Travel troubleshooting: on your own, in the US, in the UK

Here we have an article from Christopher Elliott, National Geographic Traveler’s ombudsman and the Miami Herald’s Travel Troubleshooter.

He has some advice for people fighting with bad travel companies on their own:

Don’t wait. Keep meticulous records. Take a deep breath. Talk is cheap. Write tight and polite. Start at the bottom. Cite the rules. Tell them what you want — nicely. Copy all the right people. Press ‘send’ or mail. Be patient. Appeal your case to a higher authority. Take another deep breath. Take extreme measures. Go to court. Know when to cut your losses.

If you want to know what it all means, go read the article.

While the advice seems solid, I do wonder how useful it will be. Even American Express Platinum Travel won’t help its customers until the travel trouble shooter gets involved. In this case, they promise a room rate in US dollars but dues to currency fluctuations, the rooms ends up costing more. All the travel agent had to do was tell the customer the price in pesos along with the current exchange rate, but since the travel agent screwed up we have problems…

Then we have a British travel trouble shooter. The problems don’t change too much when you’re on the other side of the Atlantic.

Or the Pacific for that matter as one Air New Zealand passenger had a particularly outrageous experience. Her flight was cancelled due to weather, the Air New Zealand agent promised a refund upon returning to London, the airline contract says customers can get a refund if their flight is cancelled for any reason, and the airline refused to give the refund.

It’s hard to believe, but there it is. I hope that someday my humble travel blog has enough clout to sponsor a travel troubleshooter. We sure need them with all these evil corporations out to get us…

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