Escape from the Garden Gate

When your romantic weekend in Hawaii turns into a bad episode of Fawlty Towers, what does your innkeeper owe you? That’s what one disgruntled hotel guest wonders after her rental car reservation is mishandled, the air conditioner in her room breaks down, and the proprietors are rude to her. Should she check into another hotel and send Basil Fawlty the bill? And if she does, is she entitled to a refund?

Missing the Pointe-a-Pitre

There are delays – and then there are airline delays. We’ve all been stuck in a terminal for a few hours, but what happens when you’re in transit for more than half a week? What does your airline owe you? That’s what one passenger wants to know. He and his girlfriend are delayed four days on a trip between Newark and Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe. American Airlines is sorry for the hold-up. But will it do anything more than apologize for burning away most of his vacation?

Sitting next to Senator Slimeball

The senator was the last to board the flight. I was a passenger in the first class seat next to him. We had been waiting on him to close the doors and get on our way. The plane took off, and he and I had a couple of cocktails together and engaged in polite conversation. Before the meal service, a man from the economy section brought his six-year-old son up to meet him. “Hey, sonny, what do you want to be when you grow up?” the slightly inebriated lawmaker said as he patted the boy on his head.

Cheap tickets, long wait

When an airline changes its schedule, what are your rights as a passenger? One traveler thinks she knows the answer after reading her carrier’s contract of carriage. But Frontier Airlines has other ideas. Add a travel agency – in her case, – and she’s out $1,008. Where’s her refund? And whose fault is it that the money she spent on the ticket is in limbo?

Worst jobs in travel

There are a lot of jobs in the world that are worse even than mine, and many of those jobs are in the travel business.

A Hotwire bait-and-switch

Are Hotwire’s airfares a bait-and-switch scam? That’s what one traveler wants to know after he inadvertently buys a ticket from Anchorage to Phoenix through the Web site. He means to fly in the other direction – from Phoenix to Anchorage – but now Hotwire wants to bill him an extra $198 for the change. If he doesn’t pay up, will he lose the entire airfare?