This is the online edition of Elliott’s E-Mail, my free weekly newsletter. Please join me Tuesday at 11 a.m. EDT for The Christopher Elliott Show, an irreverent half-hour conversation across Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Tune in to the hashtag #elliottshow at 11 a.m. Our topic: When gremlins ruin your trip. At 11:30 a.m., I’ll do a live YouTube broadcast, which will be archived on my channel.
□ THEY DON’T WANT YOU TO DO IT
You know who “they” are, don’t you? The folks in the industry who get called out regularly for providing bad service and substandard products. They wish this site would go away. They don’t want the June fundraiser to be successful and they’d really rather this site and newsletter quietly fold. Don’t let that happen. Here’s how to become an underwriter.
□ WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Ever seen a gremlin?
No, not the kind from the movie Gremlins — I’m talking about those electronic hiccups that makes a hotel, airline or cruise line lose a reservation, or turn it into two reservations, or that forces you to pay twice for the same reservation. What’s your favorite gremlin story, when it comes to travel? Do you have any advice for those of us who might have a problem with a reservation this summer? I’d love to include your thoughts in my story. 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
How to Tell if Your Complaint is Being “Form Lettered”
It was just a matter of time before corporations created the perfect form letter, capable of fooling a veteran consumer advocate. Or you. Here’s how to tell.
Splitting up the family
The glowing red numbers on the bedside table showed a blurry 1:45 a.m. when my eyes popped open. I felt my heart pounding. I looked around. Where were the kids? Find out where on Away is Home, our family travel site.
Hey United, there are two Charlestons — learn to tell ’em apart
Don’t get your Charlestons confused. United Airlines did, and look at where it got Mo Shah and his family. I’m not sure if his problem, which involves a series of unfortunate events at the airport leading to an abbreviated anniversary celebration, is fixable. But there’s plenty to learn for those of us watching from the sidelines. Should I mediate this case?
Is this “convenience” just another scam?
I’m almost never accused of being too neutral, but when I covered a type of foreign currency exchange that affects international travelers recently, that’s exactly what happened. I was writing about a little trick called a dynamic currency conversion (DCC). Here’s why some readers didn’t like the story.
Privacy? There’s no such thing on the road
Recent revelations of the National Security Agency’s sweeping domestic surveillance programs may have angered many Americans, but for most travelers, it was nothing new. Surrendering your right to privacy is the price you pay to travel anywhere in a post-9/11 world. Get the troubling details.
My mother is terminally ill — why won’t Princess refund her cruise?
Shannon Tait’s mother is terminally ill and will miss that Alaska cruise with her sister. Can she get a refund from Princess? Read the surprising answer.
Help, my Hotwire hotel was a construction zone
To say Michael Weaver was unhappy about the hotel he booked through Hotwire recently might be an understatement. He paid for a 4.5-star hotel in South Beach, but instead checked into a construction site. Here’s how Hotwire “fixed” the problem.
□ MY PARTING SHOT
If you haven’t already become an underwriter, I hope you’ll consider doing so today. Our fundraiser ends next week. I hope you’ll support this effort by becoming an underwriter. We need you!