When Ben Blout invoked a big-box store’s “low price promise” after discovering a lower price on his merchandise, he learned something customers rediscover every holiday shopping season: some restrictions apply.
Make that lots of restrictions.
“They told me they won’t match any printed advertisement that is not valid for at least one week,” says Blout. “Specifically, their price match excludes timed events like early bird specials and door busters.”
Fine print is a problem any time of the year, of course. But most consumers get foiled by it around the holidays, in part because more people are shopping, and in part because of the extra offers with the extra restrictions. Continue reading…
If an airline tells you it offers a more humane way to travel, should you hold it to that promise?
That’s the question raised by David Seltzer’s case on JetBlue Airways, a case that comes to us at an appropriate time of year.
Seltzer’s grandfather died unexpectedly a few months ago, and he immediately paid JetBlue a walk-up fare of $1,258 to fly from Long Beach, Calif., to New York, so he could be with his family. JetBlue then piled on the fees, charging him $20 for a phone booking and then hitting him with a $104 fare differential when he had to change his return flight again.
Seltzer then did what many distraught passengers do after the funeral. He politely asked the airline to adjust the price to a so-called “bereavement” fare. After all, Seltzer wasn’t just a random passenger requesting a fare adjustment, but a loyal, card-carrying JetBlue frequent flier, according to his mother, who contacted me for help. Continue reading…
Ask Suzy Bennett how she’s approaching the 2009 holiday travel season, and she’ll tell you she isn’t.
“We’re staying home,” says Bennett, who works for a water treatment company in Linwood, Kan. “Or we’re driving.”
Why? Like many other travelers, Bennett is tired of the nonexistent customer service that seems to be the standard these days, and which only gets worse as the inevitable crush of passengers descends on every airport, bus station and train terminal between now and New Year’s Day. Continue reading…
Like a tie for dad, a kitchen appliance for mom, or socks for the kids, there’s no shortage of holiday gift clichés for travelers. Wheeled luggage, ticket holders and inflatable pillows come to mind.
Shopping for someone who’s on the go isn’t easy. Travelers — especially frequent travelers — can be particular about their likes and dislikes. They wouldn’t be caught dead with a certain headset, phone, or piece of luggage.
I can’t read your loved one’s mind for you (if I could, do you think I’d be writing travel columns for a living?) but I can give you options the traveler in your life might like. Continue reading…