Think that free trip insurance is all you need? Think again

When Monique Tubb’s adult daughter was injured while vacationing in Colorado, she canceled the rest of her trip and flew home immediately. Tubb was confident that her UnitedPlus Explorer card’s complimentary trip insurance would cover all the additional expenses. It didn’t. And now she wants to know why her full claim was not paid.

I was detained in Abu Dhabi. Shouldn’t American pay my expenses?

On her way back from Sri Lanka, Caroline Martorano was detained in Abu Dhabi. She says she was detained for not being appropriately dressed, causing her to miss her connecting flight. But she places the blame for this detainment on American Airlines. Huh?

American Airlines told me the fare was $169. Then it charged me $1069

Dale Allen and his girlfriend are looking forward to a tropical vacation in Cancún. Unfortunately, they arrive at the airport too late and miss their flight. Wanting to leave immediately, they buy one-way tickets at the American Airlines counter. Allen is sure the agent said that the tickets cost $169 each — so why is his credit card charged $2,400?

A stranger on my bus tour made me sick. Can I get a refund?

When Gayle Hackner takes a Trafalgar bus tour throughout Spain and Portugal for 13 days, she is disgusted that a man and his young son in adjacent seats appear to be sick. Their constant coughing irritates her. The last straw comes when she becomes ill on the last day of the tour.

TripAdvisor left me on the hook for a $900 cancellation fee

Adelaide Northrop’s preferred accommodation in St John, U.S. Virgin Islands, is unavailable so she books an alternative hotel through Tripadvisor that is advertised as having a zero penalty cancellation policy. When her first choice suddenly offers her a reservation, she happily confirms. The problem? Tripadvisor charges her a $911 cancellation fee.

No, Uber doesn’t owe you a free flight to St. Martin

David Kresl found out the hard way that Uber’s ride scheduling window is a guideline and not a guarantee. His Uber driver arrived late to take him to the airport. And now he wants the ride-sharing service to pay for his sister-in-law’s trip to St. Martin.

Huh?

A hotel reimbursement from American Airlines? Get it in writing

When John Thompson lands in Washington D.C., he discovers that the last connecting flight to Boston has left without him. An American Airlines representative assures him not to worry — he will be put on a flight the next morning and his hotel will be covered for the night. So why is his request for reimbursement rejected?

A berry good time in Southern California, Temecula edition

Temecula may be one of California’s best-known wine regions, but I’ll always remember it for something else: the fresh fruit we harvested on a recent visit to this out-of-the-way Southern California destination. That’s right, we saw the horde of tourists go one way, and we went in the other direction.

Here’s why you shouldn’t purchase two one-way tickets to save money

Many travel sites claim you can sometimes save money by booking two one-way airline tickets instead of a round-trip ticket. But is there a downside to this practice?

How about a refund for these downgraded seats, Qantas?

Stan Shopa is disappointed to miss his Qantas connection from Los Angeles to Melbourne. The airline rebooks him on a flight the next day — but downgrades his seat from premium economy to standard economy. So shouldn’t he be entitled to a price adjustment?

No, this is not the worst Airbnb story we’ve ever seen

When Jennifer Tudor rented an apartment in a Brooklyn brownstone through Airbnb, she may not have understood what to expect. Unfortunately, this led to an unpleasant rental experience for her — and for the owner. She claims to have discovered the worst Airbnb ever. Could that be true?

I was forced to buy a $20,000 diamond on my Royal Caribbean cruise. How do I return it?

During her recent Caribbean cruise, Kathy Hoffarth purchased a $16,000 diamond in Jamaica. At the next port, she exchanged it for a larger, more expensive one. Now that she is home she doesn’t want that diamond, either, and she wants her money back. But is that possible?

How to tell if you have a qualified travel agent

Yarisa Smith knows she has a good travel agent.

“He’s made cruises and European trips special,” says Smith, a manufacturer’s representative from Dallas. “His itineraries and attention to detail have made every trip flawless. He’s even managed to successfully intervene when acts of God have waylaid my plans.”

Yet you might not know by looking at Clark Mitchell, who works for Dallas-based Strong Travel, whether he’s the real deal. Yes, his agency is cited as a source for its travel expertise by mainstream news outlets. It also prominently lists its membership in Virtuoso, an exclusive travel agency consortium.

But until now, there’s been no instantly recognized certification that says an agent is legit. That may be about to change.

Got a complaint about the travel industry? It’s got one about you, too

“I’m weary of those entitled passengers who are continuously whining and complaining,” says Lisa Thomas, a veteran flight attendant based in Denver. “I feel like telling them, ‘Take some responsibility for your choices.’ ”

Thomas’s comments, made to me after a recent column about the rise of fees in the travel industry, triggered a fascinating debate. Many travelers say that they think fees are out of control, particularly in the airline business. The top 10 airlines collected more than $28 billion in revenue from extra fees and services last year, up from about $2 billion a decade ago, according to a recent study by the consulting firm IdeaWorks.

At the same time, many in the industry say that they think people are getting exactly what they paid for: a quality product at a ridiculously low price. Industry employees like Thomas suggest that travelers have become spoiled.

Insider tips on how to file a travel insurance claim

If you’re reading this, chances are something horrible has happened while you’re on vacation — a health scare, a disruption, even an unexpected death.

Maybe you’ve phoned your travel insurance company and the wheels are now in motion for a claim. And you’re wondering: What now?

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