RIGHTS

The TSA is getting it all wrong, and the numbers don’t lie

I can’t imagine anyone disagreeing that security at our airports is essential. That said, in my opinion, TSA’s strategic airport security plan is out of step with the country’s air transportation security needs.

We can readily see that TSA’s security priorities are upside down at best when we examine their budget.
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New group fights for family travelers

As an event planner with offices in New York and Los Angeles and the mother of two, Jenifour Jones knows what it’s like to travel with kids — and to not travel with them.

“My biggest challenge is flight attendants,” says Jones, who flies frequently with her sons Wesley, 2, and Grant, 1. Some crewmembers don’t know which restrooms have changing tables. Others aren’t familiar with the rules on child seats. Many “lack empathy” for a mom traveling with two young children, she says.
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What are your rights as a hotel guest?

If you’re staying at a hotel, your rights are spelled out in your state’s lodging laws and in the property’s terms and conditions. But don’t lean on those for better customer service. I explain what to do.


Why do airlines hate it when you know your rights?

Plume/Shutterstock
Plume/Shutterstock
Information is power.

No industry understands that better than airlines, which parcels out information about itself on a need-to-know basis, if it does at all. Don’t believe me? Then maybe you weren’t one of the thousands of air travelers affected by last week’s polar vortex, and who were stranded and left in the dark about their flights.

To get a true idea of the airline industry’s tortured relationship with information, consider what happened to Melissa Buchanan when she booked a flight for her mother from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to Montego Bay, Jamaica.

“I inadvertently selected the wrong destination on her booking,” she says. She phoned Spirit Airlines to ask it to cancel her flight, and it told her that any changes or cancellations made after confirming a reservation carry a fee of $125 through its reservation center or $115 if done online.

But Spirit neglected to mention one very important detail.
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Whaddya know about airline passenger rights? Not much

pcruciatti / Shutterstock.com
pcruciatti / Shutterstock.com
Beyond the fact that you don’t have too many, what do you know about your rights as an airline passenger? If you said “not much,” then you’re in good company.

Like Judy Williams. When the airline lost her luggage en route to a conference in Asheville, N.C., a representative promised to find it. But by the time she was reunited with her suitcase two days later, she’d already attended a professional conference wearing jeans and a T-shirt — not ideal attire for an attorney.

Did I say attorney? I sure did. Even someone who practices law doesn’t necessarily know her rights.
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