Elliott’s E-Mail/October 1, 2008

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In this issue …

Four rules travelers should know for 2009
Here’s the video that got grandmother detained on JetBlue flight
Will alarmist headlines keep holiday air travelers at home?
How to reach yours truly
Support this site

This issue of Elliott’s E-Mail is underwritten by Skooba Design, designers of top-rated, award-winning cases and accessories for laptops and other tech/travel gear. Named “best buy” by a major independent consumer magazine, as well as leading technology, travel and general interest publications. Elliot’s E-Mail Subscribers get 20 percent off, plus free shipping (UPS Ground/48 States) on all Skooba Design orders of $50 or more. Just enter coupon code ELLIOTT20 at checkout. Some restrictions apply. Here are the details.

FIRST | Random thoughts about the week in travel

It’s been a crazy week — and I’m not even talking about that failed Wall Street bailout. I’m talking travel. I have stories and blog posts in this issue of Elliott’s E-Mail about preparing for travel in 2009, funny airline contracts, missing refunds and a postscript on that grandmother who taped an altercation on JetBlue. Read at your own risk!

Burning question: Does your candidate support the travel industry? Election season is coming up. How does your candidate stand on the travel industry? Please tell me why you like McCain or Obama, and specifically, what you think they’ll do for travel. Send me a note and please don’t forget to include your full name, city and occupation.

Follow me on Twitter! My username is elliottdotorg.

Love to travel? Love to social network? If you spend time on Digg, Reddit and StumbleUpon, and love to travel, maybe you’re interested in joining an invitation-only group of travel bloggers who vote each other’s content up? Shoot me a note — I’ll send you the details.

Seeing double? If you’re getting two or more copies of this newsletter, you might want to consider signing up for my free daily update newsletter and unsubscribing from this weekly one. (The technical problems on the daily newsletter have been fixed — we’re still working on the weekly one.) Here are the details.

Related story:   New on Elliott: The "real" St. Lucia, accountability and the TSA, lightning-fast response times - Sponsored by Floridavacationauction.com

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SIGHTINGS | Noted Elliott appearances online and offline

Pick up the phone, pay twice the price — Joseph Dunlap runs into a snag when he tries to buy an airline ticket online for his mother. So he calls the online agency, Expedia, and is sold a ticket that costs twice the online rate. Do rates really vary by that much? Well, yes — and no. (From The Troubleshooter)

Four rules travelers should know for 2009 — It’s not too soon to start thinking about traveling next year. In 2009, a series of new rules and regulations kick in that could affect your vacation. Ignore them, and you might find yourself delayed or denied access to your destination. (From MSNBC.com)

Elliott’s E-Mail is also underwritten by Cheapflights.com, which lets you search and compare flights to find the lowest-priced airfare for your next trip. Get the details at Cheapflights.com.

BLOGGED | New posts on Elliott’s Blog

Here’s the video that got grandmother detained on JetBlue flight — Remember Marilyn Parver, the grandmother who was detained after she refused to delete a video she had lawfully taped on a JetBlue flight? Well, after weeks of back-and-forth with the airline, she’s released the incriminating tape. (From Elliott Blog)

Is JetBlue invoking the “controllable irregularity” excuse to dodge its customer bill of rights? — JetBlue got high marks for voluntarily adopting a customer bill of rights after its infamous Valentine’s Day meltdown a few years ago. But now, with lawmakers considering real passenger rights legislation, it’s worth examining how JetBlue’s bill really works. Or, perhaps more to the point, how it doesn’t work. (From Elliott Blog)

Related story:   April 25, 2007

That’s the Spirit! Airline refunds canceled flight segment — at last — It might be an understatement to say Spirit Airlines isn’t in danger of winning any customer service awards. But occasionally, it does right by its passengers. (From Elliott Blog)

Scammed Southwest customer goes after con artist with nine iron — Like most Southwest Airlines passengers, Ted LeClair likes nothing more than a bargain. Which is exactly what he thought he’d found when a con artist offered $1,200 worth of flight coupons at a deep discount on Craigslist. (From Elliott Blog)

Four Points hotel snubs guest, forces him to pay for canceled room — If you think having the e-mail address of a hotel manager is going to help you get a quick resolution to your problem — or even a response — then here’s a reality check. You might still be out of luck, especially if you’re staying at a Four Points by Sheraton hotel. (From Elliott Blog)

Elliott’s E-Mail is also underwritten by Carrentals.co.uk, which provides the easiest and quickest way to search for car hire on the web. Our car rental search engine will compare the market in seconds and provide you with prices from up to 40 car hire suppliers. Cheap car hire is one search away!

ON TRIPSO | Blog postings from the last honest travel site

New United Airlines exec snags $525,000 salary — let’s hope it doesn’t ask for a bailout — It occurred to me as I was reading United Airlines’ latest FORM 8-K/A filing that if the airline ever asks for a federal bailout (assuming the rescue plan ever gets passed) it might run into some accounting problems. It also underscored that even in the worst of times — the airline lost $2.7 billion last quarter — executive compensations almost never take a hit. (From Tripso)

NASA will release uncensored flight safety data tomorrow — Remember that controversial pilot survey conducted by NASA last year? Then you’ll probably also recall the uproar when, under pressure, the agency released the information earlier this year — albeit in what it calls a “redacted” form. (From Tripso)

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Will alarmist headlines keep holiday air travelers at home? — When it comes to travel, is the sky really falling? You might be forgiven for thinking so after reading headlines like “Airline downsizing means U.S. holiday travel overhaul,” above a story that predicts air travel is about to plummet off a cliff. (From Tripso)

How much is $700 billion? Let’s put it in travel terms — What’s $700 billion? It’s the projected cost of the federal bailout of the nation’s ailing financial system. But what is $700 in travel terms? (From Tripso)

TALKBACK | How to sound off about this site

Read something you disagree with? Got a story idea or a gripe? Here’s how to be heard:

• Send me an e-mail.
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• Find out what I’m doing now on Twitter.
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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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