Elliott’s E-Mail: Out to sea (the lost issue)

It’s yet another “can’t miss” issue of Elliott’s E-Mail, and here’s why: Where else can you read the luggage secrets your airline doesn’t want you to know? Or the awesome consumer websites corporate America is trying to kill (indeed, after this story published, I learned at least one of them was shut down). Follow our adventure at sea on the NCL Epic, and help me solve the world’s travel problems, including a honeymoon from hell.

The “lost” issue. Since we were at sea last week with a limited Internet connection, I didn’t publish an issue of Elliott’s E-Mail. So I’m referring to this as the “lost” issue. The next newsletter will be published on Aug. 5. I’ll be on a summer newsletter schedule, publishing once a week, through Sept. 30.

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Travel posts

How the airlines handle the ‘mishandled’ luggage problem
Jaime Sigal’s suitcase felt a little light when he picked it up from the conveyor belt in Sao Paolo, Brazil, so he gave the heavy-duty ballistic nylon bag a careful once-over. Sure enough, the zipper appeared to have been forced open.

The Travel Troubleshooter: Why do I have to pay a $477 cancellation fee?
When Beulah Saideman accidentally books the wrong W hotel through Cheaptickets.com, she finds a $477 cancellation fee on her credit card bill. The W insists it didn’t charge the fee. Can Saideman get her money back?

Case dismissed: No ID? No flight
J. Gillula had a Southwest Airlines ticket from Oakland, Calif., to Baltimore last year. But he didn’t have his ID.

Ridiculous or not? Your pet isn’t welcome on board this summer
This was supposed to be the best summer ever for pets that fly.

Related story:   New on Elliott: John and Janet's movie night, the secrets of "Scammed" and the worst customer experience ever - Sponsored by FloridaVacationAuction.com

Is this enough compensation? A voucher for a “completely forgettable” honeymoon
We’ve had plenty of “honeymoon from hell” stories on this site, and they never get old. So let’s hear from Ben Barnhart, who just returned from his post-nuptial vacation at the Riu Guanacaste in Costa Rica.

Can this trip be saved? Caught in the middle of an in-flight altercation
They say there are two sides to every story. But in today’s installment of “Can this trip be saved?” there are three.

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The real Western Mediterranean

Are you ready for the real Western Mediterranean?
Here we go! For the last week, I’ve been telling you about my new family travel site, Away is Home. Today — right now — we’re setting sail on our first adventure: a Western Mediterranean cruise on NCL’s Epic.

Aboard the Epic with kids … and cartoons
This is the view from our cabin aboard the NCL Epic. Nothing but the ship’s wake and dark blue Mediterranean as far as the eye can see.

Leaving Livorno, Italy, with a little jetlag
Here’s what we saw just moments ago as we pulled out of Livorno, Italy, on the NCL Epic. It was one of those postcard-perfect summer days on the Mediterranean coast when all you really want to do is hang out and do nothing.

All roads lead to Civitavecchia, Italy
When we pulled into port in Civitavecchia this morning, everyone wanted to know what we planned to do in Rome.

A hot time in Pompeii, Italy
The highlight of this trip so far — other than interviewing the voice of SpongeBob, which I’ll do tomorrow — has been visiting Pompeii and Mt. Vesuvius.

Related story:   I can't handle the suspense

A rough ride across the Mediterranean
We spent today at sea. It was a bumpy ride back to Palma de Mallorca, Spain. But an invitation to tour the bridge made us forget about our motion sickness for a little while.

One last port of call in Palma
We made one final stop in Palma on the quiet Spanish island or Mallorca. It’s a favorite destination for Europeans.

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Customer service posts

Now Read This: 5 Sites Every Smart Consumer Should Bookmark
Did you hear about the Stars & Stripes sweepstakes scam, where newspaper readers get calls by someone claiming to work for the Federal Trade Commission who tells them they’ve won $470,000 in a contest?

3 Things To Do When a Company Passes The Buck
Here’s how to get a company to stop pointing the finger when something goes wrong — and start accepting responsibility.

New Company Dodge: “We Can’t Answer, Due to Customer Privacy”
Sometimes when companies duck behind “customer privacy,” they’re really just trying to hide some bad behavior. That’s what happened when I investigated AT&T.

20 Most Hated Companies in America
No surprise that airlines fared the worst in the new customer satisfaction survey, but find out who else bombed.

20 Most Loved Brands in America
A fresh set of customer satisfaction data reveals American consumers’ favorite companies. And there are a few surprises.

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Related story:   New on Elliott: Slipping and falling, thinking small and lying to your customers - Sponsored by Floridavacationauction.com

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(Photo: Make B aird/Flickr Creative Commons)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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