Ask any frequent traveler if the travel industry is fair. You’ll likely hear a litany of complaints: Travel companies routinely charge you for services they don’t have to deliver, punish you with onerous restrictions and flout the time-honored rules of American business. And now, travelers are pushing back. “Fed-up consumers seek reckoning with travel industry”
It was a random thought at the end of a recent column about unfriendly TSA agents. “I wonder if the rude agent is a reflection of an even ruder traveler,” mused David Kazarian, a pharmacist from Tampa.
It started a debate with a real purpose. “Rudeness runs rampant for travelers. Is it your fault?”
“I’m weary of those entitled passengers who are continuously whining and complaining,” says Lisa Thomas, a veteran flight attendant based in Denver. “I feel like telling them, ‘Take some responsibility for your choices.’ ”
Thomas’s comments, made to me after a recent column about the rise of fees in the travel industry, triggered a fascinating debate. Many travelers say that they think fees are out of control, particularly in the airline business. The top 10 airlines collected more than $28 billion in revenue from extra fees and services last year, up from about $2 billion a decade ago, according to a recent study by the consulting firm IdeaWorks.
At the same time, many in the industry say that they think people are getting exactly what they paid for: a quality product at a ridiculously low price. Industry employees like Thomas suggest that travelers have become spoiled. “Got a complaint about the travel industry? It’s got one about you, too”
Imagine a world where your cruise line or airline pays you if it fails to keep its schedule, you aren’t penalized for a canceled reservation if your hotel is able to resell the room and ticket change fees are related to the actual cost of changing your flight schedule.
Impossible, right? “Will a new bill hold the travel industry accountable?”
Maybe you’ve heard about Jason Puerner, or someone like him.
Puerner, a transportation planner from Lakewood, Colo., says he recently rented a Chevrolet Cruze with a pre-existing scratch from Enterprise. After returning the vehicle, he refused to cough up $412 for repairs and ended up on the company’s infamous “Do Not Rent” list. “Travel blacklists: Turning tables on the industry”