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□ SOCIAL NETWORK OF THE WEEK
You’re gonna want to follow me over on Twitter right now. Seriously. Just do it! I’ll tell you why: It’s one component of a really cool and innovative multi-media, multi-platform initiative that I’m starting soon. It’ll be fun. Promise!
□ WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Would you approve of the latest airline merger?
What if you could make the final call on the proposed merger between American and US Airways? It’s not a hypothetical question — at least not entirely. I explain everything in this post. But I’m also very interested in your thoughts. If you could either approve or disapprove the merger, what would you do? And why? As always, don’t forget to include your full name, city and daytime occupation. Your response could be used in my story.
You’re invited to a big party!
I’m thrilled to be hosting our first Away is Home #Familytravel reunion about summer road trips, in advance of the Memorial Day holiday. What’s a #Familytravel Reunion? Well, simply put, it’s a big online event — starring you. Here are the details. Of course, you can find the whole gang on Away is Home and you can follow us on Twitter or Facebook. But let me also point you to a few of this week’s favorite stories: Our confessions of driving across the country in clunker, our fears of traveling with a tween, and our destination of the day, Daytona Beach, Fla.
Talk to me
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.
□ THIS WEEK’S BIG FEATURES
Memorial Day secrets of a consumer advocate
One of the busiest days of shopping is just around the corner. And if this Memorial Day is anything like last year, chances are you’ll be heading to the mall or out of town on a trip. Read what you need to know in my Mint.com column.
The dangers of dynamic currency conversion
Processing a credit card charge for overseas purchases used to be pretty simple. You swiped your card while on vacation, your bank changed the money from pesos or euros into greenbacks, and the amount you’d spent appeared on your bill. Maybe you paid a small conversion fee, but you also got a competitive exchange rate. But not anymore. Find out why in my Washington Post column.
□ MY MOST-COMMENTED STORY
No compensation for Air Force One delay
Here’s a complaint you don’t see every day. It comes to us by way of Alex Johnston, who was flying from San Francisco to Charlottesville, Va., via Washington on United Airlines. Find out more.
□ POSTS YOU DON’T WANT TO MISS
Sick restaurant surcharges you shouldn’t have to pay — or should you?
Ward Chartier almost choked on his breakfast croissant he ordered at Oakland International Airport recently.
The reason for his consternation: an item on the bill that he thought he recognized, but hoped he didn’t. It said, “EmpBen_Srchg” and it came to 12 cents, or about 2 percent of his bill. Find out what it was.
No hope for an airline ticket refund – or is there?
An American Airlines passenger is trying to help my sister get a refund on her daughter’s non-refundable airline ticket. The circumstances seem desperate. Does she deserve one?
What does Marriott owe me for a reflagging nightmare?
When Donna Larkin booked a room at the Hotel Ashbourne Marriott near Dublin last year, she had no way of knowing it was about to change owners. Or that some of the information on the hotel’s former website was less than accurate.
But that’s exactly what happened when she and her family arrived in Ireland for a two-week visit. The hotel was no longer a Marriott and it wasn’t as close to Dublin as promised. And that’s not all.
Did Sprint break its “buyback” promise?
After a reader is forced to cancel his Sprint account because he moved to an area where he didn’t get service, he tries to get some of his money back. It’s not that easy. Find out if he gets anything.
It’s time to tell the TSA what you really think of it — and for it to listen
Travelers love to complain about the TSA, and even though the agency assigned to protect America’s transportation systems claims to listen, most of us know better. Don’t believe me? Try sending the agency an email, complaining about your last pat-down. Do you hear the sound of crickets?
□ MY PARTING SHOT
As we head into the insanely busy Memorial Day weekend, I’d like to wish you and your family very safe travels. Please be alert out there and come back alive. Don’t forget to tune in to our Memorial Day travel party on Thursday at 6 p.m. Eastern Time. I’ll see you there.