Surprise! Airline employees go above and beyond


This is the online edition of Elliott’s E-Mail, my free weekly newsletter.


Airlines and bad service. The two kinda go together, right? Wrong. This isn’t another story about airlines treating us like self-loading toxic cargo, which is apparently what some crewmembers now call us. Read more in my latest USA Today column.


Please join me every Monday morning for The Christopher Elliott Show, an irreverent half-hour conversation on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus. Here’s yesterday’s show, in which I talk about why people don’t want to avoid the crowds this summer. Tune in to the hashtag #elliottshow and then catch the live YouTube broadcast on my channel.


What’s the most crowded place you’ve ever vacationed? And did you have a good time?
I’m working on a story about how sometimes, following the crowd can have its advantages. After all, when everyone else is in, say Ocean City, Maryland, the stores are fully staffed and there are festivals every weekend or so. I’m working on a story about this subject, and would love to include your comment. Please send me an email. As always, don’t forget include your full name, city and occupation.

Wanna become the world’s smartest traveler?
I know you do. Then do this now: 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.


Should you ever take your kids on a business trip?
We think we know the answer at Away is Home — but do you? Here’s the incendiary, controversial setup. Now you can tell us what terrible parents we are for calling our son “Baby Barfy.” Also, is there a sea monster in the water at St. Pete Beach. Why don’t you ask our son, Iden?

Hey, how about a refund for that airline fee?
Here’s a question that’s been on my mind — and maybe yours, too — since the revelation that airlines collected a
record $27 billion in fees last year, a staggering 19.6 percent increase from 2011: Do they ever offer to refund those extra charges? Here’s the answer.

Is JetBlue scaring passengers into buying travel insurance?
If you’re a frequent flier, maybe you’ve already been roughed up by an airline, rhetorically speaking. I try to stay away from planes myself. I fly very infrequently and I book airline tickets even less. Maybe it’s because something like this could happen.

3 secrets for finding any CEO’s email address
Verdi Kostanjsek was stuck. She’d tried to check in for a recent Spirit Airlines flight from Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, to San Diego, and wasn’t allowed on the plane because the airline claimed she was too late. Kostanjsek and her husband had to pay another airline $1,500 to fly home. If she only had the CEOs email address.


We’ll be attending an industry conference at the Peabody in Orlando later this week. If you happen to be there, please stop by and say hello. We’ll all be there. (We never learn, do we?)

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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  • victoria findley

    I loved reading the article about the airline people going the extra mile to help the folks with family deaths. I think we all are so accustomed to the negative. It is refreshing to read the good stuff. I know there are some pretty miserable airline employes out there. They are not all like that.. .. Thanks for sharing a little sunshine today