Who has the worst contract in travel?

The devil is in these details. / Photo by Feathered Tar - Flick
Will the business with the most customer-hostile contract please stand and take a bow?

What’s that? Oh no, please, don’t all get up at once.

Airlines, with their super-restrictive contracts of carriage. Car rental companies, with their preposterous terms and conditions. Hotels, too. And cruise ticket contracts. Don’t even get me started on cruise contracts!

With the busy summer travel season about to start, the somewhat dry and always disappointing subject of contracts will become an issue. It does every year.

Reader David Deehl responded to a recent column in which I complained about travel companies that don’t deliver the products they promise, but force their customers to agree to onerous, one-sided “adhesion” contracts that sometimes result in the loss of their entire cruise, flight or hotel stay.

Deehl says the travel industry is full of them. And he ought to know: He’s an attorney.

Let’s go over a few of the “gotchas” by industry.

Airline. Your rights, such as they are, can be found in a document called the contract of carriage. Among other things, you agree that the airline isn’t responsible for getting you to your destination on schedule and that it owes you nothing if it loses your valuables. Got a problem with that? You’ll have to sue in federal court.

Car rental. Your car rental terms vary by state. In it, you agree that you’re responsible for the car, even if the vehicle is damaged by an Act of God, like a hailstorm or flood. You also agree to pay for whatever the car rental company thinks you’re responsible, like a “loss of use” charge it invents.

Cruise. The ticket contract is an astounding rights grab. You give away your right to sue the cruise line and agree that the company can remove you from its vessels for any reason it wants to and deny you a refund. Maritime law, the law that governs the contract, favors the cruise line.

Hotels. The rules of your hotel stay are governed by state law, but you also sign an agreement at the beginning of your stay in which you agree to additional terms. Those can include paying a “resort fee” or agreeing to any late charge to your credit card (like a “cleaning” fee) the hotel decides to bill you.

Simply put, the deck is stacked against travelers.

What should a contract look like? Deehl likes restaurants.

“You do not have to pre-pay to get a reservation,” he says. “You do not pay until you are served and finish your meal, and you do not have to enter into a contract to give up your rights for the privilege of eating.”

Imagine that: paying for your flight after you land. Not giving up any of your rights, ever. Now that would be something, wouldn’t it?

So who’s the worst?

I’m leaning toward airlines. I deal with complaints every day, and the airline contracts truly allow companies to get away with almost anything. They can lose your luggage, deliver you to your destination late (or never) and offer the worst imaginable service along the way — and get away with it.

Deehl, who is an expert on maritime law, thinks cruise contracts are pretty awful, too.

“They come up with onerous conditions, such as the total forfeiture of monies paid if they do not make it to the ship on time,” he says. “Then they sell expensive insurance which mostly just refunds what the cruise lines should be refunding anyway, and the other coverage is just a run-around with the cruise insurers interpreting the coverage against the law to make all the ambiguities favorable to the insurer so they do not pay.”

Cruise contracts also allow for some “incredibly unreasonable, negligent things” such as the Costa Concordia disaster, without paying customers for damages.

Is there a worst offender, though?

I put that question to University of Pennsylvania law professor Tom Baker. His answer: they’re all bad.

“The entire industry has one-sided contract provisions that penalize travelers whose plans change,” he told me, adding, “This is definitely an area where some consumer protection would really help.”

More laws? Yep.

“Ordinary contract law is not up to the challenge because courts typically enforce contracts as they are written,” he says. “And travel contracts are always written by travel service providers in a way that protects their interests — not the consumers.”

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OEPJGQPIEB75YYDE5CJY6R3VFE Carver Clark Farrow II

    I think its a toss up between airlines and cruises.  I voted airlines although I suspect that if more people cruised, it would get more votes.

    I don’t think that the average hotel or car rental contract is particularly onerous.  Rather than using outlier situations, your should consider the statistical norm, i.e. the average reservation.

    Consider, hotels and car rentals generally allow bookings without deposits.  Car rentals don’t even always require a credit card.  Both have relatively reasonable cancellation policies on average.

    Airline rules are normed around a non-refundable, non-transferable ticket.  Plus, I know of no other industry that monitors your use of a purchased product for compliance.  Throw-away tickets, hidden cities, etc. are somehow “illegal”.  Even the term is purposely misleading to imply that one is breaking the law by not using the return half of a ticket.

  • TonyA_says

    Both airline and cruise contracts are not customer friendly. Cruise contract are IMO worse because there is almost no LAW once those ships hit international waters (these ships are not registered in the USA). At least our airlines are US common carriers no matter where they go, except that they (and we) are bound by the Montreal (or Warsaw) Convention for flights outside the USA.

    I would like to point out that for airlines, in addition to the contract of carriage, your rights are spelled out also by law (DOT and FAA rules) and the fare tariff. The later means that the MORE you pay the MORE ‘rights’  you have or the more non-restrictive your ticket becomes. As a travel consultant I do read the fare tariffs and try to use them in favor of my clients. But, I have experienced more and more times when airline customer service personnel  either do not bother to read their own tariff rules or are too incompetent to understand English and do not bother to enforce the right rules.

    Here’s one case in point. Cathay Pacific is one of the so-called best (five star rated) airlines in the World. This year most of the fare tariff rules changed – they began to allow OPEN RETURNS. The tariff plainly states OPEN RETURNS PERMITTED. Today, the GDS will autoprice an open return ticket correctly and will presumably issue one. To make sure my passengers would not be inconvenienced, I called Cathay Pacific. Their toll free number was busy the whole morning and afternoon! I finally was able to talked to a lady with real broken Chinese English early in the evening. I asked her if I could get an open return ticket at the lower fare classes subject to the rules that are published. She flatly told me NO, but then in the next second she said she could sell me one but at a higher fare. I asked here what class and she said “Y class”. I asked her then why does Cathay Pacific publish fare rules that allow for OPEN RETURNS for lower classes. She repeated to tell me that if I want open return I will need to buy Y-class tickets from her. OK, my point is it does not seem airline employees bother to read their own tariff rules. If so, then how do I enforce my rights. Do I have to take them to court just to buy a ticket that the rules say I can buy?

    Makes me wonder what the RULES ARE THERE FOR, if the airline employees don’t even bother to keep up with them? IMO the decay of service is largely caused by NON ENFORCEMENT of the rules. I think the government agencies we have that enforce the rules have been so weakened (by lobbying of industry) that they have become invisible. It seems that all the monies are now going to TSA to enforce rules that are so passenger unfriendly. If this trend keeps on going, I’m not sure what will be left of the TRAVEL industry. I think it will just be the TRANSPORTATION industry.

  • emanon256

    I vote for none of the above.  I think the worst contracts in travel are those written by Travel Insurance providers.

  • john4868

    I voted cruiselines … Let’s see. They don’t have to sail to any of the destinations they advertised, have any of the amenities they advertised, depart on time or return on time. They can toss you at any point they want without refund or means to return you to the point of origin. For the most part, the ships themselves are foreign territory so US law doesn’t apply only the country of flagging or maritime law.

    Airlines are annoying but for the most part they have to get you to the point they agree to deliver you to or they owe you your money back.

  • Hunter45

    I too have to go with travel insurance providers.  I have not used a rental car in possibly eight years and no problems.  Fortunately I have had no issues with hotels.  My experience with airlines has been mostly ok.  I have NO experience with cruise lines and I have decided that I don’t want to.  

  • ExplorationTravMag

    What’s that? Oh no, please, don’t all get up at once. <====  This is good stuff right here!  My first laugh of the day!
    Thanks, Chris!

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Not to side track you but…  I was wondering the best way to get hold of you.  I was hoping to talk to you about something to do with my magazine.

  • TonyA_says

     By email. tabreu1604 AT G M A I L dot com

  • http://twitter.com/ClaireWalter ClaireWalter

    “All of the above” should be an option too. I’ll bet it would win.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    The most annoying example to me is that airlines can lose your stuff and not have to pay for it. That’s an incredibly basic one right there.

    With many of the others, it’s not really the terms of the contract that are problematic but the abuses thereof.  Of course hotels should be able to bill for legitimate damages after the fact. Acts of God damaging a rental aren’t any different than accidents that aren’t the renter’s fault or rocks hitting the windshield–somebody is going to be on the hook and it makes the most sense for it to be the person who had possession of the car at the time.  And if I had my own cruise ship, you better believe I’d have a provision that I wasn’t on the hook for a full refund if some calamity prevented me from taking you to the original destination because I can’t control if there’s going to be a dock fire, natural disaster or some other calamity.

  • TonyA_says

    I agree!

    ADDED: You can include the OTAs while we are at it.

  • y_p_w

    Certainly the big deal now that we didn’t necessarily deal with 30 years ago is the credit card preauthorization.  Now one can get tagged for minibar bills, damages (I’ve seen entire price lists for hotel rooms items like remotes and bath robes), car rental damage, late checkout fees, etc.  You agree to this ahead of time or else you don’t get the room or rental.  I guess it’s still possible to pay ahead with cash for a hotel room.

    The one thing that worries me is that a restaurant tip can theoretically be added after the fact on the credit card receipt.  I usually tip in cash and cross out the tip line, but I’m thinking the occasional customer who tips in cash doesn’t bother and can open up to possible abuse.

  • TonyA_says

    If the contracts are all bad (according to a UPENN law professor), then ADVOCACY means helping people not get screwed by the travel industry. It suggests PREVENTION is the key to not getting screwed or getting less screwed. In other words people need help BEFORE they buy anything because after they buy, the buyer has very little recourse but to suffer a lousy fate since the contracts are so onerous. Therefore, good PLANNING is very important.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_HMW3OTJSBDWWRKIEKEKWWM7BEA bc

    I came here to say the same thing. Of all the “I thought I was okay but gotcha later” stories about travel insurance seem to be the worst.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OEPJGQPIEB75YYDE5CJY6R3VFE Carver Clark Farrow II

     Those a two different scenarios.  The rock in the windshield is about paying for damages which is about fault.  Should the renter be responsible or is it normal wear and tear that just part of the cost of doing business.

    Cruise ship refunds are particularly onerous because its about non-performance.  Only in the travel industry can you not perform your agreed task and still keep the money. 

    As a rule, if you fail to perform your part of the contract, even if its not your fault, you don’t get to keep the benefits.  I just put an airplane reservation on hold.  I have to pay for it by midnight.  If I miss that deadline, even if its not my fault, I lose the option to purchase that ticket.

  • bodega3

    Right now I would vote for cruise lines.  The airlines are second.

    For cruises, we no longer take them.  Too many restrictions on what we can bring onboard to make our vacation more enjoyable just because they want the onboard revenue. 

  • Steve_in_WI

    I have no experience with cruises, but here are my thoughts on the other three:

    I think hotel rooms are clearly the least restrictive – you almost always have the options of booking a reservation that you are free to cancel (often up until the day of your arrival), and booking a refundable room is typically only a bit more expensive than a prepaid, nonrefundable reservation. (Contrast that with the airlines, where a refundable ticket is usually several times more expensive than one that’s nonrefundable). My biggest problem with hotels, contract-wise, is that they sell their rooms based on options like number of beds, smoking/nonsmoking, etc, and then give you a disclaimer that says “we don’t have to give you the room you asked for.”

    IMHO, the problem with car rentals isn’t typically the contract – it’s unscrupulous locations that lie about insurance requirements, charge unsuspecting renters for damage that was pre-existing, etc. It does bother me that rental car companies reserve the right to charge for “damage” that is really just wear and tear. Any car is going to have a few scratches after it’s been on the road for a year or two.

    I think airlines are clearly worse than hotels or rental cars, and the biggest reason for that is holding customers to a much higher standard than themselves. If you accidentally book the wrong flight, chances are they’re going to shrug and say “you shouldn’t have made a mistake – here, we’ll fix it for you, but that’ll be a $150 change fee.” If they mistakenly publish a too-good-to-be-true fare, though, you can bet they won’t honor it. Similarly, even though the ticket you buy is nonrefundable, they’ll reserve the right to change the time of your flight or even cancel it entirely. If weather delays or cancels your flight, you get nothing (which in itself is reasonable – you can’t blame the airlines for that); if weather or traffic or car trouble delays you in getting to the airport and you miss your flight, it’s “you should have left sooner.”

  • http://profile.yahoo.com/2NZAJ6KPWUWJV23TTE3TNBMJZI Trudi

    I’ve voted for cruises, in spite of the fact that I’ve never been on a cruise. Reason? I’ve never heard a single cruise story without some horror story attached. I’ve been scared away from the industry. I fly knowing I may end up with a problem, but I try to get direct flights and pack with care. I rent cars reading the fine details, asking questions, getting things in writing, and taking photos of the car before I leave the parking spot. Hotels, I just argue with and generally end up okay. Cruises scare the bejeebies out of me, though.

  • SooZeeeQ

    No box for Travel Insurance and I have seen only ONE success story published.

  • john4868

    Trudi going to end that your string… I’ve taken 3 cruises. Like any vacation there were things about all three I’d change but no horror stories. Headed on #4 after Christmas this year

  • Joe Farrell

     I had an extensive argument with a United Airlines supervisor over their [non-existent] change fee –


    Facts are simple:
    Booked a ticket April 4 for travel June 9

    They changed the travel times so I had a 35 min connection in Houston – I said I don’t think so – I’m not going to be at the end of the reaccomodation list on a Saturday. 

    I called May 5 after getting the email that they changed the flight.   I saw flights that were available on their website as having free ticket availability at the mileage level I needed. 

    I called more than 21 days out.  There is no change fee for award tickets same class of service and same travel day.  She tried to tell me that ALL tickets have a change fee. I disagreed – was transferred to a US agent who also told me there was change fee.

    I asked her where it said that.  She pulled up the same page I have – and I asked her which fact applied.  she then said that there was a HIDDEN rule that if you change it for any reason – I said I don’t think so – we have a contract and hidden terms are not enforceable.

    I then waited for 75 minutes on hold for the Call Center master supervisor – who looked at the facts and said there is no change fee under these facts  and she made the change without any fuss other than spending 130 on the phone with UAL reservations.   She also said waiting for the next flight, even if it is 3 hours later, is the right call since it can take 20 minutes a full fast walk to get from distant gates at IAH.  And thats from the time you get off the airplane – which means it can be 30 minutes if you have a seat in the back – which means they’d close the door and we’d be stuck. 

    You tell me that is not a money grab . . . . pay us or wait on hold for 2 hours / / /

  • Joe Farrell

    I’m telling ya that under a cruise line contract they can put you in a dinghy, give you a tour of the harbor, come back and drop you right back at the pier and under their contract of carriage they have satisfied their obligation to you.  In fact  – they don’t even have to put you in the dinghy – just show it to you.    Anyone who gives their money to a cruise line gets exactly what they contracted for – every single time – no matter how bad the experience may be.  I’m actually rather surprised that with the Concordia disaster that the passengers did not get a bill for the lifeboat excursion . . .

  • Joe Farrell

     What you CAN do is when you leave the hotel and sign the bill [and make sure you ALWAYS sign the bill] is add a statement to the bill:

    “I hereby revoke all consent to charge any credit card on file for this reservation subsequent to charging said authorized card for $XXX.”

    THEN if they try to charge you, they just violated not only their contract with the card issuer but also the law . . .

  • TonyA_says

    Yeah they don’t read their own [rules] website. It says NO CHANGE FEE if Changing the departure to a date/time 21 days away or more. Similar thing happened to my younger brother on a paid ticket he was willing to pay to reissue while overseas. The local office (of the airline) called the US ticket office and wanted him to pay for a one-way ticket back home instead of just the difference in fare and reissue fee. Yup, sounds to me like a money grab.I have had many quarrels regarding WRITTEN airline rules (in tariff). I have given up. IMO, there is really no more meaningful consumer protection. It is simply buyer beware. You just try your best not to get screwed.

  • Linda

     Trudi, I’ve been on 23 cruises, have #24 booked, and have never had a horror story to tell. Were some ports changed due to weather? Yes. One cruise had a delayed departure because of 2 medical emergencies on the previous cruise the necessitated the ship returning to Hawaii. We were well compensated for the delay. It was the first (and last) time I’ve left the ship and they gave me money back! Some cruises were  better than others, but now I know which is my favorite line and will save the money to go on them.

  • emanon256

    I thought I had read somewhere in the rules at one point that if there is a schedule change, they will waive the change fee to re-book you.  Not that there should have been a change fee on the award ticket anyway, but had it been a paid ticket, and the schedule changed, it too should have been waived.
    Rule 24, Section C:
    C) Change in Schedule – When a Passenger’s Ticketed flight is affected because of a Change in Schedule, UA will, at its election, arrange one of the following:
    1) Transport the Passenger on its own flights, subject to availability, to the Destination, next Stopover point, or transfer point shown on its portion of the Ticket, without Stopover in the same class of service, at no additional cost to the Passenger;
    2) At UA’s discretion, reroute Passengers over the lines of one or more carriers in the same class of service when a Change in Schedule results in the cancellation of all UA service between two cities;
    3) Advise the Passenger that the value of his or her Ticket may be applied toward future travel on United within one year from the date of issue without a change or reissue fee; or
    4) If the Passenger is not transported as provided in C) 1) or 2) above and does not choose to apply the value of his or her Ticket toward future travel as provided in C) 3) above, the Passenger will be eligible for a refund upon request. See Rule 27 A).

  • john4868

    “I’m actually rather surprised that with the Concordia disaster that the passengers did not get a bill for the lifeboat excursion . . .”

    Thanks Joe I needed a laugh!

  • TonyA_says

    Hi Trudi, since you have cruised a lot, help me (or us) understand why you enjoy it so much. What is the magic behind being on a huge chunk of metal floating in the sea together with 3,000 other folks for a week or two and being served by poor workers from third-world countries?

  • TonyA_says

    While I wholeheartedly agree with you, I do have the feeling that a great majority of travel insurance are sold via checkbox(es) when one buys an airline ticket (or another travel product). That kind of mindless selling and buying can lead to a huge misunderstanding about what travel insurance is good for.

  • DavidYoung2

    At some point, ‘Big Government’ is going to have to step in and say, “Boys, be fair or we will mandate the contracts.”  Right now they have no incentive to be reasonable (ie, Spirit Ripoff’s $100 carry-on fee.)

    Just the threat of the Big Dog mandating a more consumer friendly contract should rein them in a little.

  • Linda

     Trudi hasn’t cruised at all. I’m the one who has happily cruised a lot. Cruising gives you the opportunity to visit several places, although usually short visits, without having to pack & unpack every couple of days. If you’re on the ‘right’ cruiseline, you’re treated very well. Cabin service twice a day, more food (and good food) than anyone could possible eat, entertainment, and just being on the water, which I love. You will never find me on a mega ship. I much prefer the smaller ones. My favorite line only carries 694 passengers and the crew is absolutely the best! Friendly, helpful, and accessible. This includes the Captain, who you see frequently throughout each day, even if it’s only to advise on his favorite flavor of ice cream. I never feel confined.

    Don’t knock it if you haven’t tried it.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OEPJGQPIEB75YYDE5CJY6R3VFE Carver Clark Farrow II

    WTF.  That doesn’t make any sense.  You signed a contract when you agreed to take the room.  Since when can you unilaterally change the terms of the contract.  I am dying to know which law you are referring to.

  • TonyA_says

    Thanks for your prompt answer but I’ll pass. I also love (warm) water and used to sail when I lived in the Pacific. Maybe 100 pax is fine. I might be treated a bit better than a commodity. But even 700 is a bit too much for me especially if there are the usual drunken fools. Hard to change my mind and go somewhere else if I’m stuck on the boat. Travel insurance won’t refund for obnoxious cruise mates. Didn’t mean to be snobbish, just want to have a quiet holiday.

  • john4868

    @TonyA_says:disqus Tony at least for me… its a week long vacation where I get to visit mulitple locations and only have to unpack once. My wife and I did Carnival once and wouldn’t do it again because of the college party atmosphere. With kids, we now choose DCL for their kids program and larger cabins (5 of us).

    With DCL being higher end, better food and Disney-ish service (somewhere between the parks and a “normal” cruiseline).

    Its a choice and not for everyone. If you are a B&B on the beach type definately not for you. If you are a mega resort type, might be worth a try.

  • Rosered7033

    Need an “Travel Insurance” tick box, but the cruiselines are a close second.  I’ve always bought insurance, thankfully never had to use it; I’m booked on my (15th? 16th?) cruise and only ever missed one port because of the hurricane in NY last August (the ship did leave port early and many were not able to meet up with it because of the Jones Act).  I spent 90+ minutes comparing insurance policies for a trip last February and became somewhat educated about what the Travel Stores (Apple, Funjet) and resorts offer, as compared to insurance websites (used the one that Christopher Elliott recommends), and next time I probably won’t need to spend nearly as long to figure things out.  But I’ve read enough here to know the contracts favor the companies for all the above.

  • Cybrsk8r

    My guess is that if more people went on cruises, cruises would “win” in a landslide.

  • emanon256

    The worst ones are when the check boxes are pre checked, I always try to find those and uncheck them.  I wonder how many people fall for that?

  • TonyA_says

    I have a feeling that these are the bulk of online travel insurance sales. Also I doubt if more than 5% of travel insurance purchasers bother to read the policy at all. I don’t think most people really know what they are insured for when they buy these things. I sell travel insurance and I always have to remind people that insurance will only pay what they actually LOST and it must be for a valid and covered reason. If the airline ticket can be cancelled or changed after paying a penalty fee, then only the fee is the LOST amount. Hardly a good reason to pay $45 or more to fight for a $150 change fee.

    The biggie is the cruise money since that could be for several thousands and the cruise line will keep your money if you have to cancel a few days before departure. Another reason to stay away from money-grabbing monsters. I can go around Asia on Cathay Pacific fares with $100 cancellation penalty and stay in 4/5 star hotels with NO cancellation penalty but I can’t buy a cruise which allows me to cancel for $100. What gives? The best you can get from a cruise line is a re-take if you buy their protection plan (at least 10-12% insurance premium). Now you see why I don’t cruise, I can’t see the upside. I simply fly to where I want to go, stay in chain hotels (so no surprises) all postpaid with cancellation options, and eat and drink well in local restaurants (non corporate owned). If you want to go around in an unfamiliar area, hire car service from the hotel. If I have to pre-pay for a beach resort on peak periods, that’s the exception. If I buy travel insurance it is because I fear I will get hurt or very sick in a foreign country (not the loss of ticket change fee, etc.).

    By the way, after learning how nice Lindblad is, I called them this morning and inquired about the Baja Adventure. It was something I was (personally) interested about since I saw a Rick Bayless show about the area’s food. I also validated my hypothesis about the airline flights to La Paz. It took a while and a supervisor to answer that question. All very professional (and in the USofA). Cheers.

  • Miami510

    I voted: airlines.
    There are many reasons which have been mentioned by both the text and by other posters.  The one that I find most egregious in the contract of carriage is the international agreement whereby the airline’s responsibility for lost or damaged luggage is limited to a pittance determined by weight. 
    Our country is in a position to dictate reasonable remuneration and insist on this for any foreign airlines that fly to the United States.  Travelers all over the world would agree and be better for such changes.
    The problem in enacting such changes is the power of the air line association’s lobby; powerful by virtue of its money and they cater to congress.  A call to any American airline from a congressional office can get a seat on any flight irrespective of the unavailability of seats. 

  • TonyA_says

    I think we need a perma-link (sticky) to this post.
    I can’t stop laughing.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    Remember PeoplExpress ?

    They took reservations/bookings without payment & so all flights were overbooked (sometimes 600 people turned up for 500 seats on a 747)

    What a disaster that was.

    Want flexibility ? Then pay dearly for it.

    A fully flexible domestic ticket in Australia, which has a much better airline system, than in the U.S. (although that wouldn’t be hard) can cost 10 times the cost of a cheap ticket. Once you get on the aircraft, it makes no difference.

    So now, many smarter businesses are buying cheap tickets in advance & if they don’t need them, they simply throw them away. If often costs more to change a really cheap ticket, than it cost to buy in the 1st place.

    Some smarter airlines, now offer no refunds whatsoever, for any reason, that’s zero refund, not even on taxes/charges, which are less than change fee, which saves them a fortune in handling costs (our minimum wages & salaries in Australia are much higher than in the U.S. We even pay people a 17.5% loading to take their 4 weeks minimum annual leave !!!) which means cheaper fares.

    The theory being, as labour costs are so high in Australia, if you can’t do it online & someone has to touch it, you’ll pay for it.

    Want to actually talk to someone ? & not have phone answered in India, Phillipines or Sri Lanka.

    One service provider now has a 1900 (which costs something like $2 a minute) to actually talk to someone in Australia in english.

    Apparently, they worked out that most calls to their customer service number were privolous. So 1st they got rid of the 1800 number & then they starting charging $2 a minute.

    Calls dropped, but also people didn’t mind spending $2 a minute, when average call length was around 3 minutes.

    DavidYoung2 if govt gets involved & something gets regulated, costs go up & so do prices. You can’t have it both ways.

  • AUSSIEtraveller

    a quick comment about lost luggage & airlines …

    some airlines now, can’t lose your luggage, as they get you to put it on the aircraft & take it off.

    Saves them a fortune in baggage handling which means cheaper fares.

    With fuel prices going thru the roof, many are encouraging us to carry less stuff ontoaircraft or pay more. Most of us realise, we don’t have to carry 23kg(50lbs) as a minimum. My wife doesn’t need 10 dresses for a 2 day trip.

    So some that have 10-15kg baggage limit included in their cheapest fare, mean that you can carry this much luggage onboard & you don’t have any chance of it getting lost & you don’t have to stand around a baggage carousel for sometimes what seems like an eternity.

  • TonyA_says

    I’m sorry but you need to really object about the Montreal Convention
    97 countries including the USA are signatories to that convention.
    Airlines just love it.

  • 1pop

    I could not vote…the “All of the above” box is missing!

  • Kristina Stonehouse

    Thank you for bringing to light and highlighting
    the different nature of these contracts. It’s definitely something that every traveler should know, though maybe not what they want to hear. I’ve spent the
    afternoon reading your blog and I love that it’s a different take on the kind
    of travel blog format, and of course the fact that everyone can voice their own
    opinion on the feature story and then share their own experiences.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_OEPJGQPIEB75YYDE5CJY6R3VFE Carver Clark Farrow II

    Some hotels won’t rent a room without a credit card. 

  • Lindabator

    Tony, you’ll love it!  I have had several clients on it, and they’ve all just come back amazed.   So we may just get you on a “cruise” yet!  :)

  • Lindabator

    Sorry to hear that – I’ve been on over 50 cruises, almost every cruise line out there, and have never had a major problem.  One or two minor problems, same as I’ve had at resorts.  But have loved the experience, as do many of my clients.  Of course, I also ensure the insurance is something which covers them properly, and that makes a difference as well.  

  • Lindabator

    But you don’t generally find the “Drunken fools” on the smaller niche lines, Tony, which is one of the reasons I prefer them as well.  Not to mention the the fact that there is NO guarantee of a great vacation, just because it is land-based.  I should think this site amply shows that as well!  :)

  • Lindabator

    And of course, there are the smaller lines, the sailing ships, the yachts, the eco-vacation cruises.  There really is an option out there for everyone, most folks just assume “cruising” means the megaships.

  • Lindabator

    But success stories don’t go to Chris, after all.

  • SooZeeeQ

    Yes, and I have seen only one on his site.

  • Lindabator

    Again – SUCCESS stories (of which my clients have a multitude) don’t go to Chris, so you WOULDN’T have heard of them.  Get it?