Does the travel industry prey on families?

Peter Kim/Shutterstock
Peter Kim/Shutterstock

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After Eric Kodish finished making his reservation at the Sheraton Princess Kaiulani in Honolulu’s Waikiki Beach for the upcoming Christmas holiday, he tried to tie up one loose end: ensuring the two rooms he’d booked for his family were connected. No problem, a hotel representative said. For an additional $50 a night per room, they’d be happy to guarantee adjoining accommodations. Details are in my USA Today column.


Do you miss any of those merged airlines?
It looks like another airline is about to vanish when American and US Airways merge. But I was wondering: Do you miss any of the old names in aviation that ended with a merger? Northwest Airlines? TWA? Continental? Do you sometimes wish they were still with us? I’d love to know if you do, and why. Here’s my email address. As always, don’t forget include your full name, city and occupation.

Now that was an adventure!
OK, we admit it: We rearranged our schedule to fly Southwest Airlines on Halloween. This holiday is a big deal, and besides, our kids will do anything for trick-or-treat candy at the gate. Here’s what happened.

Become a smarter traveler
Pre-order my new book, How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle). It’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of the travel industry and save lots of time and money. Details are right here. By the way, if you’re heading out somewhere on a trip and need help with something, I’d be happy to email you a draft of a chapter, whether you order the book or not.

Let’s talk!
The stories you see in this newsletter are just a starting point. I hope you’ll take a minute to leave a comment, whether you agree or disagree with something I’ve written. Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google. I’m listening. And of course, I’m also here if you need me. Here’s my email address.


Are you being insulted?
Spend enough time around customer service agents and you understand that what they say and what they mean are often two very different things. That’s never more apparent than when they are talking directly to you. Read the rest in my latest post.

Montana is a sweet adventure on a horse named Skittles
At some point during our stay at Bar W Ranch in Whitefish, Mont. — I’m not sure exactly when — the candy theme hit us like a startled grizzly on a hiking trail. Which is to say, we never saw it coming.

Do travel companies charge too many junk fees?
Susan Jay regrets picking up the phone to make a call from Harrah’s Atlantic City. But she says she had no choice. Her cell phone wasn’t getting a clear signal. When Jay checked out, she discovered three unexpected charges — one for $26 and two for $45. What’s that all about?

Got a travel problem? Ask and you shall receive
After Linda Grimes accidentally cracked the windshield on her uninsured Enterprise rental car, she imagined a worst-case scenario unfolding, including months of back-and-forth between her and the company’s legendary claims department. And it almost did.

Do you think a refund is in the cards?
Bev Eberly’s discount hotel card doesn’t work. How can she get the $50 she’s been promised? Find out.


If you’re attending the Auto Rental Summit in Miami tomorrow, come see my presentation about the things angry customers won’t tell their car rental companies. I promise it’ll be fun. If I can avoid the rotten tomatoes! (Yes, my friends … I put myself in harm’s way for you.)

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 our help forum.

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