It’s the proverbial man-bites-dog story for consumer reporters: an over-the-top customer service experience in which an employee goes the extra mile.
It’s even more rare — on the order of man-bites-man — to find a proven way to extract the very best service from employees.
I won’t mince words. Men are not biting men.
But a series of recent stories and one reader’s experience give me hope that it’s possible. In other words, you could get superior service every time you go to the store or log on to your computer to go shopping. [continue]
No one ever complains about airport parking lots because these businesses typically say what they do and do what they say. In other words, it’s a place to park.
So when someone does call me about a parking problem, I pay attention. Which is exactly what I did when I heard from Peter Gildenhuys, who recently parked his vehicle at an off-airport parking lot in Newark.
Getting it to the parking lot wasn’t a problem. Getting it off the lot? Problem. [continue]
It’s probably a matter of weeks, if not days, before yet another round of troubling National Security Agency leak stories hit the news. I’m sorry to disagree with a majority of Americans who are outraged by their government’s reckless data dragnet, but I think surveillance is good, at least, if you travel. Details are in my USA Today column.
□ WHAT DO YOU THINK?
Has the government protected travelers in 2013?
Do you feel as if the government has done a good job protecting travelers this year? Do the federal government’s consumer protection agencies, like the Federal Trade Commission and the Transportation Department, have your back? I’d love to get your opinion one way or another. As always, don’t forget include your full name, city and occupation.
Someone should have warned Enterprise before she rented a Toyota Corolla from the car rental company earlier this year. Maybe it wouldn’t have sent her the repair bill, which Kotzin claims was bogus.
Then again, maybe it would have. Hard to know.
Here’s what I do know: Kotzin’s tale of fighting what she believed to be a fraudulent damage bill, is an inspiration to anyone who thinks car rental companies are enriching themselves from frivolous damage claims. [continue]
Like many air travelers, Caitlin Ariens used to play it safe when she flew. She’d arrive at the airport two hours before departure to give herself enough time to check in and go through Transportation Security Administration screening. At this time of year, she might have added another half-hour, just in case she encountered a longer-than-expected line.
But that was before Ariens, a nurse recruiter for a hospital in Austin, discovered a smartphone app called WhatsBusy. It displays an estimated wait time for security at major airports, allowing her to gauge how long she’ll have to wait almost down to the minute.
“It allows me to make the best use of my time,” she says.
WhatsBusy is one of a handful of programs, sites and strategies that will ensure that your next trip doesn’t inspire you to write a sequel to “The Terminal,” the Tom Hanks movie about a man stranded at an airport. And who wants to do that during the busy holiday travel season? [continue]
Is it the chaos that awaits when you pull up to the curb at the airport terminal this time of year? How about the indignity of being screened by the TSA? Or maybe just knowing that you’re paying more but getting so much less?
Now take a deep breath and say it with me: “Thank you.”
As we approach Thanksgiving, I, for one, am feeling grateful.
So is Mary Jo Baas, a consultant from Milwaukee. She sees the upside in the deep cuts in services and amenities, particularly in economy class. [continue]
Eileen Ogintz started traveling with her kids Matt, Melanie and Regina, when they were babies, and she never looked back. She took her children everywhere, from exploring the Galapagos, to hiking in Montana, to sailing the Caribbean. Along the way, she not only created the popular syndicated column Taking the Kids and a travel guidebook series written for children, but also became a role model for other families who want to give their offspring the gift of travel. Ogintz sees herself as a bridge-builder, showing families how they can get there and “helping the travel industry appreciate and better meet the needs of family travelers.” Her latest project is co-creating a series of conferences which bring together those who write, blog and influence family travel. [continue]