Here’s why booking connections on separate itineraries is a bad idea

Dov Hook wants a refund for change fees charged by American Airlines for a connection he didn’t make. But our advocates are not inclined to assist him because his situation is the result of his own errors.

Hook’s case is a warning to air travelers to avoid booking connecting flights on separate itineraries and to check in by the time indicated on one’s air ticket. And when traveling with small children or anyone with mobility issues, as Hook was, you need to allow yourself additional advance time to check in and make connections. Otherwise, as Hook discovered the hard way, you might be staying on the ground and on the hook for some hefty change fees.

Did this traveler really abandon his dog “curbside” at the airport?

Aron Szekely’s complaint stunned our advocates — but not in the way he had hoped. When American Airlines refused to allow his faithful dog on a flight to Japan, did this military man simply abandon the animal at the airport?

Does American owe this traveler for his missed day in Mexico?

All passengers were aboard William Kaighn’s American Airlines flight to Phoenix. The doors were secured, and they were waiting to push back from the jetway when the captain announced that everyone would have to deplane and board a different aircraft at another gate.

And then, Kaighn tells our advocates, an entirely different group of passengers boarded that plane, and after fuel was added, took off for the East Coast.

Who is responsible for this missed honeymoon to Tahiti?

Miranda Jennings Graham and her newly married husband, Weston, booked a honeymoon on Priceline to Tahiti, traveling via American Airlines from Dallas-Fort Worth to Los Angeles, where they had a connecting flight to Tahiti via Air Tahiti Nui.

Miranda Jennings Graham and her new husband, Weston, are today’s poster kids for a missed honeymoon. The Grahams booked their special vacation on Priceline to Tahiti, traveling via American Airlines from Dallas-Fort Worth to Los Angeles, where they had a connecting flight to Tahiti via Air Tahiti Nui.

We missed our flight by minutes — should we be forced to pay extra to get home?

Michal Escobar and her husband were returning home from a special vacation in Italy. But when they tried to check in for their flight on British Airways, the check-in agents prevented them from flying. The Escobars had to pay for a hotel room for the night as well as expensive walk-up rates for tickets home on Aer Lingus the next day.

The DOT has fined fewer airlines this year. Should you be worried?

If it seems as if airlines are getting away with more passenger-unfriendly behavior, maybe it’s because they are.

The Aviation Consumer Protection Division of the Department of Transportation (DOT), which is responsible for enforcing federal consumer-protection regulations, is on track to punish significantly fewer airlines this year, issuing 18 consent orders for $3.1 million in civil penalties. By comparison, the DOT had 29 orders worth $6.4 million for 2016, which included a $1.6 million fine against American Airlines for violating its tarmac delay rules handed down in mid-December. Barring a last-minute flurry of penalties, 2017 will be a much quieter year for the department.

Will a new bill hold the travel industry accountable?

Imagine a world where your cruise line or airline pays you if it fails to keep its schedule, you aren’t penalized for a canceled reservation if your hotel is able to resell the room and ticket change fees are related to the actual cost of changing your flight schedule.

Impossible, right?

Could you help us get a refund for our trip to Puerto Rico?

Edward Epstein books a bundled vacation package to Puerto Rico through Expedia but, in the wake of Hurricane Maria’s wrath, he’s forced to cancel his trip to the beleaguered island. While Expedia willingly refunds his hotel expense, American Airlines offers only credit for the airfare portion of the package. Can our advocates convince American to fork over a full refund?

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