The ultimate guide to taking a cruise now

When it comes to cruising, everything has changed.

Ross Copas should know. He and his wife, Jean, were on a Holland America cruise in 2020 when COVID-19 shut everything down. The couple had a front-row seat as the cruise industry battened down the hatches for the pandemic storm that followed.

Canceled cruises. Mothballed ships. And those future cruise credit vouchers no one could use. Copas lived through the drama in real life, but it felt like the apocalyptic end of a disaster movie.

And now, with the worst of COVID behind us, he’s been patiently waiting for things to go back to normal.

“We’re ready to cruise again,” says Copas, an industrial electrician from Tweed, Canada.

The complete guide to using your airline flight credit now

After canceling her much-anticipated beach vacation to Kauai, Melissa Smithers thought she had $2,034 in American Airlines flight credits. But she thought wrong.

“When I went to book a trip using the flight credit, it was gone,” she says.

She contacted her online travel agency, which delivered the bad news: Her American Airlines flight credit had expired two months ago.

But how could that be? Hadn’t Expedia told her she had four more months to use her flight credit?

They canceled my cruise. How do I get a cruise credit refund?

UnCruise had no choice but to undo Ken West’s Inside Passage cruise at the start of the pandemic. Now West wants to unravel the company’s future cruise credit offer. But is a cruise credit refund even possible?

West’s tale of a scuttled cruise is all too common.

In 2020, he was about to set sail on a 12-day tour from Seattle to Juneau, Alaska, on the Wilderness Discoverer. Then COVID hit.

Banned by Hertz because of a 10-year-old toll charge

Out of the blue, Hertz confiscated Marcus Hall’s loyalty points and banned him for life. His crime? The car rental company discovered an unpaid $6 toll charge — from 2012.

Seriously. Hertz said a partner company that processes toll charges had conducted an audit and found the delinquent invoice. But Hall had never received a bill or any notification.

Before Hall could even ask for documentation of the $6 charge, Hertz simply added him to its Do Not Rent List and stripped him of his points.

Got a customer complaint? Here’s how to contact the CEO directly

When Reginald Leese booked a flight to visit his 100-year-old mother in England, he never imagined he’d have a customer complaint. Or that he might need to contact the CEO of British Airways directly.

But then the airline canceled his flight and promised him a ticket credit. And it didn’t follow through — for two years.

“He never received the voucher,” says Leese’s wife, Karen.

That’s when he decided enough was enough. It was time to take his complaint to the top.

But how?

What’s this $150 Lyft damage fee for cigarette burns? I don’t even smoke

Can a ridesharing service charge you for damage to a car even if you’re not responsible? Just ask LeeAnn Hicks, who recently hailed a Lyft in New York. A few hours later, Lyft charged her credit card $150 for “cigarette burns” in the car seat.

“I did not cause the damage,” Hicks fumed.

Hicks couldn’t have caused the damage because she doesn’t smoke. But none of that seemed to matter to Lyft, which insisted on charging the $150 damage fee.

Is this a scam? Can rideshare companies like Lyft and Uber arbitrarily charge your credit card without your permission or asking for your side of the story? And how do you fight an frivolous damage fee?

What should I do if an airline loses my checked luggage?

It’s every traveler’s nightmare. You arrive at your destination, but your checked luggage doesn’t.

It happened to Dick Helms and his wife on a recent flight from Paris to Prague on CSA Czech Airlines. They were on their way to a river cruise, but their checked bags with all of their clothes and toiletries never showed up at the luggage carousel.

What now?