Why your next airline ticket purchase should be like buying a car

When Loren Witkin says that he shopped around for a new car, you can take him at his word.
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How long is too long for an airline ticket refund?

Talk about an airline delay! / Photo by Phil Ostrow - Flickr
Question: We have been trying to get a refund from Southwest Airlines for almost one year. It’s a refund that Southwest fully admits it owes, but always finds another excuse not to pay. I hope you can help us.

Last spring, my family had tickets to fly from Fort Myers, Fla., to Milwaukee, Wis. When we arrived at the gate, a Southwest agent told us our flight was oversold and that all seats had been assigned. We were denied boarding.
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The Expedia ticket vouchers that never existed

Question: We recently canceled a trip from Minneapolis to Asuncion, Paraguay, that we had booked on Delta Air Lines through Expedia. We were issued two flight vouchers, which we are trying to redeem. But Expedia isn’t letting us.

The vouchers — one for $1,186, the other for $936 — were supposed to be valid until Jan. 15. But when I called Delta to cash them in, we were told the vouchers had already expired in September.
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“I am feeling a bit hopeless”

When Cecilia Tanaka tried to buy tickets to Japan on Expedia, she was charged twice. She filed a dispute with her credit card, thinking it was a simple misunderstanding.

It wasn’t. Neither her online agency nor her airline, ANA, saw the transaction like she did, setting her off on a long odyssey to fix the mistake. Her story offers an important lesson or two for all of us who book airline tickets online.
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Orbitz’ Harford: Quoting a total price is “a strategic priority for us”

Barney OrbitzBarney Harford is the president and chief executive officer of Orbitz Worldwide. One of the first things he did when he took over eight months ago was to institute a “total” price for hotel rooms, making it the first of the major online travel agencies to do so. He also launched a campaign to lift travel restrictions to Cuba imposed by the American government during the Cold War. I asked Harford why he decided to take on prices and politics so early in his tenure.

Your company is pushing the government to lift travel restrictions to Cuba with a new site called Open Cuba. Why is this issue important to you? Why should it be important to travelers?

We believe it’s important to be engaged in the social issues of the day. We promoted lesbian and gay travel as far back as 2002. We were on the cutting edge of eco-tourism.

The management team and I shared a belief that after 50 years of ban on travel to Cuba [by Americans] it was time for a change. It doesn’t make sense for Americans to not have a right to travel to a country that is so close. Travel can bring people together. We believe there’s an immense opportunity to bring people together, to create progress.

We have urged people to sign a petition to overturn the ban on travel to Cuba. We’ve had about 95,000 people sign it. There’s broad, grassroots support that’s been indicated on this issues. We hope to be able to play an important role in removing the ban.
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