Stranded in San Francisco

What happens when you book an airline ticket through a travel agency, then make a change to your itinerary – only to find out when you show up to the airport that you don’t have a ticket at all? That’s the question one traveler has when he, his wife and infant daughter are stranded in San Francisco after their airline tickets have been mysteriously voided. Who is to blame for the missing tickets? And how can you prevent the same thing from happening to you?

Engine trouble

When your rental car breaks down, you expect the company to replace it. And when you’ve bought the most expensive insurance, you expect any damage will be covered. But that’s not how it turns out for one Hertz customer who rents a car in Mexico and ends up with a mysterious $2,989.51 bill. Was he a bad driver or did Hertz make him promises it couldn’t keep? Find out if the bill sticks or if Hertz made a mistake.

A Murphy family vacation

Ever felt as if your vacation couldn’t get any worse? For one family, a string of mishaps – including a rescheduled flight, a hospital stay and a misunderstanding with a car-rental company – leave them feeling like they could really use … a vacation. Their biggest gripe: A Hertz bill that mushroomed after their flight was rescheduled. Can the Murphy’s family vacation be saved?

Filthy hotel, no refund

If your hotel doesn’t meet your standards of cleanliness, can you check out and ask for a refund? Normally, the answer is “yes.” But if you book your hotel online, through a service that offers cheaper rooms that are nonrefundable, the answer could be different. When one Hotwire customer leaves his room because of unsanitary conditions, and the site refuses a refund, he doesn’t take “no” for an answer. Who’s right? And how do you make sure this doesn’t happen to you?

We have different rules

I never realized just how complex the mental process of picking an airline flight has become. As an expert on the subject, I was surprised to discover that I didn’t know all the facts, fare restrictions and customer-service limitations when I selected Delta Air Lines for two roundtrip tickets from Boston to New York’s LaGuardia airport. I was connecting to an Iberia Airlines flight to Spain out of JFK. Not that Delta cared.

Help, I’m stuck in Houston

Checking in for a flight can be a stressful experience. But what if a series of misunderstandings at the counter make you miss your plane? That’s not a theoretical question for one Northwest Airlines passenger on his way to India. After getting sent to the back of the economy-class check-in line and getting stranded in Houston, he shoots an e-mail to this problem-solver asking for help. Find out if he makes it to his destination, and whether Northwest is to blame for his plight.