These trips were saved! A look back at the cases we’ve solved together

Remember the first “Can this trip be saved”?

It was last August, and I asked you to vote on the merits of a case involving an 18-year-old airline passenger who had been stranded in Iceland. Many of you said you wanted to help me decide which problems to mediate — and which ones to turn down — and it seemed worth a try.

Well, it worked. And how!

“Can this trip be saved?” is the most popular feature on this site, no question about it. If I’d known how much you liked to lend a hand with the ombudsmaning, I would have tried this much sooner.

Oh yeah, and that poor kid who was stuck in Iceland? You voted “yes,” and I fixed it for him.

Here’s a look back at some of the memorable cases you helped me solve.

Sorry, no money back for you. Here’s a tough refund case from Ann and Dave Vaninetti, whose return flight from Brazil got screwed up a few months ago. Their airline tried to resolve it, but ended up refund the wrong ticket. You urged me to jump in. I did, and they got the correct refund.

The flat tire rule returns. I thought the airlines’ unofficial “flat tire” rule had been eliminated, so when Ana de Pascht asked for a refund from US Airways after she missed her flight, it said no. I thought the “no” might be correct, but a US Airways employee assured me it wasn’t. This was definitely a team effort, with readers, employees and the DOT making sure she was taken care of.

That’s no Budget rental. After an oil filter problem, Budget broadsided one of its customers with a $8,381 bill. Should the customer pay? You said: no way! I contacted Budget, and it backed off.

Damage at the Alamo. Car rental damage claims can be a mess. Here’s one where it wasn’t clear if the renter had damaged the car or not. You urged me to press Alamo to reconsider. I did — and it did.

Only a fraction of the cases I bring to you every week are voted up, and even when they are, it’s sometimes difficult to mediate them. But this has been a valuable exercise for me.

Your input is incredibly valuable, even when you disagree with the OP and you don’t particularly like my position on an issue. Your feedback makes me a better consumer advocate, and I’m grateful to you for the help.

This isn’t the end of the road, but the beginning. I’m soliciting reader feedback on my daily CBS Interactive blog — please drop by and visit me there — and my daily consumer advocacy blog and wiki, On Your Side.

I’ve also recently started a brand-new Facebook page where I’m continuing the conversation. I hope you’ll join me there.

I’m incredibly excited about the future because you are a part of it. Thank you for making the travel industry a better place.

P.S.: Today’s “Can this trip be saved?” is right here. I’ve left the poll open. It’s a close one!

(Photo: Bennet t V/Flickr Creative Commons)

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 . Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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