Looks can be deceiving in consumer advocacy. Here’s the truth about what you see.

From the window of my room, I can see Colorado’s snow-covered Elk Mountains against a perfectly blue sky this morning. I’m lucky to be here for a few days with my kids before we head back to the city.
Read more “Looks can be deceiving in consumer advocacy. Here’s the truth about what you see.”

What does the Wild Thing really mean?

This is the Wild Thing.

It’s a fun, practical luggage ID made by our friends at Pomchies right here in my home state of Arizona. I’ve given away this frilly fabric accessory, called a Pom ID, to supporters of my website for the last few years.
Read more “What does the Wild Thing really mean?”

You did it!

Late last week, we crossed the $25,000 mark, capping another successful fundraiser.

Thank you!
Read more “You did it!”

Is your name on the list?

You read this site every day. You follow our well-researched, useful stories. Maybe you comment on the posts, too.
Read more “Is your name on the list?”

Did you know?

If you’re a regular reader of this site, you probably think you know a lot about the advocacy work we do here every day.
Read more “Did you know?”

What if they pulled the plug on this site?

What if they pulled the plug on this site?

What if the stories you read here every day vanished? What if I stopped holding companies’ feet to the fire in the pages of the Washington Post, USA Today and in my syndicated columns?
Read more “What if they pulled the plug on this site?”

A silent majority sounds off about airport security

Wang Song/Shutterstock
Wang Song/Shutterstock

Intrusive airport searches are just fine with a majority of air travelers. They also think the TSA has singlehandedly prevented a 9/11 repeat, and that critics of the agency’s current practices are nothing more than “anxious advocates.”

At least that’s the impression you might be left with if you read a recent editorial in the Chicago Tribune and other surprisingly favorable mentions in the mainstream media. Even amid the sequestration slowdowns, we’re big fans of the TSA.

Connect the dots, and the conclusion is inescapable: There’s a silent majority of Americans who really do believe the TSA is the “gold standard” in aviation security, as the TSA’s John Pistole recently proclaimed. We’re safer today because of the TSA, and out in flyover country we feel nothing but gratitude toward America’s airport sentries, who are the last line of defense against terrorism.
Read more “A silent majority sounds off about airport security”

You’re going to want to see this

We interrupt this post to bring you an important message: Consumer advocacy sites like this one are not self-sustaining. Without your help, they will end.

Become an underwriter now and you won’t just help keep this site and quality, uncompromising consumer advocacy journalism going. You’ll also have chance to win a weekend van rental from Bandago or moneysaving guidebooks from our friends at the Alaska TravelGram.

Why would you want to join these brave readers who have supported this site and newsletter for 2013?

Because you need this site.

The next time you have a problem with a product or service, where will you turn?

Are you going to dispute the charge with your credit card, an action that may or may not be successful? Are you going to appeal to the company, spending hours on hold?

Maybe you’ll take your case to one of those “expert” blogs, where you’ll just be scolded for not having the encyclopedic knowledge of the industry that they have.

You know the saying, “Without a travel agent, you’re on your own.” It’s true for consumer advocates, too.

Can you really afford that?

Publishing a consumer advocacy blog takes time and money. For the last 16 years, I’ve given this site every available minute of free time. That’s because like you, I care deeply about quality service and fairness. I want everyone to get what they paid for, regardless of the income or loyalty status.

People say, “Follow your passion, and the money will come.” But they’ve never published a consumer advocacy site.

Let’s just say advertisers don’t love my site. There are a lot of people who really want me to stop publishing. Why? Because I’m the only thing standing between them having their way with their customers.

We’re almost halfway toward meeting our $10,000 goal for our February fundraiser. I know we can do this.

If you become a new underwriter at any level now, your name will be entered in a drawing for a weekend van rental. Also, the first 10 underwriter at the patron level will receive a copy of the Alaska TravelGram, a book with tens of thousands of dollars worth of savings.

I hope you’ll support this worthy cause. We only have a few days left in February. Please help keep one of the last few remaining voices for the consumer alive online.

I’m counting on you.

Thanks to your help, consumer advocacy isn’t extinct yet

These aren’t the best of times to be in journalism. Budgets are being slashed. Writers are being let go. Makes me feel like a dinosaur on the verge of extinction.

But there are exceptions to every rule, and thanks to you, this site has survived.

There’s a reason why: Every day, with your help, I advocate for consumers. You won’t find anything else quite like Elliott.org, online or offline. Your comments, tips and financial support keep this blog operational as an independent voice for travelers.

I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge everyone for their help. By the way, there’s still time to become an underwriter this summer. Here’s how.
Read more “Thanks to your help, consumer advocacy isn’t extinct yet”

Please don’t read this post

trackThey don’t want you to.

And you know who they are. They’re the ones making your life miserable when you travel: The companies who seem to come up with a surcharge for everything. The ones who treat you like cargo, like office furniture, like walking dollar bills.

They hate this site.
Read more “Please don’t read this post”