Everyone else has “brushed us off” — should I, too?

Usually, when multiple parties tell you that you don’t have a case, there’s something to it. So when Mary Kay Kachikis wrote to me about a Quality Inn in Washington that she claims “negligently” misrepresented itself, I have to admit — I was a little skeptical.
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Do travelers need new federal protections?

It’s not your imagination. Congress seems to be paying closer attention to travelers’ welfare.

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about the International Travelers Bill of Rights, proposed bipartisan legislation that would require online travel agencies to disclose information about the potential health and safety risks of overseas vacation destinations marketed on their sites. A week earlier, I covered the aggressive new tarmac-delay laws included in the Federal Aviation Administration reauthorization bill.
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Ridiculous or not? Hotels eye airline-like rebooking fees

I‘m always on the lookout for new fees, so when Katherine Walton emailed me about her recent stay at the Chateau Timberline, a hotel in Packwood, Wash., she had my attention.

Walton needed to cancel her reservation a day before her arrival.

“An agent told me they would charge a $100 fee – the price of one night,” she says. “So even if they are able to rebook the room I will not get a refund.”
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DC dance protest ends with arrests, cries of “This is a police state!”

The Thomas Jefferson Memorial in Washington is a popular tourist destination, but on this Memorial Day weekend, it was also the scene of a memorable protest that’s worth paying attention to.

A court recently ruled that expressive dancing was in a category with picketing, speech making, and marching – a banned activity at national memorials.

Several protesters decided to challenge the decision on Saturday afternoon with a protest organized through social media (here’s the Facebook page, the Twitter hashtag and blog.)
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Why is Travelocity “unable” to refund my ticket?

Question: I’m writing to you because of a really difficult situation that I have with Travelocity.

My girlfriend and I had a set of multi-destination tickets that we booked through the site. We called Travelocity to ask if we could change one of our flights from Chicago to Washington. An agent told me it would cost another $300. She was nice but her English was not all that great. I got a confirmation email, but without any numbers.

Instead of charging me $300, Travelocity billed me another $4,000. They re-issued all the flights again, including the transatlantic flight.

I’ve been on the phone with their agents for the past month or more, trying to get this fixed. Eventually, they told me that if I cancel the remaining flights I would get a refund, which I agreed to. The refund was to appear on my credit card in one to two billing cycles. I re-arranged my travel plans and bought the tickets I needed elsewhere.

However, I then received an e-mail that said Travelocity is “unable to refund” the money. I called to see what was happening, and several agents and supervisors said that the refund is no longer possible but that I can get credit for future purchases, provided that flights take place within a year. Do you have any advice? — Marko Grdesic, Madison, Wis.

Answer: Next time, don’t change your flights. Oh, who am I kidding? Plans change, and Travelocity should have been able to handle this request without sucking another $4,000 from your bank account.
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