I can’t walk, so how can I fly?

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Catherine Brubaker won’t be able to fly from Wichita, Kan., to Fort Myers, Fla., after breaking her ankle. Her ticket is nonrefundable and the airline wants to charge a change fee and fare differential to use the ticket next year. Isn’t there a better way?
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What to do when your airline offends you

1-Screen Shot 2013-12-014Nothing could have prepared Jeff White for the shock he got after printing his boarding pass for a recent Delta Air Lines flight from Pensacola, Fla., to Albany, N.Y., by way of Atlanta. Right there, next to his name, was a confirmation code that proclaimed: “H8GAYS.”

“At first I didn’t think I read it right,” says White, a student at the University of West Florida. “I was worried that another customer might think I somehow picked that code. If I were a gay male, I might have thought that a Delta worker purposely gave me that code, and that would have made me extremely uncomfortable.”

Every day, in ways big and small, airlines offend their customers. Most of these transgressions are fairly minor, from serving the wrong meal to addressing a guest by the incorrect name. But taken together, the incidents raise a larger question: How should companies respond, and what kind of compensation, if any, are travelers entitled to?
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How did 550,000 Hilton points become 55,000 Delta miles? And can you undo it, please?

Serg64/Shutterstock
Serg64/Shutterstock
When Gale Flake tries to convert his Hilton points to Delta SkyMiles, something gets lost in the translation. Can the conversion be undone?

Question: I recently read your story about how persistence pays and it inspired me to write to you about my problem with Delta and Hilton HHonors. I’m a gold member of HHonors, Hilton’s loyalty program, and have saved for many years to plan a trip to Paris. I have accrued 550,000 points, and wanted to redeem them for a flight.

I called Hilton and they suggested that I contact Delta to handle the transaction. I did. At the end of the transaction, I learned that I’d been reduced to 55,000 Delta miles.
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What’s the correct compensation for this Delta flight delay?

Eugene Berman / Shutterstock.com
Eugene Berman / Shutterstock.com
John Esser’s recent return flight north “headed south,” so to speak. He’d like the airline to make things right.

But what’s right?

Esser was flying from Los Angeles to Detroit on Delta flight 1806 on Sept. 18.

“This flight was specifically chosen due to an obligation I had that evening at my son’s school at 7 p.m.,” he says.

Needless to say, he didn’t make it.

Although the flight was scheduled to leave at 9:30 a.m., a series of mechanical delays kept the plane waiting at the gate several hours before it was finally canceled.
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