Want better airline service? Power up your smartphone

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Liz Owen needed help, and she needed it fast.

She had rescheduled a flight from Washington to Los Angeles on Virgin America to avoid superstorm Sandy, which was about to slam into the East Coast. But she’d forgotten to order a wheelchair.

Owen, who works for a nonprofit organization in Washington, had recently broken her foot, which was in a cast. “I had been on the phone on hold with Virgin America for well over an hour,” she remembers. Halfway to the airport, she decided to send Virgin America a tweet — a message on the microblogging service Twitter.
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Do you trust GPS directions?

If you have a driver’s license, chances are that you also have an amusing story about GPS directions.

Here’s mine: A few weeks ago, my family and I were driving from Cayucos, Calif., to Prescott, Ariz., when I noticed that the needle on the fuel gauge was pointing to “empty.” Not a problem, I thought. There must be plenty of service stations between here and Bakersfield.
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Google’s little flight search problem

Google’s little flight search problem
If you haven’t Googled a flight itinerary recently, you should try it.

Google’s Flight Search, the fledgling search engine that lets you find a ticket and book it directly through an airline, is getting better. Much better.

In recent weeks, the new service has quietly expanded the number of U.S. cities it covers. (It won’t say how many destinations are being served, except that the number has doubled.) Google has also integrated flight searches into its authoritative search results, making them easier to find and use.
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“Scammed” book trailer gets banned by Google

“Scammed” book trailer gets banned by Google

Can a book trailer be too controversial for Google?

That’s the question I was left asking after a trailer for my new book, Scammed: How to Save Your Money and Find Better Service in a World of Schemes, Swindles and Shady Deals posted to YouTube last week.

Within a few minutes, it was deleted without explanation. Then my entire life on Google — including my Gmail account — was suspended.

Was it something I said?
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