Why it’s time for air travelers to speak up now

Africa Studio/Shutterstock
Africa Studio/Shutterstock

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Welcome to the second edition of my all-new, redesigned version of Elliott’s E-Mail. Remember, if you’re signed up for this newsletter, you’ll also be getting the Away is Home adventure newsletter on Thursdays, starting soon. Here’s this week’s online version of the Away is Home newsletter. I hope you enjoy it.


Are airfares fair?
Big changes are coming to airfares. Airlines want to “personalize” each price, meaning that only you can book it. (See IATA Resolution 787 for details.) Do you think the current fares are “fair” — and would you book a personalized fare, if it were available? Please send me a note. As always, please included your full name, city and daytime occupation. Your response could be used in my story.

6 best car rental companies of 2013
Last week I asked you to vote for your favorite car rental company. And guess what? Hertz took a commanding lead from the beginning and never let go, crossing the finish line first. Find out who else won.

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 to help if you need me.


The Next Bubble? Travel Loyalty Programs
Did anyone pay attention when Robert Shiller warned about the real estate bubble or Nouriel Roubini sounded the alarm bells about the impending global economic crisis? Probably not as much as they should have. So feel free to ignore this one, too: travel loyalty programs — and particularly airline programs — are a bubble. And it may be about to pop. Read more in my LinkedIn column.

Speak out now on full-body scanners
It’s been almost five years since the Transportation Security Administration quietly began installing its so-called Advanced Imaging Technology (AIT) — better known as full-body scanners — at airports nationwide. And now the government wants to know what you think of the machines. Details are in this week’s Washington Post column.

The 5 Habits of Highly Annoying Customers and How to Avoid Them
The customer is not always right. The squeaky wheel doesn’t necessarily get the grease. Ignorance is not bliss. Those are just the leading annoying behaviors exhibited by consumers. And that’s not all. Read the rest in my weekly Mint.com column.

Random, Unpredictable Airport Security That’s Not Always Awful? Only in America
The TSA screening area at Reno-Tahoe International Airport’s B gates isn’t much to look at. It’s a dark, cavernous processing area with well-worn linoleum floors that almost makes you feel like you’re visiting a relative in prison. But looks can be deceiving. Find out more in my Huffington Post column.


Forced to buy car rental insurance that didn’t cover her
From time to time, a case comes across my desk that gets me turned upside-down, because it doesn’t make sense on so many levels. Julie Yu’s dispute with Dollar is one of them. Here are the details.

Why did T-Mobile charge me an early termination fee?
T-Mobile wants to charge Chad Jones a $200 early termination fee. But wait — isn’t he on a month-to-month plan? He sure is. Or at least, he thinks he is. Find out if he’s right.

When do JetBlue’s vouchers expire? Whenever it says they do
JetBlue is one of only a few airlines that issues flight vouchers when a fare drops after you book it, and if you use a service like Yapta, you can get notified when the price of your ticket falls. But is the voucher worth anything?

Two letters on my ticket cost $300 — are you serious?
Agnes Lednum’s husband’s ticket is missing two little letters — “Jr” — and in order to fix it, her online travel agency wants $300. Is that her only option?


It took almost two decades to build this site and newsletter into one of the leading sources for news and information about customer service and consumer advocacy. We did it the hard way, without fare sales and scammy affiliate links. Just pure advocacy. The next phase will not be easy, but with your help, we can pull it off. Please tell a friend about the site and our online community. I try to help with any customer dispute. If you need me, I’m here.

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 chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.

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