This is the online edition of Elliott’s E-Mail, my free weekly newsletter. Please join me Tuesday at 10 a.m. EDT for Travel Live, a half-hour conversation across Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Tune in to the hashtag #travel at 10 a.m., and I’ll explain the rest. Our topic: When travel companies invoke and “Act of God” to deny you a room, transportation or cruise. At 10:30 a.m., I’ll do a live YouTube broadcast, which will be archived on my channel.
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□ WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Has a travel company every invoked an “Act of God” in the wrong way?
We’re heading into that time of the year when thunderstorms and hurricanes throw a wrench in our travel plans. But has an airline, hotel, car rental company or cruise line ever invoked the weather or some other natural disaster in a way that didn’t make sense, or seemed inappropriate? I’m writing a story about the right way, and the wrong way, to invoke the ol’ force majeure clause. As always, please include your full name, city and occupation.
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.
□ POSTS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
Top 5 Industries That Bring the Lowest Customer Satisfaction Scores
Which industries deliver the lowest customer satisfaction scores? If you guessed airlines or cable TV, I’m sorry to disappoint you. It’s newspapers, according to the latest American Customer Satisfaction Index. Yep, newspapers. Here’s why.
“You are running a scam”
Maybe I should have said “no” to the case. All the warning signs were there. The complaint involved an experienced hotel guest who checked his luggage at the front desk of a chain property in Irving, Texas. One of the bags had gone missing, and the traveler filed a claim for thousands of dollars above the property’s legal limit of liability — one clearly disclosed on his receipt and written into Texas lodging law. But I didn’t. Find out what happened next.
Can you trust the cruise lines’ new passenger “bill of rights”?
Maybe it was the string of customer-service disasters, starting with the Costa Concordia tragedy last year and leading up to the recent Carnival Triumph “poop” cruise, on which passengers were left adrift in the Gulf of Mexico for five days without working toilets. Maybe it was the threat of government regulation from Sen. Charles Schumer (D.-N.Y.), a vocal critic of the cruise industry, that made it move. Then again, maybe we should just take the cruise industry at its word on its decision, announced just before the Memorial Day holiday, to introduce a passenger “bill of rights.” Read more.
I had an aneurysm, but British Airways is keeping my money
After Gavin King suffers an aneurysm and misses his flight to England, British Airways decides to keep his money. Requests for a refund or credit go unanswered. Looks like a case for the Travel Troubleshooter.
Oh no! JetBlue breaks guitars, too?
Add the word “breaks guitars” after any company, and everyone knows exactly what you’re talking about. “Breaks guitars” is synonymous with terrible service, bureaucracy and corporate arrogance. And you’d expect an airline to be particularly sensitive to it. Then again, maybe not.
□ MY PARTING SHOT
I’ve received a few questions about the direction of this site during the last few days. Some of you noticed a more streamlined design and a new list of contributors in our about page. This site is evolving in its effort to help consumers. And this is just the beginning. The end result will be a better site and newsletter that will be more responsive to your needs. I hope you’ll support this effort by becoming an underwriter. We need you!