lied.” No, they didn’t. You’re saying that to trump up sympathy for a refund.
(Rebecca, April 15, 27 upvotes, “Viking has told us one lie after another”, Christopher Elliott)
6) Isn’t motherhood supposed to be as “American” as apple pie?
I think AA should educate their employees better, but that means training on the relevant rules and regulations (and general customer-service skills), not nebulous (and unlikely to be effective) “sensitivity training.”
And yes, the employee should have contacted a supervisor when asked, and taken the answer with a bit more grace. And this person is indeed probably unsuited for a customer-facing role (though maybe she’d fit right in over at Spirit!)
(sirwired, September 6, 26 upvotes, Ridiculed by American Airlines flight crew, passengers for traveling with a breast pump, Jessica Monsell)
7) More lack of sympathy for uninsured cruisers
After reading all of these, I wonder why people continue to buy $8000 vacations and not spend a couple hundred to insure it and then get mad at the cruise line when stuff happens. The right thing is for the couple to have bought the insurance, without it – the penalty is completely fair.
(Caroline Trude-Rede, March 23, 26 upvotes, After a near-death experience, should Viking refund his cruise?, Christopher Elliott)
8) Why not file a travel insurance claim when you have a valid case?
Wait, what? She bought travel insurance, will get her money back through said travel insurance, but just doesn’t want to file a claim? I’m dumbfounded.
(Rebecca, July 10, 26 upvotes, “A medical certificate does not qualify for a refund” on Emirates, Jennifer Finger)
9) Get to the airport early — especially on a holiday!
Arrived at airport (not completed check in & bag drop) on Christmas Eve with less than an hour before boarding? Foolish does not begin to describe. Unbelievable that Delta did not stick to their guns!
(Kathi C, April 23, 25 upvotes, Merry Christmas from Delta: you’re not getting on that flight!, Jennifer Finger)
10) And keep yourself out of the aisle while in your airplane seat.
Sorry I really don’t see a case here. He feel [sic] asleep with his knee in the aisle. His knee was bumped / hit by a beverage cart. Unless he’d never flown before, he knew or should have known that they would bring a beverage cart down the aisle.
Did he deserve a “sorry”? Absolutely. Does he deserve $10,000? No. Do I think that the attitude he showed in the letter probably contributed to AA/USAir in ignoring him? Probably.
(John Baker, November 29, 24 upvotes, I was injured and berated by a flight attendant. Now I’m being ignored., Michelle Bell)
All comments on this list appeared on the dates of story publication.
We thank our loyal readers for their comments, feedback, encouragement and ongoing support of our fight for consumer rights.