Let’s bring back a little compassion to travel

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By | October 29th, 2014

I don’t know how we lost it. But if there was one thing I could fix about the travel industry, it would be to bring back the compassion that once defined it.

Compassion – real compassion — doesn’t mean giving away the store. It doesn’t even mean the customer is “always” right.

Compassion means putting yourself in the customers’ position, regardless how much they paid for their ticket or the color of their loyalty card.

I’ve been writing about airlines, car rental companies, cruises and hotels for most of my career. In the early ‘90s, even after a recession and airline deregulation, the travel industry as a whole still seemed to care about customers. Complaints were rare, and I struggled to find cases to write about.

Oh, how times have changed. Today, new complaints land in my inbox every minute. They come from everywhere: parents and grandparents, widows and orphans, disabled vets and single moms on fixed incomes. Many are on a tight budget. They’re all looking for just a little compassion as they try to reach their weddings, funerals or vacations.

The customer service scores reflect that trend. The only travelers who seem to like the system today are the elite-level customers, the top spenders who are lavished with perks.

Some might blame the shift on the computer algorithms, often referred to as yield management systems, that separate the very best customers from the rest. There’s nothing wrong with that.


But travel companies removed the basic necessities from the “unimportant” customers and then tried to sell them back to them as options. And when consumers had the gall to complain, they got a “you-get-what-you-pay-for” response.

Related story:   Seeing both sides of St. Lucia

I think we lost something then. Something important.

Perhaps it was the new ways they were training customer service agents. When I started covering travel, outsourcing a call center was considered experimental. Now, most service calls are recorded and scripted by agents thousands of miles away who may not speak English as a first language.

How can those agents be compassionate if they don’t know what’s being said? Or if they can’t understand the customer?

Even in a face-to-face interaction, the compassion has been drained away by restrictive policies. Airline, car rental, and hotel block their agents — sometimes literally — from doing something compassionate, like zeroing out a fee or offering a voucher to a needy traveler.

There are exceptions, of course. There will always be exceptions. But there are not enough of them.

It would be too easy, too simplistic, to merely point the finger at management. Yes, in a lot of cases management just over-maximized revenues in an effort to increase shareholder value, to the point where they completely forgot the fact that they are in the hospitality industry.

But I think something else is going on. On the one hand, I believe many travel companies have trained their employees to stop thinking of their customers as people. And on the other, we, their customers, have stopped expecting them to treat us like people, and oftentimes we’ve even stopped acting



  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Alas, it so simple

    Customers want Walmart prices. Shop at Walmart, get Walmart service.
    Shop at Macy’s or Nordstrom’s, pay more, get more.

    I wish more people were willing to choose mid-priced options.

  • PsyGuy

    Putting aside the fact that I LOVE debundling since I get to pay less for services I never valued anyway.

    There’s a term for that it’s called concierge travel. They tried it at the middle range of service and cost and invariably you get the “olive garden” effect, over marketed but inferior quality goods and services, that are sellable at the inflated price point because the entry to the next higher tier of service and product is VERY cost prohibitive. There is no continuum, it’s discreet categories of product and service that are proximal to each other but with such distance between them that their characteristics share no congruency. What you get is the option of eating at home for a few buck to a bowel of pasta and jar’d sauce, spending $20/per for olive garden for chicken/shrimp linguini alfredo, or spent close to a $100 and a whole lot more for some celebrity chef inspired dish of seafood puttanesca with burgundy marinara reduction. It is the same with travel.
    The differences between first class and economy are so great neither consumer can even see business class supposedly in between them. It is the same with cruise cabins, hotels (you can stay at the local motel, the mass market chain, or the 4S property). All of this wrapped in the illusion of “value, comfort, luxury” where the real difference between that economy cloth covered narrow seat and the “leather” slightly wider and more pitch seats differ only in so much the “costs” of those materials and design elements compared to the price are just as far from each other as the examples above.

    I was told at one time that diamonds were the most carefully graded commodity and substance in the world, no other material resulted in such great differences of value over such small physical variances, I believe that’s true, but travel comes a close second.

  • Kairi

    That’s the problem. You get your choice of expensive or really expensive. Not much choice.

  • Kairi

    I think it’s less about compassion and more about CYA. If you have compassion for Joe, why don’t you have compassion for me? He’s white/black/male/female/fill in the blank and I’m not. If you treat everyone the same – the lowest common denominator, then I have no reason to fear discrimination claims.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    I must disagree….before the deregulation of the airlines, airline travel was for the rich and business travelers….look at the numbers of passengers before and after deregulation…more importantly, the percentage of the population that traveled by air.

    My uncle and aunt used to go to Las Vegas once a year via Amtrak from Chicago. After deregulation, they started to go to Las Vegas twice a year via Southwest Airlines.

    When I was in school (from elementary to college), most of my friends traveled by car for their vacations, spring breaks, etc. Most of my son’s classmates traveled by air for their vacations, spring breaks, etc.

    I took my first flight when I was 23 and international flight (a business trip to Mexico) at 25. My son was 3 months when he took his first flight and 16 months when he took his first international flight (which was to Europe and Asia).

    Airline travel was an experience before deregulation…now it is an everyday occurrence.

  • I’m waiting for one of my contrarian commenters to come in here and argue that lack of compassion is a good thing. We are getting close to having a heartless, fully commoditized travel industry. It’s time to draw the line.

  • Blackadar

    You want compassion brought back to travel and yet you’re giving away Knee Defenders, a device that promotes conflict and not compassion.

    You lost your moral high ground Chris. So an article like this may say something profound, but it is easily dismissed because it’s from someone who not only advocates conflict and selfishness but is actively trying to create it.

  • TonyA_says

    Really? You are asking the people who don’t give a rat’s ass about the plight of Palestinians to have compassion or empathy towards travelers? My goodness there’s no knee defender or app for that.

  • PsyGuy

    Don’t confuse “easy” with “good”….

  • You are twisting my words.

    I am proud of my friendship with Ira Goldman, the Knee Defender’s inventor. I was the first journalist to cover the KD’s introduction in 2003. In yesterday’s giveaway, I advocated that the device be used responsibly and collaboratively to limit the lean on a seat, not to lock a seat in place.

    You’re not reading carefully. Go back, re-read the story, and then tell me if I’ve “lost” my moral high ground.

  • TonyA_says

    Some of us do not believe it is responsible or compassionate to use that device.

  • TonyA_says

    So it’s really common sense, rather than compassion that’s missing.

  • John Baker

    I think compassion left when two things occurred. First, people abused it constantly. I know people who abused the “flat tire rule” all the time. Buy the cheaper fare and then have a “flat tire” to fly when you wanted. I also know people who got Dr’s notes all the time. When you abused it, the program goes away (see Disney’s line policy). The second thing was the addition of trip insurance into the travel sales process. Now a purchaser has to make an affirmative decision to accept or decline the insurance and the coverage it provides. I can understand why a business would decline to pass along the benefits of a product that the consumer opted not to buy.

  • Alan Gore

    I wish travel had more choices in ‘mid-priced options’. Why does getting a little more flexibility require an exorbitant class upgrade? And why is there a steady tendency in the industry to remove choices that were once available? Exhibit A: the rise of the non-changeable hotel reservation.

  • DChamp56

    And there he posts Chris *laughing*

  • Kairho

    Compassion is a two way street. Fueling the problem are the many customers who are not honest with their problem and try to game the system. How many flat tires? How many grandfathers can one person lose? (Great example yesterday about that guy who double booked, with different itineraries no less, and expected a refund.)

    You will see greater compassion when customers bring more wheat and less chaff to the table.

  • Alan Gore

    I love it when a hidden agenda suddenly and unexpectedly gets revealed…

  • Michael__K

    I don’t think compassion and low-end budget service are necessarily at odds.

    In fact, I believe that Walmart is more compassionate than many mid-priced travel vendors.

    If I need to do a return or exchange, I may have to wait in a longer line than at some other stores, but they will take most items back within 90 days, even if I tried to use it. And they will help me even if I lost the receipt.

    They haven’t tried to take advantage of me with harsh, one-sided transaction terms buried in fine print.

  • injera

    I think part of the problem is that too many customers try to use a ‘sob story’ to get an airline to bend the rules for them.

    We (hopefully) would all agree that if a passenger is in a car accident on their way to the airport that an airline would allow complimentary standby on the next flight. What I wonder is, how many people who use that excuse were actually in an accident as opposed to are just making something up because “i overslept” doesn’t elicit any sympathy.

    Is it the ‘boy who cries wolf’ effect? So many passengers bending the truth to get their way that customer service reps are now forced to be rigid and inflexible?

  • injera

    THIS

    When i first started traveling for work I had a colleague who would check into a hotel and immediately mess up the room. He would then call the front desk complaining that his room hadn’t been properly cleaned, demanding a new room and usually pocketing a voucher for a future stay or a few thousand rewards points for his troubles.

    One hotel in Indiana eventually caught on to his game and pre-inspected his room prior to check in. When he complained, they called him out and he is now banned from said hotel.

    A unique example for sure but i’m sure there are plenty of others out there who gladly make stuff up for their benefit and hotels/airlines are forced to change their policies to protect themselves.

  • TonyA_says

    I’m an atheist :-)

  • Raven_Altosk

    Sob stories have become the norm. Get your sob story on FB, Twitter, and it might get picked up as a news story…like the Di$ney GAC to DAS…

    My wife used to be a Di$ney Castmember back in the day. She worked in Guest Services and occasionally someone with a disability (or kid with a disability) would come in and ask for a little extra assistance.

    Prior to last year, when the news picked up a (likely leaked from the mouse story) about the “rental of disabled persons to skip lines,” the abuse of this system was rampant. While my wife is long gone from the mouse, she still keeps in touch and learned just how bad it had become.

    My wife said they used to issue maybe 10 GACs a week. According to her friends, they were doing 10 or more an HOUR. Some of it was legit, but a lot of it was not. “Oh, my kid is ADHD and can’t wait.”

    Uh, really?

    Anyway, word got around about the GAC and how to request it. BTW, the magic words were, “I need a less busy, less crowded place to wait.” Everyone and anyone was getting a GAC and since Di$ney could not ask for proof of a disability or quantify what qualifies for one or not…if you said the magic words, you got one.

    The “place to wait” was often the FastPass line, so entire parties were walking on the busiest attractions in the park, riding them multiple times, all while the stand-bys were waiting. The worst part is that many people felt entitled with these passes. There were instances of people running up to Cast Members demanding front of the fast pass line access because “they don’t wait!”

    (Google “Autism Hippie” for the worst of the worst of the worst of these nuts)

    So, Di$ney got smart and said, “Sure, we’ll give you a pass but you will get a return time instead of just cutting everyone.”

    And the masses were not happy.

    But tough crap.
    People abused a system that was meant to help a small group and now it has changed. Now they complain that it has changed, but it is the fault of the people who got this pass for their ADHD (really?) kids and their kids with runny noses and every other pseudo-condition out there.

  • TonyA_says

    Why do you call that compassion? Would you buy anything from Walmart (an extension of China) if you can’t return their stuff?
    It has more to do with consumer rights; and we don’t have much of that when it comes to air travel. It is because we lack rights that we have to depend on compassion. We are like serfs. We need (should demand for) more rights not compassion.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    @elliottc:disqus, the Internet wasn’t as widely accepted or used in the early 90’s. Two things immediately come to mind: 1) How the heck did people contact you before “free” email? Right – they had to actually sit down and write on paper, address and envelope and mail it. Or call you, long distance, from their land-lines. Many, many people just don’t want to go to all that trouble about things that aren’t all that important in the long run. 2) You’ve run 2 stories in the past 7 days about do-it-yourselfers on the Internet – and failed to accomplish what they wanted to do. Despite the complaints about incompetent travel agents that pop up on this site, humans interacted with other humans and although problems occurred, again, see point #1.

    I’d add that since the early 90’s, society as a whole seems to be a lot whinier about the little things and more entitled. (Yep, said it.) I’d go on and specify, and may do so later on when I have more time today, but right now, I have to go out and yell at those kids to get off of my lawn. :)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    My older son has extreme ADHD. He was born in 1979, so wasn’t part of the ADHD fad diagnoses. We went with him once to Di$ney World in his tween years. We waited in line, just like the others. I would have never dreamt of asking for special treatment for him. Different times, I guess.

    (Special treatment should be given for those who genuinely need it, and no disrespect is intended to those parents who have such children.)

  • TonyA_says

    You mean the guy runs a Free Refund and Reimbursement collection agency :-)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Not enough caffeine – not getting the reference/point.

  • psblin99

    Sometimes it is hard to move ahead. I now realize if I fly the cost of the ticket is not what I see but the total price that includes what I must have. More legroom, maybe a meal, maybe 2 bags instead of one. I have tried to travel with less (Wal-Mart price and service) but it is not enough for me. If I go to a theme park my total price includes the fast pass so I dont have to wait in extra long lines.

    I guess this is called alacarte. My problem is the total price still seems higher than it should be. Guess I need to move ahead!

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    That comes across as baiting. Was that what you intended?

    I don’t think people as a whole are less compassionate; there are too many great, feel good stories that show up in the media every once in a while. Maybe you should explore why it is the travel industry has moved to its less-compassionate, more-restrictive positions. You brought up the move to overseas call centers to maximize profit – why was that necessary? Why have policies evolved in general to be more restrictive? These things don’t exist in a vacuum.

    Two phrases for you to ponder: “Endless bananas” and “Thanks for nothing!” Have expectations changed on the part of the traveling public? Might that feed into what you’re talking about today?

  • John Baker

    THANK YOU!!! My wife is an Intervention Specialist (that’s Special Ed teacher to us un-PC folk) and works with the most severe kids in her district. Her biggest thing is that her students have to learn how to survive in society. Even her most severe students she believes have to learn to wait. I love hearing parents that also believe the same thing

  • TonyA_says

    You ought to try the Illy Medium Roast Bean (Red band) and grind it (not to fine) for drip coffee. It has enough caffeine to give you a dose of sarcasm for the whole day.

    While there are some real victims who come here for help, there are a lot of others who make mistakes, blame others, and want some money back. So they use CE as some kind of money collection agency.

  • Don Spilky

    Tell me please, exactly who are “those people” who don’t give a rat’s ass about the plight of Palestinians? Good to know that racism is alive and well on this blog too.

  • Don Spilky

    Perhaps, but your comments reveal that you are most certainly a racist as well.

  • TonyA_says

    +1 My wife is assigned those kids, too, in school. I guess I trained her well :-)

  • TonyA_says

    And what race am I railing against?
    You need to look at the mirror, Don Spilky.

  • Helio

    Not forgetting its use is prohibited for most (if not all) USA airlines.

  • Don Spilky

    so please answer the question I posed.. who are ” the people” you so broadly paint with the brush? Mirror? My comments are directed only towards you – not an entire group of people as yours are.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Okay, got it. I stick with Diet Coke – too much sarcasm in my off-line life as it is. :)

  • injera

    can we get his thread flagged/removed? there are plenty of places where you can discuss Israel & Palestine – why here?

  • Michael__K

    There is no “consumer right” to return an item after 85 days without a receipt. It’s a compassionate policy.

    I agree that if we had more consumer rights than we wouldn’t need to rely on compassion or compassionate policies.

  • Helio

    And of course, if someone uses it without “responsibility”, it won’t be your fault…

  • TonyA_says

    Try Costco. They have a better return policy than Walmart.
    I don’t think they are compassionate at all. They simply force their suppliers to take back their stuff.

  • Don Spilky

    I had considered asking his post to be flagged/removed too – but I think it is more important for people to see how hatred exists than to hide it away.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    And Costco is far more compassionate toward their employees. And for the most part, that’s reflected in their employees’ attitude toward their customers. I love shopping at Costco. I won’t step foot into Wal-Mart. It’s part of my ethos about how people should be treated.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    It doesn’t across to me as hatred or racist or anything like that. You could substitute any group that you think is being oppressed in for “Palestinians” and Tony’s point is the same. I just don’t think the comment belongs *here* though, since it’s not addressing the topic of travel.

  • Don Spilky

    @Jeanne_in_NE:disqus I would agree, except for the fact that I doubt the comment would have been made at all if the inventor had not had a last name typically associated with someone Jewish – hence my feelings of offense.

  • TonyA_says

    I think they are just smart business people. As shoppers we are treated better by Costco employees compared to those at Walmart. So we shop at Costco more.
    But for people using those EBTs, I bet they find Walmart more compassionate since they don’t charge a membership fee just to shop.
    Different strokes …

  • Michael__K

    Fine, use Costco as the example then. I stuck with Walmart only because that was the original example.

    Where do you find domestic travel vendors like Costco?

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    You know, I hadn’t even made the connection, since the comment wasn’t made in response to CE’s comment about Ira Goldman. I guess I thought they were two, somewhat tangentially related comments. In re-reading it, I can see where someone could make that connection, but I think it’s rather tenuous. Tony has never struck me as being as being an anti-Semite.

    Maybe the best thing is for the moderators to take down this entire thread, since the original comment is open to such interpretations.

  • TonyA_says

    Costco sells travel. Let’s see how compassionate they are :-)

  • Laura616

    So here’s some compassion for you. I am traveling to London on Nov 10th to visit my mother who has Dementia – the type where they think they are fine and everyone else is crazy. I can’t stay with her because I get driven insane. I have recently been staying with very good friends and my friend’s husband who has cancer is not doing well – the situation is not good. I have cancellation insurance but was told this person has to be hospitalized or deceased and that is a real possibility. Or, I could ask my distraught friend to ask the doctor for a letter which I will not do.

    Admittedly, I could be telling a pack of lies and I understand that. I have asked the ins co if I can use the policy on a trip booked for January and am waiting to hear. As for the airline, I need to pay change fees for the next trip.

  • Lindabator

    And people like Kairi call that “expensive” when in all reality, the airlines have lower prices now than ever before – hotels, cruises, tours have all gone the same way, because they need to be cheap to compete.

  • Lindabator

    Because those “choices” were eliminated by the shoppers looking ONLY for price. So we’ll give it to you, but with a lot of conditions.

  • TonyA_says

    This is ridiculous. People are hijacking my post.
    You don’t have to be a member of any race, religion, or sexual orientation to have no compassion to the plight of the Palestinian people.

  • Don Spilky

    The final proof is despite being asked to clarify, @TonyA_says:disqus refuses to mention what broad group of people he is referencing when he says “the people”. That silence says it all.

  • Don Spilky

    Fair enough @TonyA_says:disqus – Please do clarify what group of people you are referencing with the comment of “the people”? I’m very interested in understanding their place in this thread of Knee Defender.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    And I think the whole “experience” thing manifested itself in multiple ways. A rare experience gets treated totally differently than something you do all the time. It’s an adventure rather than a chore. Flyers back then truly did get more in terms of seat room and amenities but they were also likely slower to complain because it wasn’t an everyday occurrence.

  • TonyA_says

    Don I don’t believe I have to clarify anything.
    You need to calm down and control your cognitive bias.

  • Michael__K

    I think you have the cause and effect backwards on travel insurance. Travel insurance has been around for 30+ years. It’s only much more recently that vendors have figured out they can increase revenue by luring customers with lower sticker prices coupled with harsher, more inflexible policies that ultimately reflect an inferior value. And then they can up-sell insurance products and earn easy commissions.

    Regarding abuse. In this day and age with customer profiles and behavior tracked electronically, it should be getting easier to crack down on abuse. Fool us once, shame on you; fool us twice shame on us.

  • Don Spilky

    I fail to see where I have been anything but calm and polite in my pursuit of holding you to your statement of “the people” and looking for understanding to whom you are referencing.

    In response, I have seen an unwillingness on your part to clarify your comments. I believe your bias and bigotry is revealed to all.

    I’d be more than happy to retract my claim of racism and bigotry and ask for a thousand mea culpa if you were to clarify who are these mysterious “the people” you have broadly referenced in your comment.

  • emanon256

    After hearing you tout Costco for many years, I finally joined last weekend :)

  • jim6555

    Sometimes, both common sense and compassion are absent.

  • emanon256

    I haven’t set foot in a Walmart for 6 years now. I woudl much rather spend $0.03 more on whatever I am purchasing, and know that the employees can feed their families without government assistance. If that makes me a socialist, so be it.

  • Lindabator

    I had clients who wanted me to forward their complaints after EVERY cruise, just so they could get freebies for the next one. When I informed them I would not only NOT be so dishonest, but would inform them this was their intent, they changed agencies. (But now the line knows their BS and does NOT give them the goodies – KARMA!)

  • TonyA_says

    You are entitled to your opinion. But you are highly accusatory of a person you don’t even know – me.

    The way I read your comments, you seem to want to deny the fact that there are people who do not give a rat’s ass about the plight of the Palestinian people.

    My point is that they exist. And I doubt they also have the heart to be compassionate about other people like travelers.

  • emanon256

    The problem with the $100 celebrity chef dinner is that I leave hungry and have to go get a second dinner :) And as an Italian, I can’t eat at Olive Garden.

  • TonyA_says

    True dat.

  • Lindabator

    +1000!!!!

  • John Baker

    Michael_K all I was saying on the TI is that when it wasn’t part of the sales process, people had the “I wasn’t offered” excuse. That one is gone now. I can understand why a business that offered you insurance that would cover your situation that you declined would opt not to treat you like you purchased it.

    The person that pulled the flat tire and Dr’s note tricks never used their FF # on those bookings to make it harder to track (in those days data mining was a lot harder). Ultimately, people took advantage of the compassion the airline was showing so they quit doing it.

  • TonyA_says

    Bravo. Now you can spend more money and get rid of our stubborn recession. Costco finally gave in and sells Apple products again :-)

  • Guest

    (deleted)

  • Michael__K

    Let’s see how compassionate they are

    Judging by these Yelp reviews, not so much:
    http://www.yelp.Com/biz/costco-travel-seattle

    I don’t see how anyone can re-sell products from inflexible, un-compassionate providers at competitive prices and then package that with compassion.

  • injera

    Valid complaints that impact your experience should be reported (i’d think most companies would want to know about things that could use improvement), complaining just for the sake of free stuff is a little tacky. It’s like eating 2/3 of your meal then sending it back because it was overcooked.

    Glad more companies are keeping track of the chronic complainers.

  • Anthrochick

    I just listened to a podcast where an actor who previously worked in a restaurant brought up this point of immediacy of complaints. He worked at a time where he knew the customers were not going go home and write a letter of complaint or make a phone call to the head office the next day. Now, however, a person can immediately complain via an email or social media as the event is occurring whether it is a big or small issue. There is no cooling down period.
    I will admit, I have used this to my advantage just recently. I was in Vegas over the weekend. I made reservations at a restaurant about 2 months ago. They sat us at a table in the bar/lounge instead of the restaurant itself. After about 20 minutes with no water and a debate about whether we pay for our drink and just leave, I went back into the restaurant to see how full it was. Turned out there was plenty of space back there with waiters rather than the cocktail servers up front. I flagged down a waiter and told him we were not happy with our table. He got the manager who was a complete dbag but did move us after a lecture and a scolding from him to us (if you didn’t like your table, why didn’t you say anything??? What do you think I’m doing right now genius?) This is where the internet came into play. Based on my research prior, I knew who this manager was because he responds on Yelp. While I don’t normally check in or post reviews, I did check in this time and claimed my free shot. The level of service and attitude change from him was amazing after he thought I might post a review. I suspected this was going to be the outcome of my check in. I should not have had to manipulate him into a service level they should have all ready been providing at a place that cost us at least $125 per person.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I have a travel insurance experience to share. My in-laws were flying in from Ukraine. THAT Ukraine. On Aeroflot. Due to the war, Aeroflot cancelled the flights. While I was waiting for the refund, I called my high end credit card to review insurance options and was told “war” was not covered.

    Thankfully, the refund came through but the lesson is that travel insurance itself is no panacea. You need to go through the fine print and there is a LOT of it.

    I can only imagine that if largely EVERYONE had travel insurance, Elliott’s mailbox would be full of travel insurance complaints instead of airline complaints. The issues would just be pushed to another level and poor Elliott would be reading through 12 point font insurance terms.

    Another observation: Things were tough 30 years ago. I know people who missed their non-refundable flights and that was that. But without the internet and email, whom did they complain to?

  • emanon256

    As a pro-Israel Jew, I still have compassion for the Palestinian people and I hope many in my shoes do too. We all need to have more compassion and there are many, many millions of people all over this country suffering, and we think reduced leg room or an overnight delay is a major problem? Or that our rights are being violated by reclining seats? These are not “real” problems. Syria using chemical weapons on its own people, those are real problems. And Tony, in no way did I think your comment was racist, I assumed you were trying to say that we seriously lack compassion on a global scale.

  • Don Spilky

    I completely agree that there are many people who do not care about the plight of palestinians, about the plight of LGBT, about the plight of Tibetians in China or about a whole host of ills in this world.

    I would venture to say that there is probably something that each and every one of us do not care about.

    However to make the broad statement that because one does not care about the plight of a particular cause means they don’t “have the heart to be compassionate about other people” strains understanding.

  • TonyA_says

    Emanon, thanks.

  • Grant Ritchie

    One piece of advice… always go to Costco hungry. If you’re a pot smoker, get stoned, too. You’ll make much more responsible shopping decisions. :-)

  • emanon256

    I’ve heard of smokers who immediately smoke a cigarette in their room upon arrival and then complain that their room smells of smoke. If they hotel offers to move them, they decline, then they smoke during their whole stay and can’t be charged the cleaning fee because the hotel thinks the room smelled of smoke when they arrived. Very sad and unethical in my opinion.

  • bodega3

    Most travel insurance, unless you have cancel for any reason coverage, won’t cover your situation. The only way they would is if the ‘friend’ was traveling with you. Also, many international fares will let cancel for death or illness of you or a family member, but not for a friend.

  • Lots of flags this morning. Please stick to the topic, my friends. The moderators don’t want to start deleting comments.

  • emanon256

    My son is wild! He runs around like crazy and despite trying all of the appropriate discipline techniques, he still wants to always be moving on his own. We can’t take him to classes, or wait in lines, or go shopping for more than a few minutes. I never once though that entitled us to a fast pass. I just avoid situations in which he might disturb others or get restless himself.

  • TonyA_says

    Don, is there a reason why you are so against my example of a people who needs some compassion?
    Do I really need to mention all of the above other people to make a point?
    Geez, gimme a break.
    If you are really so concerned about the other groups then join me and posting about them. But please do not attack me because you don’t like the group I selected.

  • injera

    that being said, what does any of this have to do with the topic at hand. There are dozens of other places to debate these issues. Certainly #firstworldproblems applies to all of these travel sites but that doesnt mean issues dont exist or are valid.

  • emanon256

    Read the book White Whine. I believe @TonyA_says:disqus recommended it.

  • bodega3

    I have said it on this site many times. We all are dealing with higher cancel fees due to those who abused the policies of years past.

  • Laura616

    They did say they would pay out for a friend as I was being hosted by them.

  • bodega3

    You have lost a lot of respect due to your promotion yesterday.

  • No, I wasn’t baiting. I’m sorry if you felt that way.

  • emanon256

    I got really jaded when I was on appeals committee. Every week I had to read so many appeals, where the majority of them were “Not my fault”, and their sob stores read of entitlement. We still got a few that appeared to be legitimate reasons and they were approved. We also got a fair share of fraudulent letters of support. Sadly, the majority of people flat out lied (We were able to verify facts) are made completely bogus excuses that didn’t help their case. I became very good at detecting BS.

  • Michael__K

    people had the “I wasn’t offered” excuse

    Those offers are little more than advertisements. And even when the offered insurance wouldn’t have covered the situation, very often the vendor still won’t bend the rules.

    This is necessary to maintain or increase profit margins at the lower sticker price.

    The person that pulled the flat tire and Dr’s note tricks never used their FF # on those bookings to make it harder to track

    I think that could be addressed by requiring more personal information from any customer who asks for compassion.

  • bodega3

    Yep. After awhile you tell. It doesn’t matter economics, status or sex of the traveler. Liars abound and will take advantage of anyone. Many think that because it is a large corporation, what does it matter, they have big pockets. It is the mindset with shoplifting. We all pay the price for these people.

  • Grant Ritchie

    I poked around “Autism Hippie’s” blog, and maybe she’s starting to get it. Her son acted out at something called the Strawberry Festival, the cops handcuffed and removed him from the premises… and she THANKED them! Hallelujah, maybe there’s hope. :-)

    http://autismhippie.blogspot.com/2013/09/lockup-raw-strawberry-festival.html

  • emanon256

    Haha! My wife did buy a 45 pack of little cheeses. I think she was pretty hungry.

  • I have to be honest, I’ve lost some respect for the commenters who decided to not even read my post before firing off a personal attack.

    My reasoning is sound. The airlines are solely responsible for creating the space wars. I have little respect for anyone who will not listen to reason. I trust you are not one of those people.

  • TonyA_says

    I should stick to making jokes about Chinese Tourists

    A Chinese tourist let her three-year-old stand on a chair and urinate in a plastic bottle during a meal at Taiwan’s famous Din Tai Fung
    restaurant even though there was a toilet a short distance away.

    Read the rest here …
    www dot wantchinatimes dot com/news-subclass-cnt.aspx?cid=1103&MainCatID=&id=20141021000030

    How’s that for compassion?

  • S363

    How the bleep did the Palestinians get in here???

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Blurb on the website: “Buy the White Whine Book – Never be bored on the toilet again …”

    My kind of “reading room” fare!

  • TonyA_says

    Personal Attack???
    Just because they didn’t agree?

  • TonyA_says

    LOL. I think I should begin to ignore them because they ain’t politically correct in this blog.
    Just like CE, I don’t like personal attacks :-)

  • Grant Ritchie

    Chris,
    To quote Nick Nolte’s words to Eddie Murphy as he tore up a bar in Beverly Hills Cop… “Some of us are behind you all the way, officer.”

  • Michael__K

    Where can shoppers readily filter their search by the flexibility of the conditions?

    We can search by date, price, and certain amenities (nonstop flights, hotels with free breakfast or a swimming pool).

    We can’t easily search across providers by the refund or change terms. We have to closely study each listing one at a time to get that information.

  • TonyA_says

    Seriously though, I was googling around to see if there was a connection between this and compassion. Then I found this!

    Neuroscience Sheds Light on Why People with Asperger’s Syndrome Lack Empathy
    psychcentral dot com/lib/neuroscience-sheds-light-on-why-people-with-aspergers-syndrome-lack-empathy/00019373

    I think I need a cat scan or MRI.

  • TonyA_says

    I just packed it in my hand carry.
    I am about to buy tickets for a long flight next week.

  • bodega3

    Sorry Chris, but you are losing it. When you promote something that is illegal to use on a plane, you have crossed the line. You closed that thread after only 20 comments were made. None were that strong, so I had hoped you saw the writing on the wall with your mistake

  • TonyA_says

    Jeanne, there was never supposed to be a connection.
    My goodness, I need a gallon of coffee, today.
    Time to go to Queens. I need to visit my friends there.

  • It wasn’t a mistake. There are no laws against the KD, so it’s not “illegal.” Some airlines have forbidden them, but not all of them. I was referring to my Facebook comments. I hope I wasn’t wrong about you. I’m starting to think I might have been.

  • bodega3

    Which travel insurance company?

  • Could you please share a full list of those airlines?

  • John Baker

    That would be a case that I could see the airline showing some compassion about… They did the reasonable thing and purchased the policy but it didn’t cover that circumstance. Different from they didn’t even bother or declined to protect themselves at all.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Okay, let’s stick to reason and use a little science here, since so many rules of debate are being broken (e.g. non-sequiturs, straw-men, arguments from authority).

    Null hypothesis: the airlines are solely responsible for creating the space wars. Alternate hypothesis: airlines are *not* solely responsible for creating the space wars.

    I believe that commenters have provided you with enough reasons in the past to state that the null hypothesis is not true. Basic economic forces have a very large role in that particular data set.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Say hi to my son!

  • Seriously? If seat pitch was still at 36 inches in economy class, do you think the Knee Defender would exist? People are fighting because the seats are too close together. The airlines moved them together. (They had their reasons, no doubt.) It was their call, though.

  • Grant Ritchie

    Love it! :-)

  • MarkKelling

    So $25 to sit in the extra leg room seats is “an exorbitant class upgrade”? $100 extra for a refundable plane ticket is “an exorbitant class upgrade”? (Both are offered by Frontier for example.) Maybe to some. Not to me.

  • Grant Ritchie

    Chris,
    I think you’re forgetting… some of our commenters are recreational arguers. Engage at your own risk. If you recall, you taught me to deal with them by just saying “Thank you.”

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I want to mention again that Aeroflot was amazing about the situation and very helpful. Despite their Soviet reputation (perhaps for internal flights), their international product is great. Good food, nice seats, and very good English speaking service.

    I would add if you fly them, learn some basic Russian. If you speak Russian to the FA’s and other workers, it softens them A LOT. They even SMILE. But that’s what I do for every country I go to.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I think you have to make the specific comparisons within the same market, not across markets. The policies of Walmart tend to be more restrictive than say Nordstrom’s. All things being equal, within a given market, the higher end the vendor, the more “compassion” you receive.

    Rant:compassion is a poor, imprecise term. rant over

    Buy something from Williams Sonoma and the return policies (written and especially unwritten) will be infinitely more lenient, than if you buy the same item as Target or Walmart. I’ve returned items after a year of sitting in the garage. Try doing that at Walmart.

    Costco has incredible return policies, but again, within the warehouse store its probably the most expensive (compared to say Sam’s Club)

  • PolishKnightUSA

    Southwest deserves an economic Nobel prize for helping to keep the legacy prices low for other airlines that float ideas such as raising rates on a route or cutting services and when Southwest doesn’t budge, the other airlines are forced to go back to norm. Without Southwest, travel would be a lot more expensive.

    Southwest’s service is between Spirit and the legacies. Southwest has a free checked bag and great service and some snacks, but you don’t get a seat assignment. They are also very friendly to fly on.

  • VoR61

    This is all I could find Chris. Sources are linked, but none are from the airlines.

    http://travel(.)stackexchange(.)com/questions/35765/which-airlines-ban-the-use-of-knee-defenders-during-flight

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    One example doesn’t make a statistic, but I would refer you to the altercation that broke out in Economy Comfort when one person reclined in front of another person. I really don’t think the pitch mattered so much as the fact that people were surrounded by other people, not comfortably seated in their own living rooms.

    Speaking of statistics, would you or anyone else have a grasp of the numbers of people flying as a percentage of the population before and after de-regulation (or before and after 36″ seat pitches)? I think that goes back to @ArizonaRoadWarrior:disqus ‘s earlier comment. Airplane travel used to be a big deal, a unique experience. Now it’s mass transportation, just like the subways and buses. I think expectations are unrealistic, but I can’t prove that. I’m sure that there are doctoral theses and studies our there on that topic and I might spend a little time looking for those if I get a chance later today.

  • MarkKelling

    Fly Southwest — all the seats are “leather”. :-)

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Contrarian commenters? Hmmm.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I don’t want to look out my back window and see those “cows”!

  • emanon256

    Although the DSM-V completely removed the diagnoses of Aspergers, so it no longer exists, it’s now part of the spectrum of Autism Spectrum Disorder.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    I always get a buck fifty hot dog and soda BEFORE starting to shop. I see people buy all their frozen stuff and THEN buy hot food. What’s up with that?!?! It’s nice to have a full belly and go shopping.

    Costco has some wonderful things but keep in mind that you can’t live off the place. They deliberately have a reduced inventory to cut costs and ramp up efficiency. If you want your favorite mustard, you’ll have to go to a regular grocery store.

    Ethnic grocery stores are great to support the local economy and sometimes I find great deals there (the Korean store nearby has AMAZING produce at great prices). So my wife and I have a rolodex of about 4 stores we shop at (if not more.)

  • bodega3

    the Knee Defender is currently banned on all major US airlines.
    *****************************************
    This a from an article on this product.
    Banned, illegal, not allowed. All say the same thing…you can’t use them.

  • bodega3

    Pretty easy to find that information.

  • bodega3

    There are only 4-6 items we purchase at Costco. I wish they had a 10 items or less line! Not a fan of the store, but the items I buy are well priced at Costco. The rest I can get better pricing elsewhere and not have to buy 6 of one thing.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I’m not arguing for recreation, but I looked it up and the answers vary. Depending on how much credence you give to the HuffPo, all major US airlines do (per HuffPo’s AP source). One forum lists the airlines and has sources (some reliable, some not):
    http://travel . stackexchange . com/questions/35765/which-airlines-ban-the-use-of-knee-defenders-during-flight

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Yeah, but 6 of anything chocolate . . . :-D

  • MarkKelling

    I tried speaking Russian on a flight to Chile. Didn’t help make the FAs friendlier at all. :-)

    I understand what you mean. Learned a few French words before I flew Air France to Paris. I got the extra bottle of champagne where the rude American sitting next to me who kept talking louder in English when his question was not understood was told there was no more. Wehn people who natively speak languages other than English hear you at least attempting to speak their language are much more likely to try and help you with your request.

  • Helio

    I don’t have a list, but at several articles I had read, they stated that this device is prohibited.

    At this CNN article (edition . cnn . com/2014/08/27/travel/knee-defender-travel-gadget/) it states that it is prohibited at major US airlines, included United. It also states that KD is also prohibited at Air Canada and WestJest. WJ also has it at its website: www westjet . com/guest/en/travel/basics/baggage/carry-on.shtml (please look under Limitations)

    But I may agree with you – I couldn’t find a list or official announcements. It seems the airlines has some general policies stating that you cannot use any device that may diminish the design, function or capability of an aircraft part or component, and KD seems to fit at this policy. But I really didn’t dig at their policies to check if it is true or not.

    In other hands, I understood that you have insiders and/or friends at several airlines, something I don’t. I believe you can ask them about.

  • bodega3

    So you provided Chris with the information ‘for free’ :-)

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Amen.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    That’s only 110% true.

    :-)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Well, he’s provided me with a lot of food for thought this morning for “free”, so I thought I’d respond politely to his request to @heliomoliveira:disqus and keep the conversation on civil ground.

  • charliebgolf

    Both choices are correct, but I think I have a solution.

    In the past several years a small number of airlines have attempted to start up by attempting to run their airlines like airlines used to be run…good service, friendly employees, acceptable leg room, free soft drinks and light snacks, etc. There were two primary reasons for their failure. One was that they were small and offered very limited flight choices. Secondly they charged at least $100 more per ticket than competitors.

    My thought is for a major airline to return to those days, but charge $10 or $15 more per ticket. That money should be designated strictly to cover the costs of the items mentioned above and to use for customers who have legitimate problems and it’s the compassionate and right thing to do to help them out.

    Let’s suppose each flight averages 100 passengers. That’s $1,000 to $1,500 per flight. Most flights wouldn’t have anyone needing compassionate assistance and the cost for the other cabin enhancements would be minimal per flight.

    My guess is that the airline deciding to do this would almost immediately move up the “best” airline polls and would soon have to start adding flights to move all the new customers.

    People looking for the absolute lowest fare without regard to a quality experience, or an airline that cares, will still have plenty of choices, but people wanting a return to the days when travel was really enjoyable will flock to the airline doing this. I know I certainly would.

    Maybe that airline could also institute a dress code. After all, properly dressed flyers tend to be a bit more civil and that in turn will encourage the flight attendants to reciprocate.

    I’m sure many of the readers of this article will tell me how this would never work and I should be locked up somewhere for my crazy thoughts, but I remember how much fun flying used to be and I miss it.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    Agreed. The ethnic stores are the best

  • Helio

    At one case the pax were at Economy Plus seats.

  • Helio

    I don’t fit at subway seats…

  • TonyA_says

    Because Costco is a Travel Club on streriods. They’re big and suppliers bend over.

    Remember the days when we still had Unions and workers rights?
    Not sure why we don’t fight for more rights. I guess we want compassion /sarcasm

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    You have a huge problem with that. The number of people who want dirt cheap is far greater than people who are willing to pay more. AA learned that with more room through out coach. There is no competitive advantage to that.

    If anything, airlines could offer an upgraded option that gives you these additional amenities for a price. AA has that.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    You look skinny enough in your photos (or at least I *think* that’s you). You’re the one with the doctorate, right?

  • TonyA_says

    Careful now, we might be offending the majority of people in the USA. :)

  • IGoEverywhere

    It cannot nor will it ever go back to yester year, because there are too many factors that will never change back. Just a few:
    1. Many airline unions will not allow the attendants to assist with luggage on the plane, so that service is gone allonf with the “Tea, newspaper, 3 choices for dinner, and may I help you”?
    2. I do not want to eat, so why should I pay for it leads to cheaper fares and we want those!
    3. The man beside me is using my armrest has createated cry babies.
    4. The knee defender just got me booted off of the airplane – you give them away, but they may cause a lot of friction.
    5. The most important…..nobody cares about little things when profits are high. “I will not use that airline again” means nothing to the airlines. It takes 10 million passengers a week to boycott 1 airline to make a difference that is noticable. But somebody will lose a mile and that will not be tolerated. Pay more to get what you want, or suffer with the rest of us. I like duluxe hotels, private jets, and 5 Star food. I get 2 1/2 star sleep, commercial garbage flights, and McDonalds. I made the choice.

  • Alan Gore

    Kudos to Frontier. Now if only the rest of the airlines offered this kind of flexibility. Instead we get a wall of snark and snip that is so nicely echoed in today’s commentary.

  • Nathan Witt

    I think you have your choice of dirt cheap or incredibly expensive. If an airline can break even selling me a $250 discount coach seat, why is it $700 to buy a flexible ticket or $2500 to buy a first class seat? Where’s the $350-$500 option? Sure, there are relatively low-cost add-ons like early boarding or checked bags, and some airlines offer premium economy for some flights (though it’s still a crappy seat with crappy service – you just get more knee room). But where’s the option for a comfortable seat with nice flight attendants who don’t treat you like human cargo that’s interfering with their job? If it’s available, I don’t know about it.

  • DavidYoung2

    Southwest isn’t doing this out of charity. They’re doing it because it’s good business.

    We are flying out on 11/21 and returning 11/26, potentially the busiest travel day of the year. Southwest was $102.00 MORE than United for the same route.

    We paid $306.00 more to fly Southwest because of their ‘customer friendly’ policies. If there’s ever a day you might need good customer service from an airline, it’s the day before Thanksgiving.

    Yes, we WILL pay for service. Southwest earned our business with their good service and better customer policies, and now they’re reaping the benefits by getting customers to pay more for better service.

  • The Original Joe S

    And now we’re back to driving again within feasible driving distances within the Empire because of crummy, late service, nasty FAs, spotty maintenance, and NKVD perverts goosing your pastaccioti and stealing from your luggage.

  • The Original Joe S

    I pay for service on a good Asian airline. I’d rather fly on that one than Untied / Can’tinental because they treat the customers correctly.

  • The Original Joe S

    Go with a LIST! And a full stomach. I allow myself MAXIMUM of TWO impulse buys; usually only one. My list’s products are ordered by the layout of my local COSTCO. Walk in; go around and pick up your goods, pay, leave.

    Now that I’ve joined the 2nd decade of the 21st Century, in which I’ve retired my flip phone and got a smart phone I have a spreadsheet with a shopping list. Still, the bottom line coming outta COSTCO is high, but much lower than if I’d gone in there without a plan.

  • The Original Joe S

    Yup. Lettuce at the Españish mercado. They sell ’em by the head. I bring a nice small digital scale, and weigh ’em. Sometimes a ½ pound difference between similar-looking lettuce heads. I have a luggage scale and a bag I got at the ball park. Put the watermelons in and see which one is full, and which one is hollow. I got me a 21 pounder while I saw a woman pick up a 13 pounder that I rejected.

  • The Original Joe S

    You’re not “eating” there. You would be “slobbering”. It ain’t Eye-tal-yin food anyway. It’s Stroonzo….

  • The Original Joe S

    Ain’t that a religion that the advertise in the gossip magazines?

  • The Original Joe S

    “You always disagree with everything I say!”
    “I don’t!”
    -Monty Python

  • PolishKnightUSA

    For my wife and I as a couple, costco is largely not economically a big savings. It’s a fun place for us to go to pick up vitamins, great meats, wine, and that fantastic food court!

    But in the end, it’s not the economic model for the whole grocery industry. We still have to hit the ethnic stores and the big chains for a lot of stuff. I buy our TP and other household paper products at the chain stores because the sales are better than normal prices at costco.

    Ok, and I’ll get hit on this one but… it’s great for a cheap date. Women love you when the food is good, not the fru-fru atmosphere. Even now, my wife gets this look on her face of love when she bites into a chicken wrap or slurps into the yogurt and some of it rubs off on me!

  • TonyA_says

    I’m own my way. Looks like BR is the cheapest.

    But I think my big arse fits the KE seats better :-)

  • PolishKnightUSA

    Certain stuff isn’t good there. TP and soda is usually priced higher because the chains get to buy in volume. Also, unhealthy TV dinners, frozen foods, etc. are better at chains. Hmmm, perhaps I should stop eating that stuff :-) But in any case, I have to have different arrows in my quiver to complete a shopping trip.

    And dollar store shaving cream, tooth floss and aspirin!

  • The Original Joe S

    There’s always some TOAD who will accuse people of “racism” because they have no real argument, or they are simply PC provacateurs. Their opinions are about as useful as the stuff you flush down the toilet.

  • The Original Joe S

    Who are YOU that he has to explain himself to you?

  • PolishKnightUSA

    Last trip, I think I was dealing entirely with American call centers. Made in USA pride!

    I think in the long run, the outsourced call centers cost more because they don’t resolve the issues and the “2 minute goal” for the workers winds up taking 5 calls to resolve. I think that this was encouraged by amazingly cheap long distance rates effectively allowing a phone to be off the hook 24×7 for pennies a year. In the old days, when 800 call time cost per minute, companies wanted qualified representatives to fix a problem right the first time in a short amount of time. Now, it’s just about time (paid per hour.)

    My company is dealing with an outsourcer now who made grand promises and isn’t backing them up and the company is losing money. I think there’s a lot of Enron style accounting practices by executives who pitched these ideas trying to cover up their mistakes.

  • bodega3

    LOL! My mom use to say to my Dad, “I’m taking you out to lunch.”. And that meant they were going shopping at Costco.

  • TonyA_says

    Even as a non-Italian, I can’t eat there :-)
    People should really TRY to patronize their local Italian family owned small restaurants. Food’s fresh and delicious and the people are warm.

  • The Original Joe S

    I got compassion for you and people of your ilk. You should be relieved of your misery in the most painless manner possible.

  • John Baker

    Hey … I resemble that remark…..

  • The Original Joe S

    Go down to Howard Beach and get a slice at New Park.

  • The Original Joe S

    You don’t like personal attacks? Well, then, Bless You, Tony, and the horse you rode in on! AND, if you got any friends in Brooklyn, BLESS THEM TOO! :-Þ

  • John Baker

    Cheap? I’m lucky if I can leave the building without being $100+ lighter in the wallet… After that, a $1.50 hot dog and coke is about all I can afford….

  • The Original Joe S

    Ending a sentence with a preposition is the type of pendantry up with which we shall not put!

  • The Original Joe S

    You speak RUSSIAN on EVERY flight?

  • Don Spilky

    Someone who abhors racism or bigotry in any form. I believe there would be a lot less hatred spewed in this world – and especially on the internet – if we were held accountable for what we post and challenged if we slander an entire group of people. In this case, an entire group of people is stereotyped to have no compassion at all if they don’t have compassion for a specific group.

  • The Original Joe S

    and clever

  • TonyA_says

    Nope my office is a block across the JC in Forest Hills.
    We have “real” food there in Austin St. :-)

  • TonyA_says

    Did you miss the sarcasm Joe?
    Anyway got to go before the evening traffic.

  • PolishKnightUSA

    Koneshnia, ale malenki! :-)

    Just enough to say hello and the menu items. I call it kitchen Russian. :-)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    “I’d like to have an argument, please.”

  • Michael__K

    I agree that higher end vendors tend to be more “compassionate” or “flexible” (or whatever word you want to use), but part of my point is that this is not necessarily or always so. For example, I believe the written return policy, at least for Nordstrom Rack, is if anything slightly more restrictive than Walmart’s.

    I also agree about making specific comparisons within the same market. The other part of my point is that the travel market is an unusually inflexible market these days, even at the mid and high end. There are few if any purchase options where you can expect “compassion”, unlike in most other markets.

  • Don Spilky

    I’d love to hear your suggestions on how you would relieve such people of their misery? Personally, I have no need of your “compassion” and am in no way, shape or form “miserable”.

  • emanon256

    I always thought you were Italian. Technically I am only half, but I still claim it :)

    My rule when I travel is to always avoid chains and find local restaurants only. Its hard to do, but I try my best to stick too it. Even at home I try to never go to chains unless it’s one family who now has three shops open, then I consider it a local chain and it’s still okay.

    It’s was hard to find good Italian food in Denver. I finally found a few local places that are truly decent. One I absolutely love, but the prices are pretty high, it’s a once a year kind of place. There is an even better place, but the prices aren’t even approachable for me right now, I took my mom for her birthday a few years ago and it was an amazing experience. They close for 6 weeks a year to fly their entire staff to Italy for re-training.

    I am taking my mom to the once a year place this weekend. She was shocked and appalled a few years back when she learned the Chef isn’t actually Italian, but she moved on and accepted it. The food and service are truly outstanding. I can’t wait!

  • The Original Joe S

    Of course not!

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Okay, time to share. I hit Denver often enough that I could use a reliable restaurant recommendation.

  • The Original Joe S

    The Corbomite Device comes to mind….

  • The Original Joe S

    In your mind…

  • The Original Joe S

    I’ll put you on the phone with my wife.

  • Don Spilky

    LOL Cute! and GREAT reference to one of the best shows of all time.

  • bodega3

    I agree with you that the travel market has become increasingly inflexible. But let’s look at they whys.
    -people change their mind more than they change their clothes. Change costs money.
    -people don’t commit. They will hold something and not showup.
    -people lie to get money back
    Having started in the travel business when most fares were fully refundable and most hotels gave you until 6pm day of arrival to cancel and were very flexible with certain circumstances for canceling after 6pm, people took advantage of it and things started to slowly change. Yet people kept on taking advantage of policies. Now that these policies hurt the pocketbook a lot more, people are noticing and complaining but they still lie, don’t commit and change their minds at the drop of a hat. Someone has to pay for that.

  • emanon256

    The one I going to this weekend: www (dot) panzano-denver (dot) com I actually also went for restaurant week, so twice this year. I also ALWAYS recommend it for out-of-town guests.

    The even better place is: barologrilldenver (dot) com

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Is she in room 12 or 12A?

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Thank you!

  • Carchar

    I cannot say enough about the Bend, OR Double Tree. I wrote about them in a thread here a couple of days ago, but I’ll repeat it. Several groups were coming for our grandson’s bar mitzvah, a wedding, and a big lacrosse match. The local airport for Redmond/Bend (RDM) became enveloped in dense fog. There are about 8 planes that overnight there after coming in during the evening. All were either diverted or cancelled. Without even being asked, the Double Tree did not charge anyone for that missed night. They did the same for those people who were put on evening flights the following day and night and were cancelled yet again. And their customer service was exemplary on all fronts.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Here’s one article, which deplores the current (2010) state of customer service in the airline industry and examines why such poor customer service exists. Takes a little time to read, but has good analysis of *why* things are as they are, and why they probably won’t change. The article ends with a great set of discussion questions.

    http://www (.) ibam (.) com/pubs/jbam/articles/vol11/no3/5_Buchanan_5_2010.pdf?q=continental-airlines-we-apologize

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    “”I will not use that airline again” means nothing to the airlines.”

    I agree…When readers post comments like “XYZ Airline should give them a refund because it builds goodwill” or “XYZ Airline will lose business if they don’t do what the OP wants”…I just laugh…how naïve!

    Most passengers select their flights by the lowest fares and the airlines know this. Even if a passenger doesn’t like an airline, they will still go back to them if they have the lowest fare for their next flight. Over the years, I have had prospective clients who were extremely unhappy with their current vendor but didn’t want to change (or went with another low price vendor) to my company because our prices were higher.

    Also, if the passenger flies once or twice a year, the airline doesn’t make money with this type of passenger…it becomes a volume business. The airlines do “listen” to their frequent flyers especially their top-end elite frequent flyers because that group is ‘profitable’ to the airline and they can’t afford to lose a customer that takes 100 flights a year.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    It is common in China for young children to urinate publicly on the streets, sidewalks, etc. They consider this potty-training since wearing diapers is not as common as in the West. When I have been in China, I have witnessed this.

  • bodega3

    Ever golfed? I guess golf courses are for training males on peeing on trees or the grass.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Here’s another quote from a different article about customer satisfaction and flying Low Cost Carriers (LCCs):

    “Hence, price loyalty is not influenced by perceived quality and may be more important than perceived service quality for customer satisfaction and behaviors in LCCs.” Kim, Yu Kyoung, Lee, Hyung Ryong. 2011. “Customer satisfaction using low cost carriers”. Tourism Management 32:235–243.

    What’s interesting is that the abstract concludes that LCCs need to be more responsive to consumer complaints about “tangibles” such as seat pitch, but while folks complain, they still buy on price.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    I spent 15 minutes researching articles about customer satisfaction regarding airline travel and found a couple of articles from reliable sources with their results. I posted those below, Those articles all deplore the current state of customer service in the airline industry. One explores in depth the financial reasons for poor service, while the other measures which factors people weigh the most while picking which airlines to fly. Well, guess what? Price, price and price. They may complain, but “price loyalty” wins out – and so long as the airlines know that, there is absolutely no incentive on their part to reduce profits to provide better service.

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    TonyA, I totally agree with you that there are some real victims who come here for help and those are the ones that Chris should help.

    However, most of them are individuals who made mistakes and don’t want to accept responsibility for their actions (or lack of actions) then Chris shame the travel provider via the court of public opinion to give money to these OPs.

    It is easy to givespend other people money.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    I find that at mid to high end travel (4* hotel, major car rentals, etc.) there is the written rule which is relatively inflexible and the unwritten rules which the smallest amount of politeness and mea culpa is sufficient to get the unwritten rule/flexibility invoked.

    At the lower end they know you just choose price so they have no incentive to be flexible, thus the front desk folks have little discretion

  • Carchar

    Walmart saves its lack of compassion for the people who drudge for them.

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    You mean that customers care more about price than comfort. Say it isn’t so:-)

  • Carchar

    I go with a fairly empty stomach, so that I can do a food sample crawl. However, I do pay more for products there because they do back them up.

  • bodega3

    I have noticed that a few of the higher end hotels are not on OTA’s….or at least ones I have looked for to compare pricing. People who shop OTA’s are only looking for cheap and these hotels don’t wish to deal with them. When you shop for a ‘cheap’ price, why should you expect extra steps be taken? Many hotels give their less desirable rooms to OTA shoppers. This has been verified by hotels many TA’s work with on a regular basis. There is a new online comparison site being advertised on TV. They state that they offer the best pricing for the same room. That is only a comparison with OTA’s. Michael K can spend time researching that one!

  • bodega3

    Have you ever considered working in the travel industry. We need someone like you. Very good work!

  • Michael__K

    Do you have any evidence backed by data to support the claim that people change their minds more today than before?

    When I look at the airline lobby’s own historical numbers, it sure looks like change-fee revenue was generally flat from year to year for as long as change fees and policies were steady.

    I think what’s changed is the way we search for and purchase travel, which puts more emphasis than ever on price. And I suspect the ease with which we can purchase travel from anywhere at anytime has also led to a demise in walk-up business. Which makes it harder to re-sell inventory after last minute cancellations.

  • emanon256

    A restaurant near me just sent us a coupon that reads, “One Entree Without Charge Upon payment for same of equal or greater value.” They must come from the @elliottc:disqus school of “Free”.

  • emanon256

    Someone just needs to get a Uro Club: uroclub (dot) com

  • Carchar

    Chris, I just don’t believe that device can be used responsibly. One can ask the person leaning into you not to lean so far. They may compassionately comply or they may not, but that device should not be used.

  • Michael__K

    I guess I haven’t tested that enough (trying to get the unwritten rule/flexibility invoked at a higher end vendor) to draw conclusions. My very limited anecdotal experience is mixed.

    Perhaps I’m jaded by reading the daily tales of unhappy customers on this site (some of whom made mid-to-high end choices).

  • VoR61

    Good find. So I reviewed this and noted the following:

    1990s
    – Airlines began cutting out TAs (14% savings)
    2008
    – Grim outlook for customer demand – bookings dropped and ticket were discounted
    – Began retiring older aircraft
    – Fees introduced for bags, reservations by phone, changes/cancellations, pillows/blankets
    – Fewer meals (fuel and other savings, more room for seats)
    2009
    – Capacity still exceeds demand
    – Online booking and kiosks (reduced staffing)

    Quote: “The airline industry will forever be below average in satisfying travelers…[because of] a business culture in which the costs of fuel and labor are viewed as more important than happy customers in determining profitability.”

  • MarkKelling

    Time Magazine, June 25, 1965: “Eight out of ten Americans have never flown” anywhere on a plane and over half of that 80% still would never at any point in their life.

    The Atlantic, February 28, 2013: “By 2000, 50 percent of the country took at least one round-trip flight a year. The average was two round-trip[s]”

    I’m sure the numbers have grown even since 2000.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Thank you!

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    One could argue that Southwest is the cause of the current state of affairs (i.e. change fees, baggage fees, this fee and that fee, etc) in the airline industry.

    Unlike the legacy carriers who provide services to the large, mid-size and small markets, Southwest elected to fly the ‘popular’ routes. I don’t blame them, it makes sense the fly the routes with the most passengers.

    I have read as well as been told that the fares on the popular routes (i.e. SEA to JFK) used to subsidize the flights to the smaller markets (i.e. SEA to PSC). When Southwest enter the picture, the legacy were forced to lower their fares on their profitable flights causing them to lose money, etc. which has led them to have all of these fees to make up revenues.

    To compound that problem, when Southwest went into a new market, they used the ‘Wal-Mart’ marketing…they lowered their fares so low that everyone thought that they had the lowest fares.

    Eventually, they raised their fares in these markets but since their fares are ONLY available at their website, it is hard to compare fares. They do NOT always have the lowest fares. Personally, when I have checked fares on Southwest, they have always been higher than American WestUS Airways…that could have been an fluke.

    Southwest has increased the number of seats on their 737-700s where the pitch is the same or less than the legacy carriers. Southwest is becoming more like the legacy carriers than the legacy carriers becoming more like Southwest.

    Sales growth (same stores) at Wal-Mart has become disappointing…some has linked this to when they got rid of their greeters. Personally, I think it has to do with the public finally understanding that Wal-Mart doesn’t always have the lowest price (it used to be their tagline years ago). In 2011, Southwest had it first quarterly loss which I think had to do with them being more like the legacy than their old self.

    I am not a Southwest hater. I think that the marketing of Southwest was genius. For me, Southwest is not my preference because they don’t have a First Class and no alliance thus no reward travels to Europe and Asia.

  • MarkKelling

    Ain’t the internet great? :-)

  • ArizonaRoadWarrior

    How about those pictures and videos of fans jumping out of wheelchairs, walking unassisted, etc during the World Cup in Brazil this past summer? People pretended to be disabled in order to score seatstickets. What a bunch of losers!!!

  • Bill___A

    We took a trip a couple of weeks ago and were treated quite well, thank you very much. There are still good suppliers out there. It pays to behave yourself and be respectful to others. It goes a long way.
    We did run into a grouch or two but that’s normal. The overwhelming majority of people were very hospitable, and either good travellers or good at their jobs.
    It isn’t all doom and gloom.
    Thank you Air Canada, Hertz, Marriott, Best Western, Ruth’s Chris, US Customs and Border Protection, Canada Border Protection Agency, BC Ferries and all those unnamed other people who made it possible. Fellow travelers were also, for the most part, very considerate.

  • Well, wow. As usual, the poll goes one way, the comments go the other way. But what a debate!

    We’ve had a very disagreeable 24 hours on this site, but even with all the attacks, I want you to know that I love all of you. You make me want to be a better advocate. Yes, even the 34 visitors from that other site, and here to stir up trouble. I gratefully accept the traffic from anyone.

  • Michael__K

    Hey, Chinese fliers are way ahead of us when it comes to strategies for extracting “compassion” from uncooperative airlines ;)

    “Chinese fliers stage 18-hour sit-in over canceled flight”

    More than 70 disgruntled passengers of Chinese carrier Hong Kong Airlines staged an 18-hour sit-in on one of the airline’s jets to show their displeasure about a canceled flight this past weekend.

    It apparently is the second such incident to hit Hong Kong Airlines in the past two months.
    […]
    The passengers finally left the plane around 3 p.m. Saturday after the airline agreed to up its compensation offer, according to the Morning Post.

    http://www.usatoday.Com/story/todayinthesky/2014/06/23/chinese-fliers-stage-18-hour-sit-in-over-canceled-flight/11256653/

  • tio2girl

    If you can make it up to Boulder, check out The Mediterranean. Not Italian, but delicious! https://www.themedboulder.com/

  • Carver Clark Farrow

    i do it constantly. Early check-ins. late check-out (later than 4pm), cancel after the deadline.

    But I’m always unfailing polite, freely offer that its a favor nor a right, and be reasonable

  • flutiefan

    they do that ALL THE TIME at the airport/on airplanes, too. we call those “miracle flights”. they need wheelchairs to board, saying they can’t walk, but somehow they jump out of their seats and skip up the jetway upon arrival. all so they can cut the security lines and board first. SMH…

  • Freehiker

    Tell customers to have compassion when an employee makes a mistake and fat-fingers a price on something, instead of demanding to take advantage of that mistake.

    Tell customers to have compassion and realize that the standard employee only works at a store and cant control the fact that there is some crap policy in place that stops them from helping you.

    Tell the customers to have compassion and realize that an employee might not be in the best of moods because it sucks to be forced to work on Thanksgiving, or Christmas, just so that customer can buy a can of peanuts, or a cheap TV.

    The list is endless. My point is that compassion is a two way street. People cry and whine that companies don’t have compassion for them, when most of them refuse to show any to the company.

  • bodega3

    Yes, my own business of 30 years tells me that. Fees started well before the internet came to be.

    People changing their minds so frequently goes along with the lack of manners. It isn’t limited to travel. Plan a wedding, plan a anniversary party, where you have to pay for guests and see how many don’t RSVP, do RSVP and don’t show up.

  • bodega3

    I am trying to remember when change fees started up. It was in the 1980’s.

  • bodega3

    Oh yuck! I’ll never look at a ‘green’ golf course the same after recently working a golf tournament. I have always thought it was a stupid sport, now I have other thoughts about the players.

  • bodega3

    It is a two way street.

  • Freehiker

    Ever been to New Orleans? Kids and adults both do it there.

  • TonyA_says

    You can pay $50 a month to use a GDS to search for what you want.

  • TonyA_says

    We’ve been members of the Italian Center for quite a while, my youngest son has been in the swim team and my middle son works there as a waiter and kind of bartender. So that’s were the kids and wife hangs out. That’s as close to an Italian as I will get other than my name Tony and I love Italy, its food and wine, and Marcella Hazan’s cookbook.

  • TonyA_says

    Take it that’s a good deal. Just used one tonight get one free if you pay for 2 entrees and 2 drinks. And yes I was thinking of Chris while dining :-)

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    Looks like it’s worth a drive – ummm! Thank you!

  • Helio

    I’m flattered Jeanne, but no in both cases…

    I’m struggling to lose some weight, and I have an MBA ;-)

    EDIT: When I first wrote, I was thinking about the knee space, not the belly overflow. I don’t need part of my neighbor seat :-)

  • TonyA_says

    Joe did you do this?

  • TonyA_says

    In our town, you know who is a real local if they know Dougie White. He is our local “hero” …

    stamford dot dailyvoice dot com/neighbors/happy-birthday-stamford-legend

  • The Original Joe S

    Nope. When did this happen?

  • Helio

    , unfortunately.

  • Helio

    As a foreigner, could I have my USA visa revoked if I buy this book? ;-)

  • TonyA_says

    Sometime last winter.
    Nowadays if I get hungry, I drive to the Genting casino (Resorts World) on the race track (Aqueduct). Park for free (no scratches or robbery) and eat good food. If you pay cash with your membership card, you get a discount at the restaurant.
    In fact I would rather wait there than in the cell phone lot of JFK. I’m trying to figure out how to game the parking system since there is a shuttle to the terminals. Maybe I can park in the casino instead of long term parking :-)

  • Helio

    Try Carnaval in Brazil…

  • TonyA_says

    In the 80’s me, my wife, and friends jump-seated a lot behind the captain on 727s. That’s how we saw America for free and we were very thankful for the privilege (as an airline employee). I never heard a single person complaining.about those small fold and push seats. The only thing we worried about was whether we could rope ourselves down the window in case of an emergency. The cockpit was small and the crew was 3. So there you are 5 people in a sardine can.

    Fast forward to this generation. Is it really that difficult to sit 2-3 or even 5 hours in hell? I’m about to fly 22-23 hours in coach to Asia (with one stop). Cathay Pacific as has 32″ pitch. Would you really deny the person in front of you to recline their seat by using one of these contraptions. Well thank goodness, they use the clam-shell design and there is no need for this awful product.

    We understand seating in coach sucks. But I don’t believe I have the right to prevent the person in front of me to recline their seat. Also, I can’t simply find the moral reason that allows me to deny him or her that right. S/he did not do anything wrong. Even if I am mad at the airline, I cannot take it out on my fellow passengers and the employees of the airline. This is just wrong (at least that is what my parents taught me).

  • TonyA_says

    Well you can join Tina Turner and others.
    She gave up her US citizenship to become Swiss :-)

  • pauletteb

    Macy’s isn’t the store it once was. The ones in Connecticut, at least, are barely a notch above Target.

  • TonyA_says

    You crack me up. My bro-in-law, a uro surgeon, email address is DrDickUro.
    What is really funny is he attends all these conventions worldwide and his email address is printed in bold letters in all his suitcases and golf bags.

  • TonyA_says

    Did anyone use the knee defender?

  • TonyA_says

    +1000 She can fix Spirit.

  • bodega3

    There is no ruling about not being able to recline your seat, but there is regarding the item Chris gave out. So disappointing to see Chris stoop so low.

  • bodega3

    You know, a few weeks ago I would have agreed with you. We have two in our area, then two in Marin County. BIG difference in the stores by county. But today, I was in one of ours and what an improvement from my last visit….which was greatly needed!

  • bodega3

    It wouldn’t meet his needs.

  • Miami510

    The least expensive thing is a smile or a kind word. Compassion doesn’t always mean less profit to a corporation. Most of the posts had to do with money. I suggest it’s not so.

    Compassion is not seat pitch or the quantity/quality of snacks while flying. In many cases, traveler’s outrage at something had surly treatment as a precursor.

  • TonyA_says

    You know I am not even sure compassion is the right word (or term) for this thing we are discussing. To me compassion is what we do when we see people suffering – like victims of war, famine, calamity or an accident.
    We stop by the side of the road and provide assistance to car accident victims because we have compassion. We do the same for people whose homes are burning or have been blown away during a hurricane or tornado. But compassion is too strong a word to use just because a flight is late or cancelled or someone lost money (that is replaceable).

    Empathy is something many in the service industry can use for REAL situations. I wish I can understand more how you feel. I wish I can help do something to make you feel better. Most empowered employees who have empathy will go above and beyond to help people. This is my experience in life (albeit limited). But the problem is most workers who do customer service is not empowered. So this is really a management problem.

    When a customer cannot control their anger and directs it to the employee or fellow customers, it is very difficult to talk about compassion and empathy. At this point they no longer deserve either.
    It is very demeaning to be in the receiving end of a raging customer.

    A person who uses a knee defender rationalizes its use to protect their body (ie knees from getting crushed). But they do so while forcing others to relinquish some of their own comfort. That sounds like an extremely conceited argument to me. Last time I heard something like that was when the Bush admin told (lied to) us about Saddam’s WMD. So we needed a preemptive strike.

  • PsyGuy

    Yes, I still think the knee defender would exist give people 36 inches and at some point in time they will want 38 inches, then 40 inches. However, like you I am not able to test alternative hypotheses for historical events.

  • PsyGuy

    Costco sells travel.

  • PsyGuy

    If you bought a cruise package from Costco and you were unhappy, could you go to Costco and get a refund?

  • PsyGuy

    IDevices, but not desktops or laptops.

  • PsyGuy

    The thing with Costco is your walking down the aisle looking for something and see something you never even realized they had, and that you sudenly realize you need.

  • TonyA_says

    Hey PsyGuy since I think you are in Japan, can you please explain to us the Japanese concept of compassion or sympathy. Wiki calls it Ishin-denshin. Maybe we can learn something/

  • PsyGuy

    we have a Costco in Japan, and I practically do all my routine shopping once a month for staples like TP, etc. The great thing is they deliver.

  • TonyA_says

    Deliver? You don’t mean online right? I thought you meant order at the store and they delivered what you bought in the store. If so, that is awesome.

  • PsyGuy

    I can explain it from a technical sense but as my fiance says I am not Japanese so I can not understand. You basically need to understand the concept of “face” and “social/cultural unity”. With face you never want to cause someone to lose face or lose face yourself, such as being embarrassed or humiliated. Social unity is the recognition and practice that your family, work group and other social groups are more important than the individual. To extrapolate that, Ishin-denshin is the extension of intergroup unity and face to unity and face between groups.
    For example, between companies Ishin-denshin would describe how the executives and managers want BOTH companies to succeed by the partnership, because you would not want to “embarrass” each other even if you are competitors. It also recognizes that whatever competition exists there is also mutual dependency, and benefit to mutual success. Whereas western companies competing for a resource like “sapphire glass” would “win” by securing the resource over a competitor, Japanese companies would believe that partnering to share the resources would be beneficial in increasing AND stabilizing the demand for the resource, making it less risky for increased production and adding suppliers.
    You can extend this concept to smaller and larger groups.

  • PsyGuy

    No not online, you go into the store, make your purchases and they deliver them the same day (or if late in the day, the next day).

    I wish they did have the option for online shopping, all the signage in the warehouse is in Japanese, and if I could do it online I could use Google translate.

  • Michael__K

    Not too helpful for most consumers.

    But even if it was free, do the uniform standards exist that would make such a search possible even with a GDS? Can you really, for example, run a single search to pull up all the hotels that are refundable until [x] time before arrival or that have cancellation penalties less than [$y]?

  • TonyA_says

    I was deeply moved by this documentary about Japanese students.
    topdocumentaryfilms dot com/children-full-of-life/

    I think compassion must be taught. It does not just fall from the trees.

  • TonyA_says

    Most POSTPAIDS have some kind of cancel by time.
    I go by that when I use a GDS to look for hotels.

    You cannot make a finer query like you want.

  • Michael__K

    You make a bunch of assumptions. Among them, your customer base over time is not necessarily either a representative or a consistent sampling of the public.

    The completely nonrefundable, non-changeable advance hotel reservation was exceptionally rare 15 years ago.

    When airline tickets were first sold on the internet, the change fee was $75 (equal to about $100 today adjusted for inflation) and the change terms were more favorable too.

  • bodega3

    You are so freaking annoying Michael. You asked me a question, I answered it, you ridicule it. I won’t waste time with you again. You are arrogant, pig headed, and overbearing. You NEVER recognize what I say. This is my last reply to you. I said that 30 years ago, things were different. What the heck can’t you read from that. Fees started due to rude people. Change fees use to be nonexistence when I started and because of inconsiderate people, they came to be. I am well aware of the changes in the industry, have attended many meetings with airline honchos and hotel executives. Have you? NO. Add me to the list who don’t want anything to do with you.

  • The Original Joe S

    I used to live on 115th St. I went to Juan Adams, man, at 101-01 Rockaway Blvd. I have never set foot in Aqueduct.

    Class in Juan Adams:

    Teacher: Look out the window, stupids. What do you see?
    Stupids: Duh, da RACEtrack!
    T: OK, now look up here. [Writes on blackboard.]
    $1 -> In. 97¢ -> Out. What does that tell you morons?
    Me: Tells me I ain’t never goin’ in there.

    BTW, I had occasion to go to JA this year. I walked up to the front and went in the main door. I said, “This used to be a high school.” “Yes, it still is.” “Oh, I got confused because it now looks different from when I and my mom & dad went here.” “Have you come to see someone?” “Well, I was looking for Dr. Mengele or Dr. Göbbles, but I suppose they’re not here today.” ” Uh, we don’t know them.” “Thanks.” I left, and they surely didn’t get it.

  • PsyGuy

    I’m half italian and I can eat at Olive Garden if I have too, my bill is usually the cheapest at the table since all I order is soup and salad.

  • Blackadar

    Really? Anyone who disagrees with you is suddenly attacking you? Grow up.

  • Again, you’re twisting my words and ignoring my clarification. I was referring to my Facebook comments. I had to delete some, they were so angry and personal.

    The comments on this site are pretty level-headed in comparison. Even the ones that petulantly demand I “grow up.”

  • Michael__K

    I asked for verifiable evidence and data. You predictably supply anectdotes and personal insults. Good riddance.

  • TonyA_says

    ROFL.
    Talking about “history”, Do you recall the famous racial incident that happened at New Park Pizza in the 80’s?
    Anyway, I don’t gamble either. I go to Genting to eat Chinese food. They are Malaysian Chinese and in order to attract Asians they have to serve good Chinese food. Same thing they do at Foxwoods.

  • TonyA_says

    Oh and if you love pizza, our famous joint in Forest Hills is Nick’s Pizza. Very good!

  • Laura616

    Seven Corners

  • Michael__K

    I should clarify that the scope of my comment was limited to situations where I’ve been an unfamiliar face.

    When I’ve been a frequent, repeat business guest at a hotel or rental location and gotten to know most of the staff and/or several colleagues were frequent and simultaneous guests, we’ve been treated extraordinarily well and even received all sorts of unsolicited perks (like fruit/cheese/candy baskets and free premium car upgrades).

    Yet when we patronized other locations of the same chains — with the same frequent guest profile — we couldn’t necessarily count on getting even what one should expect per written policy. For example, a colleague was unceremoniously bumped to a far-away inferior hotel late at night despite his status. I almost never got the space-available free upgrade I was supposed to get when my status called for it (even when the hotel was clearly very under-booked and selling those rooms). A few times, I received vehicles with 3/4 of a tank presented as full. Even after correcting the fuel at checkout in their system, they would resist providing a fuel credit if I returned the vehicle with extra fuel.

  • Judy Serie Nagy

    You are so right about airlines needing flexibility in pricing so you can buy a seat for $235, or a comfortable seat for $500 … instead of $2100 for first class. Hotels give a discount for pre-paying a room, but it’s not a large amount of money. Airlines will give you more physical comfort for a huge amount of money.

  • Travelnut

    In that vein… my thanks to the following from my trip in September. Seattle Light Rail, that was able to return my backback to me that I’d left on a train in about 20 minutes (this was amazing to me); Hilton Seattle and Orbitz, who together helped with a glitch in my hotel reservation that was noticed when I was checking in (and particularly surprised that Orbitz was so helpful); United, which didn’t cancel or reschedule any of my flights and was ontime and generally tolerable (faint praise I know but pretty good for UA); and Oswego Hotel in Victoria, BC, which was one of the nicest hotels I’ve ever stayed at and I’d do it again in a heartbeat. I have a naughty list too, but like Grant I’ll keep it positive.

  • flutiefan

    i’m across the Blvd in Elmhurst… where is Nick’s?

  • flutiefan

    “When a customer cannot control their anger and directs it to the employee or fellow customers, it is very difficult to talk about compassion and empathy. At this point they no longer deserve either.It is very demeaning to be in the receiving end of a raging customer.”

    NAILED IT.

  • TonyA_says

    Nick’s

    On Ascan Ave. just past corner of Austin St.
    On left side before you hit the LIRR rails overhead.
    m dot mainstreethub dot com/nickspizzaforesthills
    Warning: CASH ONLY!

    On 70th and Austin, there is a row of restaurants,
    Try Cabana (Cuban food, very good.)
    cabanarestaurant dot com/originalcabana_m.html

    Bonus!On Queens Blvd, near the Firehouse (Engine Company 305, Hook & Ladder Company 151) there is a good Malaysian family run restaurant.
    111-10 Queens Blvd.
    (Bet. 75th Ave. & 75th Road)
    newpinangfusion dot com/
    Tell the lady you want authentic Malaysian cooking and forget the fusion :-)
    Try Roti Canai and the Crispy Squid (spicy).

    Enjoy :-)

  • gracekelley

    It was always a running joke when I was a flight attendant when someone berated us for something we had no control over and you just know that they won’t be bothered to complain to the dot or even direct the anger anywhere past demanding some miles that would disembark with the infamous I’ll never fly this airline again we’d laugh and laugh and say ok see you next week when the fare is $30 cheaper than delta. Of course we waited until all passengers had left.

  • gracekelley

    They also will white knuckle a bag until they get something for having to gate check a carry-on too even if it meant missing their flight. Compensation NOW……

  • gracekelley

    Jetway Jesus

  • Grant Ritchie

    The real “Gentle Giant.”