When a beach isn’t really a beach, and other travel disappointments

To call Smathers Beach in Key West, Fla., a beach might be a little stretch.

Betrayed by a company? Here are 5 secrets for avoiding it

The call between Frank Alioto and his favorite cruise line went down like something straight out of a made-for-TV drama. You know that turning point where the hero actually turns out to be the villain? Just like that.

Did KLM lie about her ticket refund?

If you're an airline apologist, you'll probably answer Angelina Bellamy's question reflexively, if not dismissively.

Lied to, overcharged and almost abandoned by Spirit Airlines

Noreen Ismail seemed to have an airtight case against Spirit Airlines. Its transgressions against her, her husband, and 11-month old included overcharging her for her carry-on luggage abandoning her in Boston and making promises it never intended to keep.

Sorry, you don’t have an airline ticket

When Linda Foy checks in for her flight, she's told she has no airline tickets. But wait! Didn't her online travel agent, Expedia, just confirm her flights? And will Expedia now refund the new tickets she must buy?

Are companies trying to avoid leaving a paper trail of promises?

Maybe they don't want to leave a trail of evidence. Maybe it's the threat of having the entire exchange posted on a blog like this one.

How do you get an airline to keep its promises?

Last summer, Jennifer Patronis' father suffered a massive aneurysm and stroke. She immediately booked a round-trip ticket from Athens to Cleveland on Delta Air Lines to be with him. Three months later, he died, leaving her with an unexpected problem: How to get back to Greece, where she lived.