Locked out of the parking lot at Newark – can I get a refund?

Cynthia Farmer/Shutterstock
Cynthia Farmer/Shutterstock
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 reading…

151 Comments


Hey United, there are two Charlestons — learn to tell ‘em apart

charlestonDon’t get your Charlestons confused. United Airlines did, and look at where it got Mo Shah and his family.

I’m not sure if his problem, which involves a series of unfortunate events at the airport leading to an abbreviated anniversary celebration, is fixable. But there’s plenty to learn for those of us watching from the sidelines. (And who knows, maybe the airline will do the right thing?)

If nothing else, Shah’s case shows the need to be very specific when you’re dealing with air travel arrangements. Otherwise you could end up missing your plane. Or flying to the wrong continent.
Continue reading…

131 Comments


Sick restaurant surcharges you shouldn’t have to pay — or should you?

Ilolab/Shutterstock
Ilolab/Shutterstock
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.

“I interpret this to be employee benefit surcharge,” says Chartier, a consultant who lives in San Ramon, Calif. He asked me if I knew anything about the mysterious fee.

I didn’t, so I asked Oakland Airport.
Continue reading…

103 Comments


Is my 15-year-old son a terrorist?

Yganko/Shutterstock
Yganko/Shutterstock
It’s every parent’s worst nightmare. You arrive at the airport to fly home from your family vacation, and something goes wrong — terribly wrong — at the TSA screening area.

It happened to Susan Bruce recently when she flew from Phoenix to Dallas with her husband, teenage son and daughter.

“When we got to security, my son went first in line through the X-ray machine and TSA flagged him for the hand swab test,” she remembers. “While the rest of the family was stuck on the other side of the X-ray machine, my son was pulled aside for supposedly having a positive result for explosives.”

Bruce, who lives in Dallas and is a mathematician by training and a homemaker, is certain it was a misunderstanding. Her son is no terrorist, she says. He’s a clean-cut honor student.
Continue reading…

206 Comments