Cruise ships are getting a big upgrade

Cruise ships have long lagged behind the rest of the travel industry when it comes to technology. Wi-Fi connections have traditionally been painfully slow, and the only noteworthy technology investment cruise lines made usually involved systems designed to make it easier to pay for optional items like spa treatments, dinners and trips to the onboard casino. Continue reading…

A ‘free’ upgrade for just $100? Thanks, Hertz!

As the director of sales for a biotechnology company, Pankaj Sinha travels frequently.

He landed in Phoenix on the evening of September 24 and headed to the Hertz rental car counter, where his company had reserved a compact car for him. The agent told Sinha that they were out of compact cars, but because his company booked so many of their vehicles, he was going to give Sinha an SUV to drive instead.

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No “comfort” seat on TAM — and no refund

Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com
Chris Parypa Photography / Shutterstock.com
Nathan Pearson and his son are bumped into two uncomfortable airline seats on a 10-hour flight from Brazil back to the United States. And now the upgrade fee they paid is missing in action. Will they ever see that money again?

Question: I recently flew from Sao Paolo to New York on TAM with my son. We had purchased “comfort seats” for this flight, for $75 each, and were assigned seats 27C and 27A. When we boarded the flight, we found that these seats had been double booked, and other passengers were already in those seats, with valid tickets.

There were no other comfort seats available, although both business and first class were mostly empty.

Following very long discussions with a flight attendant, we were informed that we were to accept “regular” coach seats far back in the plane, and that we would receive a refund for the $150 we paid for the comfort seats.
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Help! My cruise is gone and so is my upgrade


Here’s an interesting question raised by what is probably an unsolvable case: When your cruise is nonrefundable, what happens to the upgrade you purchased?

That’s the problem faced by Stan Krehbiel, who booked a cruise tour through luxury tour operator Tauck earlier this year. He didn’t purchase the optional cruise protection, a decision he now regrets.

A few days before his vacation, he began feeling sick. He visited his cardiologist, who delivered some bad news.
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3 tips for handling upgrade guilt

seat2Do you suffer from upgrade guilt when you fly in first class? You probably do — and if you don’t, you should.

The woman seated in the last row of first class on my previous flight did. As I boarded the aircraft, our eyes locked, and I smiled as I shuffled back to seat 25D.

She looked away. I could tell she felt sorry for me.
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Worst upgrade ever — how about a refund?

It’s a six-hour flight from Honolulu to Phoenix, so when a US Airways agent offered Blair Fell an upgrade to first class for just $350, he jumped at the opportunity.

“The agent convinced me by saying, ‘Wouldn’t you like to lie back and sleep?” he remembers.
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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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