Is ignorance bliss when it comes to passenger rights?

Wanchai/Shutterstock
Wanchai/Shutterstock
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□ IS IGNORANCE BLISS WHEN IT COMES TO PASSENGERS’ RIGHTS?

Beyond the fact that you don’t have too many, what do you know about your rights as an airline passenger? If you said “not much,” then you’re in good company. I’ll explain why in my USA Today column.

□ WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Has your trip been disrupted by the government shutdown?
I’m working on a story about the shutdown, and how it’s affecting travelers. Please send me your stories of delays and your adventures of dealing with the U.S. government.  As always, don’t forget include your full name, city and occupation.

Does the travel industry prey on families?
From surcharges that hit families the hardest, like airline luggage fees, to special surcharges that only a family would pay, some families feel they’re being unfairly singled out by the travel industry. Have you ever felt that way when you’re traveling with your kids? Please let me know.

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.

□ POSTS YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO MISS

Should you ever apologize to a company?
Ever apologized to a business? If you said “never,” then maybe you don’t have kids. Read the rest in my latest Mint.com post.

Hey travelers, where’s your bar?
I’m packing for my first solo trip in a while. No kids. No cats. No Chris. Yeah, I’m excited. It’s probably the whole traveling-without-the-tribe thing. Kari explains on our family travel blog, Away is Home.

Mad about travel? Then you probably shouldn’t read this
It’s the time of year when the days get shorter and my mood grows darker.
And I’ll be honest: that government shutdown, the legislative gridlock and the shoot-out at the Capitol aren’t exactly the kind of pick-me-ups I was looking for. It’s probably not the best occasion to write a mission statement, but who cares?

TSA’s new Pre-Check programs raises major privacy concerns
When the Transportation Security Administration’s Pre-Check formally launches sometime this fall, its trusted-traveler program will already have the enthusiastic endorsement of frequent travelers — and an equally enthusiastic denouncement from privacy advocates. Here are the details.

Bumped, but where’s my voucher?
Delta promises Shirin Vakharia a flight voucher if she volunteers to take another flight. She does — but where’s the scrip? Find out.

Hey, where did my Sprint discount go?
When Denise Mendoza “upgrades” her Sprint account, the discount she had for years is gone. Is there any way to get it back? Maybe, maybe not.

My Hawaii vacation rental is infested with ants – can I get a partial refund?
Maybe David and Mary Sue Conner didn’t tell their rental homeowner they were in Oahu for a family vacation of a lifetime. But when you drop $25,000 for a one-month stay in Hawaii, and the whole ohana is there, that probably goes without saying: this is a special event, and everything needs to be perfect. It was not perfect.

□ MY PARTING SHOT

This is going to be an interesting week. It’s Dad vs. three kids. Kari is out traveling solo. I’m outnumbered, but I will keep filing stories and blog posts until they pry my keyboard out of my cold, dead hands. (I’m kidding — this should all end peacefully, as long as I do exactly as I’m told. Right?)

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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