January 24, 2007

Travel tips, news and information
January 24, 2007

Big news! No, I’m not forming a presidential exploratory committee — although some of you though a “let’s-clean-up-the-travel-industry” platform might take me all the way to the White House in ’08, after I hinted last week that a major announcement was imminent. I’m hosting a new TV show! Here are the details. But wait … there’s more. This week’s newsletter is full of great information about travel, including questions and commentary about an enduring hotbutton issue: kids on planes.

» Read this week’s newsletter online.

FIRST | Random thoughts about the week in travel

Burning question … What to do about children on planes? The recent removal of the family of an unruly three-year old from an AirTran flight (here are the details) has sparked an intense debate among air travelers. Should airlines make special provisions for their littlest passengers, like a “kids-only” section or free Benadryl for anyone under 16, or free sedatives for anyone older than that? Your thoughts, please. Send me a note or shoot me an IM (celliottlive on AIM).

SIGHTINGS | Noted Elliott appearances online and offline

Canceled flight, worthless vouchers — Two years ago, Orville Duggan and his wife volunteered to give up their seats on an overbooked United Airlines flight. But after they redeem their vouchers, Hurricane Katrina strikes, forcing them to cancel their vacation. Should the airline cut them a little slack when it comes to rebooking their flights? (From The Travel Troubleshooter)

Travel blogs: the caveat — Can you trust your travel blog? With millions of weblogs now being published online (some estimates put them at 30 million)—and many of them about travel—it’s a question worth asking. The answer: Not always. (From National Geographic Traveler)

A Yankee chef with a Mexican flavor — Sure, Americans traveling abroad expect to be treated like pariahs these days. But I get more than my fair share because I’m the ultimate outsider: a Yankee who prepares Mexican food. And who also happens to have a Swedish surname (From The New York Times)

BLOGGED | New posts on CSR and Ellipses

Hello, Fine Living Network — In a few weeks, you’ll probably start seeing promos for a new show on the Fine Living Network — a spinoff of the popular What You Get For The Money series about travel. And you’ll probably say to yourself, “Hey, that host looks familiar.” He should. That’s me. (From Ellipses)

How not to complain about your trip — A lot has been written by travel bloggers and journalists about how to complain about trip that’s gone wrong and to get the airline, car rental agency, cruise line, or hotel to fork over some compensation. Less has been written about how to not complain. But in the last few weeks, I’ve received more than few emails from readers that are textbook examples of what not to say, that I just can’t resist. (From Ellipses)

Death and travel — Two remarkable stories crossed the wire at virtually the same time yesterday, and both serve as reminders that travel remains a risky proposition, no matter where you go or who you are. (From Ellipses)

What’s your mission? — “Why am I here?” is a question everyone asks at one time or another. But late last year I had an opportunity to do some extensive soul-searching when I researched a feature on corporate mission statements. (From Ellipses)

Shat saves the day — As a general rule, TV ads for travel companies tend to be really, really boring. I mean, when’s the last time you forwarded a spot for an airline or car rental company to one of your friends? I rest my case. (From Ellipses)

FLASHBACK | A retrospective from the Elliott archives

Kids on planes! Might as well yell “fire” in a crowded theater …

Con Air with kids — Debbie Witt’s flight from Honolulu to Chicago was boarded and ready for takeoff when an announcement came across the loudspeaker about some passengers with “special needs” who needed to get on the plane. Moments later, seven prisoners were paraded down the aisle by four security guards and seated in the back. (From The Travel Critic)

Ban babies on board? — Ban babies on board. Stop kids from flying altogether or at least create a special children’s section on planes. That’s what a growing number of frequent travelers want to do. (From The Travel Critic)

No more kids fly free? — Is it time to end one of the travel industry’s longest-running fare sales, kids flying free? Melissa Rosen thinks so. “It’s a pretty good scam,” says the career consultant at the University of Virginia’s graduate school of business administration. (From The Travel Critic)

POSTCARDS | The latest from Elliott’s personal photo blog

My boys — We visited our great-grandmother Cookie and our cousins in Delray Beach, Fla., today. Everybody say “cheese”!

Bath time — After a hard day’s work, it’s always nice to have a relaxing bath. And being a baby is such hard work, you know!

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.

» Call me. My direct phone number is (407) 699-9529.

» Send me an instant message on Gmail.

» Shoot me a note or chat by video on AIM.

» Find me on MySpace.

» Link to me on LinkedIn.

» Post a response below an article, in the “Comment on this article” field.

» Contact me with this handy feedback form.

Please note: Unless you specify otherwise, all e-mails, letters and phone conversations are considered “on the record.” That means your name could be used in a future article.

BECOME AN UNDERWRITER | How to support Elliott

This site relies on support from travelers like you. If you care about journalism that’s uncompromising, cutting-edge and consumer-focused, then please consider becoming an underwriter. Here are the details.

SUBSCRIPTIONS | Manage your e-mail delivery preferences

You can manage your newsletter subscription here. You can also sign up for this newsletter’s RSS feed. Having technical trouble? Please send a note describing your problem we’ll do our best to help.

Here’s how to unsubscribe from this newsletter. (Sorry to see you go!)

Elliott’s E-Mail is published 50 times a year by Christopher Elliott. (c) 2006 Christopher Elliott.


Share this story
Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Facebook

Underwritten by

This site is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

Cavalry takes the worry of out travel by providing 24/7 access to medical and security professionals combined with the best medical evacuation and security extraction services. Cavalry gets you home safely when you need it most. Learn more at Cavalrytravelinsurance.com.

This site is underwritten by Sodexo North America

Sodexo North America Sodexo North America is part of a global, Fortune 500 company with a presence in 80 countries. Sodexo is a leading provider of integrated food, facilities management and other services that enhance organizational performance, contribute to local communities and improve quality of life for millions of customers in corporate, education, healthcare, senior living, sports and leisure, government and other environments daily. Learn more at Sodexoinsights.com.

This site is underwritten by Travelex Insurance Services

Travelex Insurance Services is a leading travel insurance provider in the United States with over 55 years combined industry expertise of helping people dream, explore and travel with confidence. We offer comprehensive travel insurance plans with optional upgrades allowing travelers to customize the plans to fit their needs. Compare plans, get a quote and buy online at Travelexinsurance.com.

This site is underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

This site is underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

This site is underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

This site is underwritten by Enterprise Holdings

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

This site is underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

This site is underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

This site is underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

This site is underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

This site is underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

This site is underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

This site is underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

This site is underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

This site 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.

This site is underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

This site is underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

This site is underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

This site is underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.