You don’t tip enough!

AlanKadr/Shutterstock
AlanKadr/Shutterstock
This is the online version of Elliott’s E-Mail. You can sign up here to receive the newsletter by email.

□ WHY SHOULD YOU TIP MORE?

The shameful state of the salaries of restaurant workers, who often earn a poverty-level $2.13 an hour before gratuities, is a topic that’s hotter than the biscuits in Paula Deen’s kitchen these days. I’ll explain why in my USA Today column.

□ WHAT DO YOU THINK?

Angry about “junk” fees? Do you think you deserve a refund?
I’m working on a story about the latest and greatest “junk” fees imposed by the travel industry. Many of these were added with little or no disclosure. So here’s my question: Do you think that you deserve a refund for these fees, since many customers were surprised by them and often had no choice but to pay them? If so, which fees should be refunded? Here’s my email address. As always, don’t forget include your full name, city and occupation.

Have you ever run into trouble with a “legal” connection time?
Whether you’re traveling by bus, train or plane, you may be subject to a “legal” connection time. But what happens when that “legal” time isn’t enough, and you’re stranded in a terminal? I’m researching a story about missed connections and a travel company’s liability. I’d love to include your experience of running afoul of a “legal” connection. You know how to reach me.

Become a smarter traveler
Pre-order my new book, How to Be the World’s Smartest Traveler (and Save Time, Money, and Hassle). It’ll help you navigate the ins and outs of the travel industry and save lots of time and money. Details are right here. By the way, if you’re heading out somewhere on a trip and need help with something, I’d be happy to email you a draft of a chapter, whether you order the book or not.

Let’s talk!
The stories you see in this newsletter are just a starting point. I hope you’ll take a minute to leave a comment, whether you agree or disagree with something I’ve written. Let’s continue the conversation on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn or Google. I’m listening. And of course, I’m also here if you need me. Here’s my email address.

□ POSTS YOU REALLY DON’T WANT TO MISS

3 times a company should offer a refund – even if it doesn’t have to
Last week, when I suggested that consumers should sometimes apologize to a company, a few of you thought I had completely lost it. Read the rest in my latest Mint.com post.

Should US Airways compensate me for a lodging error?
Ken Middleton and his girlfriend were flying back to the mainland after enjoying a vacation in Hawaii. At least, they were supposed to be. But their US Airways flight was canceled because of a mechanical problem and they were rebooked on a flight 24 hours later. Should I mediate this case?

Yes, I have a “do not mediate” list – here it is
The government maintains a “no fly” list. Car rental companies keep “do not rent” lists. Hotels sometimes blacklist guests. So it probably makes sense that your favorite consumer advocate has a “do not mediate” list. Here’s mine.

“The issue has been resolved”
I’ve combed through more than 10,000 emails trapped in a queue and responded to every one. Here’s what I’ve learned.

The government shutdown’s surprise effect on travelers
The government shutdown was supposed to be a non-event for travelers, but it didn’t quite turn out that way. Here’s what happened.

The real reason legacy airlines are awful
Because they can. That’s my conclusion after finishing the missing emails from April and May. America’s legacy airlines are awful because they can be awful, and because we let them. Here are a few details.

Using frequent flier miles to escape from New York
Felix Chan’s parents are stranded in New York after a storm. They can’t get back to Hong Kong because he used miles to pay for their ticket. Are they stuck? Find out.

□ MY PARTING SHOT

I’m in Jackson Hole, Wyo., today. The park is still closed — but there’s snow on the mountain. Is it too early to rent a pair of skis? I’ll have the answer soon.

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Elliott Advocacy is underwritten by Cavalry Travel Insurance

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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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Arch RoamRight is one of the fastest growing, most-highly rated travel insurance companies in the United States. Travel advisors love working with us, and travelers feel protected with our trip cancellation and travel medical insurance coverage. We also make it easy to file a claim online with our fast, paperless claims website. Learn more about RoamRight travel insurance.

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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.

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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.

Elliott Advocacy 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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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