March 5, 2006
DESPITE repeated warnings to leave cameras, diamonds and other valuables at home when flying, travelers continue to check and lose. Here, a recent ripoff that could have been prevented:
January 29, 2006
Question: Upon boarding Holland America's Maasdam in May, we discovered that our stateroom toilet was broken and filled with waste. We complained immediately and were told the problem would be repaired after lunch. The toilet wasn't fixed until the fourth day of our seven-day cruise. For half the trip, we were forced to use public washrooms. Upon asking for another stateroom, we were told the ship was full. The cruise line gave us $300 in future shipboard credits as a gesture of goodwill. But this was hardly adequate compensation. We sued Holland America in Small Claims Court, but the judge dismissed it, saying we had to file in Washington state, where the company is based. As senior citizens, that would have been a hardship for us. Do we have any recourse?
January 1, 2006
WHEN checked luggage doesn't show up as promised, passengers usually duke it out with the airlines. But Fullerton resident Robert Nixon recently found himself battling over bag custody with a new adversary — a fellow flier who was holding his luggage captive.
December 4, 2005
Question: On a packed, 16-hour flight to Japan, my three children and I were seated in a row next to a family that had not bathed recently. The odor was very strong. The flight attendant would periodically come by and spray air freshener, and the offending adult passengers would occasionally douse themselves with rosewater in the lavatory. I developed a migraine headache and could not eat anything. I paid for four full international fares and had a miserable flight. I'd like to know if I have any rights on a long flight. Airlines can remove intoxicated passengers from a flight. What about those with offensive odors?
November 6, 2005
Question: One month before departure on our 23rd Princess cruise, my husband was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia and rushed to the hospital for the first of three monthlong chemotherapy treatments.
October 2, 2005
WHEN planes don't fly as promised, passengers often resort to pounding their fists rather than demanding their rights.
August 28, 2005
Question: My car was recently ticketed in an LAX parking lot for not having a front-mounted license plate, a technical violation that had been ignored for six years by police patrolling the streets. It seems that LAX police are engaged in a game of "gotcha," driven by the desire to raise revenue.
July 10, 2005
If you like trouble-free travel, forget about going anywhere during the summer.
May 8, 2005
QUESTION: While vacationing last December in Cancún, my partner and I were bombarded by time-share sellers. They promised free meals and tours for attending a "short presentation." We finally agreed to hear what Krystal Cancún had to offer.
March 27, 2005
Question: I recently booked a $6,000 family vacation package to Maui with American Airlines. The representative strongly urged me to purchase a $236 cancellation waiver in the event we couldn't go at the last minute. Is that a good idea? Or is it similar to the insurance policies that car rental companies are always pushing?
March 6, 2005
Question: I recently booked a stay at the Westin Resort & Spa in Whistler, British Columbia, through Orbitz and was charged 20% in taxes and fees. After the trip, I wrote to Orbitz for a refund of the 7% Canadian government tax. Orbitz told me it had already been "applied."
February 6, 2005
Question: My husband and I booked a seven-day golf cruise to the Mexican Riviera last year on the Radisson Seven Seas Mariner. Upon boarding the ship in November, we discovered that one of the three scheduled ports, Cabo San Lucas, had been canceled. A letter posted on our stateroom door said the itinerary change was due to "unforeseen circumstances."
December 26, 2004
Question: I recently tried booking a United Airlines frequent-flier award ticket online for an August trip from Los Angeles to Dublin, Ireland. United's website wouldn't accept the reservation, and I was forced to make it by phone, incurring a $15 United service fee. I understand the airline's need to keep costs down, but it seems unreasonable to charge a fee when no alternative is available. What's going on?
October 24, 2004
Question: My husband and I recently used Travelocity to book a family trip to Hawaii. At 11 p.m., after providing a credit card number and receiving an e-mail confirmation of our United Airlines flights, we went to bed thinking all was well.
October 3, 2004
Question: I checked into the Burbank Hilton on May 29. Upon returning to the room later that evening, I noticed that clothes on the chair next to my bed were missing.
August 22, 2004
Question: I booked a weekend car rental one Friday in June through http://www.expedia.com . I received what I thought was a "rental agreement" from Expedia guaranteeing my reservation and a $9.99-a-day rate with Enterprise Rent-A-Car.
August 1, 2004
Question: We booked two rooms at Yosemite's Ahwahnee hotel for next summer on http://www.nationalparkservices.org , thinking it was the official national park reservations website. We were surprised to be billed a nonrefundable service charge of $266.97, representing 10% of the total hotel bill.
June 27, 2004
Editor's note: Travel Q&A is a new monthly column designed to help consumers travel smart and avoid trouble. Columnist Laurie Berger, a veteran consumer reporter and formerly the editor of Consumer Reports Travel Newsletter, will address travelers' questions and complaints and seek resolution where appropriate. This month she tackles an issue involving luggage damaged during security screening.