Elliott’s E-Mail: Hi from Hawaii, bogus businesses, impossible refunds

I’ve rebooted my YouTube channel! Please stop by and subscribe now.

Hi from Hawaii! We’re on Oahu’s North Shore with our family travel blog project today. Here’s our first dispatch from the islands. You can read all about adventure soon on National Geographic Traveler’s Intelligent Travel blog and on the Huffington Post.

Here’s a little video about our 12-hour flight form Orlando to Honolulu.

Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Southwest Airlines. The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Is this business bogus? How do you tell if a business is up to no good? In my Mint.com column, I reveal a few tips. Read them … or get scammed!

Thank you, Cheapflights! Our friends at Cheapflights have been long-time supporters of the consumer advocacy on this site, and we thank them for that. If you’re looking for a cheap flight, please stop by and give them your business.

On Elliott. Is it too hard to get a refund on your airline ticket? Don’t ask this traveler — you’ll get an earful. Did Southwest screw up this passenger’s holy water? Join a very spirited debate now in progress.

In my consumer Q&A, I solve the case of a woman whose phone was suddenly disconnected. What would you do if it happened to you? Also, what happens when your hotel is reflagged and your reservation is no more? Is this a case I should mediate?

Elsewhere. On Frommers.com, I ask if there’s a car rental toll conspiracy. Do you know the answer? On the Huffington Post, I discover the problem with TSA pat-downs. And in my Sunday Washington Post column, I talk about a maddening case involving car rental insurance.

About those videos. As you can probably tell, I’m shifting from a world in which everything is done in writing to one in which videos play a more central role. It’s not an easy transition. I’ve been adjusting the tone and length of my clips to make sure they send the right message. Many of you have said you want something short and opinionated — and useful. Here’s today’s video, which ran alongside the story on car insurance.

As always, I’d love to get your thoughts and feedback. Do you want to see more of this? How can I make the videos more useful? Send me an email. I’d love to hear from you.

Remember, you can follow me on Twitter or Facebook and you can track the Away is Home Twitter and Facebook site. I’ll see you out there.

Have an awesome week, everyone. Safe travels!