“There were angels all around me on that JetBlue flight”

Christopher Parypa / Shutterstock.com
Christopher Parypa / Shutterstock.com
Early boarding privileges are typically reserved for frequent fliers and passengers with obvious disabilities. But on a recent JetBlue Airways flight from Boston to Los Angeles, gate agents granted special access to a passenger whose need wasn’t that apparent, and perhaps even in violation of their own airline’s policy.

Elaine Regienus-Gravbelle, who was recovering from a double mastectomy and two other minor surgeries, was on her way to way home to Redondo Beach, Calif. She asked a ticket agent if she could get on the plane first.
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Ridiculous or not? A “false choice” at the car rental counter

As a frequent car rental customer, Parker Mann has endured countless sales pitches for optional insurance. But recently, the hard sell efforts have crossed a line, he says.

“The latest gimmick is to give the customer a false choice with the question, ‘Do you want the full insurance or the basic?’ — the implication being that the insurance was required,” he says. “I’ve heard this line essentially word for word from three agents at two rental companies in the past year.”

Just in case you were wondering, insurance is an option on practically every car. Asking which policy a customer wants implies it’s mandatory.
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What do airline passengers really want — besides a good fare?

What’s the first thing you look for in an airline ticket?

If you said, “a low price,” you’re absolutely right. In a survey of air travelers conducted last week, 77 percent said they consider the fare first.

But airlines have used that answer to justify cutting customer service and “unbundling” prices — removing everything but a base fare — without asking the simple question: What else do you want?

So we decided to dig a little deeper. In a survey of more than 800 readers of this site and Consumer Traveler, we continued the conversation. Here are the results.
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Virgin America: The airline that deregulation forgot?

Someone apparently forgot to tell Virgin America about that whole deregulation thing.

You know, the sad story of how America’s legacy carriers, who once competed for your business based on service, began thinking of their seats as commodities – and us as cargo.

Virgin America is unashamedly retro, when if comes to service.
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When travel companies sue their customers

When a young woman named Carissa knocked at my door on a recent Saturday evening and introduced herself as a process server, I knew things were about to get interesting.

And when I read the civil action summons she handed me, I was intrigued.

A Florida-based travel agency had sued me for reporting about its legal troubles on my blog. (I won’t name the agency, because I think part of the reason it filed a complaint was because it craves publicity. Denied.) Next to my name on the suit, I recognized the name of one of the agency’s clients.

Yes, the company was taking one of its own customers to court.
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