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Travel Solutions: To avoid refund problems, book a la carte or buy insurance

If you thought that reading the terms and conditions on your next travel purchase is enough to keep you out of trouble, meet Thomas Hanko.

April 06, 2014 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Get a rental agreement, but don't sign or pay until you've read it

Q: I recently paid a $2,060 deposit to rent a home in Aruba through VRBO. Before I was sent a copy of the lease, I realized that the rental didn't have enough room for our party of 10, and I notified the owner that I wanted to cancel.

August 11, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Online booking agency should have told traveler about fare rules

Q: I booked a round-trip ticket from Buffalo, N.Y., to Chennai, India, on Continental Airlines, just before it merged with United Airlines. I used Expedia to make the reservation. I completed the one-way trip but due to a family medical issue, I had to cancel the return. I called Expedia and…

August 04, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: If a hotel room is unsafe and 'just gross,' don't stay there

Q: While traveling through Pennsylvania on a college tour with our daughter, my husband and I made a reservation for two nights at a Super 8 through Hotels.com

July 28, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Figure hotel reservation stands until you get cancellation number

Q: I recently attended a job fair in Marietta, Ga. Because I was unsure of the number and date of interviews I would have at the event, I decided to book a room for one night at the Hyatt.

July 21, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Hotel should've honored reservation after it was sold - but no

Q: I made a reservation at the Comfort Inn in Troutdale, Ore., this fall, and received a confirmation number. At that time I was told that the hotel was in the process of being sold and would become a Holiday Inn Express and the reservation would be honored.

July 14, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Agency's moral compass is out of whack: Fire 'em

Q: I recently had to have jaw surgery, and my doctor recommended that I cancel a planned flight on Delta Air Lines. I submitted a request through my travel agency, but it refused to refund the ticket because it had a policy that tickets are nonrefundable, except in cases of illness or death.

July 07, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Rules for 'affinity' credit cards can be changed at any time

Q: I recently applied for and received a co-branded credit card from Chase and AARP. The card had an introductory offer of 5 percent (cash back) for the first six months of card usage. I used the card and earned 201,780 points. Every single charge was legitimate, and I have receipts. Further…

June 30, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Terminally ill vacationer takes a risk when it comes to insurance

Q: I am currently sitting on a deck overlooking a park at a hospice facility while my mother lies in her bed taking a morphine nap. She will die in a couple of days.

June 23, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: No exceptions: Take photos of rental cars, before and after

Q: I recently rented a car from Budget in Ontario, Calif. When I returned the vehicle, a representative claimed that I scraped the bottom of the front bumper on the passenger side of the car.

June 09, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Customer thought he was getting Priceline price, but Avis said no.

Q: I recently prepaid for a rental car using Priceline's "name your own price" option. I was given a car through Avis - or at least that's what I thought.

June 02, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Get documentation things are 'fine' from car-rental firm

Q: My husband rented a car from Hertz in Madrid last summer. The car broke down while he was on his way back to the airport, and he had to abandon it by the side of the road in order to make his flight back to the States.

May 26, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Nonrefundable ticket means just that - unless writer helps

Q: I'm trying to help my sister get a refund on her daughter's nonrefundable airline ticket. Her daughter went to Spain in January as an exchange student. Her return was scheduled for May 29.

May 19, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Wyndham should've fixed smoking-room problem at Days Inn

Q: I have a concern that I tried addressing with a specific Days Inn and with Wyndham, which owns Days Inn, but have not received a response. I recently stayed at the Days Inn in Fernandina Beach, Fla. I made a reservation for a nonsmoking room and was given a smoking room when I checked it.

May 12, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Cruise line was right to insist ailing passenger leave ship

Q: We were recently scheduled to sail on a seven-day Carnival cruise to Mexico. A few minutes after we boarded in Long Beach, Calif., I had horrible kidney pains. I couldn't walk, and felt as if I was going to pass out.

May 05, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Christopher Elliott: When airline wants to change your ticket, follow the money

Q: I recently booked two tickets through an online travel agency for my husband and me to fly to the Philippines. When I got his ticket, I noticed that "Jr." was missing from his name. I went back to the site and saw there was no space provided where I can put a "Jr."

April 21, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Ask agent to step up, or transfer travel job to colleague who can

Q: My fiancée and I are planning our wedding in Jamaica this summer and are using a travel agent to book our guests and us. We're also using the travel agent for our honeymoon at a different resort on the island. We will be in Jamaica for two weeks. There are about 40 people booked at this t…

April 14, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Car-rental snafu sets off scam alert; customer must be more careful, too

My husband and I rented a car from Hertz in Munich last summer. The rental process was incredibly time-consuming, and after 45 minutes at the rental desk a five-minute walk to the garage and then another 30-minute wait in the garage, we received our vehicle.

April 07, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Will government cutbacks hurt travelers?

Although it may be weeks before the full effects of the government sequester are felt, many travelers say that they’re prepared for whatever’s coming down the road.

March 31, 2013 3:30 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: $55 in taxes should have been refunded by Hotels.com

Q: We booked a 10-day vacation package in Cancun, Mexico, through Hotels.com that included air, hotel and a rental car. Taxes were included in the price of the rental car.

March 31, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Check amenity confirmation to make sure all is in order

Q: I recently booked a hotel room for a three-night stay at the DoubleTree Beach Resort by Hilton Hotel Tampa Bay - North Redington Beach through Expedia. I opted to pay the higher rate of $239 a night to guarantee a beachfront room. The lower rate of $199 was refundable but would not guaran…

March 24, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Rule No. 1 when you're booking a flight: Save all the paperwork

Q: My husband and I recently flew from Mexico City to Fiji for our honeymoon. One leg of our flight between Los Angeles and Fiji was canceled by United Airlines. We booked tickets on a different airline for that portion of our trip.

March 17, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: If a travel agency stalls on refund, get credit card company involved

Q: I recently booked an American Airlines flight on CheapOAir.com from Kansas City to the Virgin Islands to attend my brother's wedding.

March 10, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Rental car company that added fees after trip probably broke law

Q: I'd like to share my recent Budget Car Rental experience with you that has me committed to never doing business with them again.

March 03, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Use 'em or lose 'em: Don't let airline miles languish, expire

Q: My 16-year-old son and I have had our US Airways miles taken away from us. He had 27,893 miles and I had 829 miles. They expired a few days ago.

February 24, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Car agency tacks on extra charges after rental cancellation mix-up

Q: My husband and I recently rented a car from Auto Europe for a trip to Germany and the Czech Republic. We received a prepaid voucher for a rental from Hertz.

February 17, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Need to cancel your flight? Don't forget one important step

Q: We had to cancel a cruise recently because my husband needed to have surgery. I called American Airlines to cancel the flight and was told that the tickets would be good for one year from the day they were purchased.

February 10, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Circumstances should've prompted cruise line to treat her better

Q: We booked a cruise to Alaska on Norwegian Cruise Line last summer. NCL notified us that we would be sailing a day after our scheduled departure because they had to fix a propeller on the ship. This meant that the ship would not be stopping in Juneau for an originally scheduled excursion.

February 03, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: No 'super savings' and no 'Las Vegas Strip' with this hotel deal

Q: I hope you can help me with a Hotwire Hotel reservation. I booked a three-star "Las Vegas Strip - South Area Hotel" on Hotwire recently. I got a room at Hooters Casino Hotel for $47 per night, plus taxes and fees.

January 27, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Don't accept a damaged rental car unless you have it documented

Q: I'm having a problem with Dollar Rent A Car. When I picked up my car at Southwest Florida International Airport, they did not inspect the car with me, but told me to just go "pick one out."

January 20, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Rental-car dispute might have been settled with direct contact

Q: My wife and I traveled to Las Vegas for a trade show. I decided to use my credit card points to cover my car rental through Dollar Rent a Car.

January 13, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Read fine print when you book with Net travel sites

Q: Maybe you can help me with this little problem. I booked a trip for my nephew to Reno, Nev., through Expedia. I made the reservation by phone. The trip went well, but I was promised a $50 gas card.

January 06, 2013 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Want better airline service? Power up your smartphone

Liz Owen needed help, and she needed it fast. She had rescheduled a flight from Washington to Los Angeles on Virgin America to avoid superstorm Sandy, which was about to slam into the East Coast. But she'd forgotten to order a wheelchair.

December 23, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: 'Connected' reservations vital if flight's delayed or late

Q: A few months ago, I bought tickets to Lilongwe, Malawi, for church missionary work through a full-service travel agency. I had two sets of round-trip tickets: One from San Francisco to Cairo by way of Paris on Delta Air Lines and Air France/KLM and one from Cairo to Lilongwe by way of Nai…

December 16, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: In the superstorm's aftermath, who has your refund?

The recent superstorm and series of nor'easters that slammed into the East Coast grounded tens of thousands of travelers, including Neil Weiss.

December 09, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Photograph car before, after rental to avoid trouble

Q: I rented a car from National Car Rental in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. I did not take photos of the car at pickup or drop-off. Big mistake.

November 25, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Make sure your rental car runs right beforehand

Q: I rented a car through Auto Europe. During my rental, the car didn't work properly. The vehicle wouldn't move when I pressed on the accelerator, and it felt dangerous to drive. I called the company from my hotel and asked for another car.

November 18, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Traveler who fell ill in UK is reimbursed her frequent-flier miles

Q: My wife used her Delta frequent-flier miles for a trip to Manchester, England, to visit her mother. She bought trip insurance through Allianz. Two days before she was supposed to return, she called me to let me know she had been taken to the hospital with severe stomach pain.

November 11, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Be careful before signing off on car-rental contract

Allen Friedman says he declined the optional insurance when he rented a Chevrolet Impala from Dollar Rent a Car at Denver International Airport recently.

November 04, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Be careful when booking a hotel at 'opaque' sites like Expedia

Q: I recently tried to book a four-star hotel in New York through Expedia's unpublished rates section, which doesn't reveal the name of the hotel until you pay for it.

October 21, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: 'Complimentary' long-distance access doesn't mean free calls

Q: I stayed at the Wingate by Wyndham Charlotte Airport, and on the first night, I was having some cellphone problems. Knowing that other Wyndham properties offer free long distance, I decided to look in the hotel services book provided in the room. Under the telephone section, it says: "Loc…

October 14, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Consider insurance when making nontraditional travel plans

Q: I recently booked a retreat to Costa Rica through a yoga studio in New York. Just before I was supposed to leave, I was admitted to the emergency room and had to cancel my trip.

September 16, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Point-to-point ticketing became problematic on Manila-Osaka trip

Q: At the tail end of a trip last year to Southeast Asia, I had a pair of tickets on Cebu Pacific Airways from Singapore to Manila, and then from Manila to Osaka, to connect with my overseas flight back to the States. I bought the tickets separately because Cebu only does point-to-point ticketing.

September 09, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Passenger loses camera after carry-on bag is gate-checked

Q: I need your help with a missing camera. I flew from Boston to Minneapolis on US Airways. When I boarded the flight in Boston, the overhead bins were full. A flight attendant told me I would have to gate-check my carry-on bag.

September 02, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: If booking leaves you on the street, demand help right away

Q: I booked a stay in Ocean City, Md., through Hotels.com. When I arrived to check in, I found it was closed for the season. All numbers I was able to find for the hotel - front desk, reservations, housekeeping and administrative offices - either rang forever or had a voice mail saying that …

August 19, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Document those dings, protect yourself from rental-car charges

Q: Please help me with a bogus damage charge by Alamo. We picked up our car in Kona, Hawaii, at dusk and saw numerous small dents and dings and scratches on the vehicle.

July 29, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: A tale of two Londons - a confusing one for Priceline's system

Q: I tried to make a hotel reservation in London, Ontario, Canada, through Priceline. The site displayed three tabs. The first two displayed the correct city, but when I switched to the "best deal" tab it automatically switched to London, UK.

July 22, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Air reservation suddenly gone

Q: I booked a ticket on United Airlines through Cheaptickets.com from Washington to Colorado Springs, Colo. My reservation even appeared on the United Airlines website (I'm an elite-level customer on United). All's good, right? Five days before my flight, I checked and the reservation was go…

July 08, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

Travel Solutions: Airline shoulders some blame for 'dog-eared' passport's denial

Q: My husband and I were scheduled to take a Spirit Airlines flight from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., to San Jose, Costa Rica. The afternoon before my flight, my dog chewed a corner off the front page of my husband's passport and we were concerned about having proper documentation.

July 01, 2012 12:00 amLoading…

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