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Lose your driver’s license? Too bad. The U.S. Embassy isn’t going to help

Regarding “Overseas and in Trouble,” On the Spot by Catharine Hamm, Oct. 9: What useless advice — go to your embassy for help. In Paris, my wallet was stolen, including my driver’s license, which was necessary for the rental car, and the credit card I used to rent the car. (Luckily, I still had my passport.)

I went straight to the U.S. Embassy in Paris, no outlying podunk consulate. They basically laughed in my face and said there was nothing they could do, no matter how much I insisted or suggested there must be something. Embassies aren’t for us. They’re for businessmen. I’ve given up any illusion of relying on them

John Shannon

Los Angeles

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Views from where they’re sitting

Thank you for “In the No-Comfort Zone” [On the Spot by Catharine Hamm, Oct. 16], which was particularly timely. I will check out Spirit Airlines for upcoming trips.

I booked a seat on JetBlue the other day, as extra legroom was my first priority. Fortunately, I snagged a seat in the row just behind first class for $90 more each way.

For that price, I am guaranteed early boarding, early access to overhead bins, expedited access through security checkpoints and extra legroom. Plus, I have an aisle seat going to and from New York.

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David Tulanian

Los Angeles

I read about Spirit Airlines’ Big Front Seats. Please note that earlier this year it instituted a change: You are no longer able to get a seat-belt extender for the Big Front Seat.

Although you paid to upgrade to this seat because you need more room, if the belt won’t reach, you will be asked to move to a regular small seat, which is what you were trying to avoid by paying for the bigger seat.

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The new seat belt does appear to be a bit longer than the standard seat belt, but not by much. I was able to use the seat belt but was told if I wasn’t able to buckle it, I’d be moved to a regular seat.

I was not notified of this when I booked my ticket through its online system, nor by anyone at the gate. It was only after I was in my seat and asked for the extender that I was told about this rule.

Burt Borkan

Plantation, Fla.

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Don’t forget the stamps

Mahalo for the special Hawaii issue [Oct. 16]. I just returned from a first-ever visit to Hawaii this week, and the one thing I didn’t bring was postcard stamps — for those of us who still believe in the lost art of postcard writing.

My suggestion for fellow travelers: Stock up on postcard stamps before you leave. I wasted a ridiculous amount of time trying to find them. My friends and family tell me they very much enjoy getting the postcards.

Just prepare yourself first, as stamps aren’t readily available at your destination.

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Kyle Kimbrell

Playa del Rey


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