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Christopher Elliott

Columnist | Travel Troubleshooter
Christopher Elliott is ombudsman at National Geographic Traveler magazine.
Recent content from Christopher Elliott
Travel Troubleshooter: Spirit Airlines unwilling to redeem restrictive travel vouchers

Travel Troubleshooter: Spirit Airlines unwilling to redeem restrictive travel vouchers

Spirit's vouchers are more restrictive than most. You have only 60 days to make a reservation. The industry standard is a year.

Travel Troubleshooter: I got sick before my trip and couldn't cancel my flight

Q: I recently was supposed to fly from New York to London on Norwegian Air. I became ill and saw a doctor two days before…
Travel Troubleshooter: 'Pay less' for your car rental, but pay more for GPS

Travel Troubleshooter: 'Pay less' for your car rental, but pay more for GPS

Q: I recently rented a car through Payless Car Rental. When I arrived, there was a long line. I noticed that people were leaving unhappy,…

Travel Troubleshooter: Flight is canceled, then reinstated too late

Q: I recently was scheduled to fly from Washington to Chicago on American Airlines. The night before my Friday flight, I went online to check…
Travel Troubleshooter: Car rental damage is covered – oh, except for the tires

Travel Troubleshooter: Car rental damage is covered – oh, except for the tires

Q: I rented a car from Budget in Costa Rica as part of a family vacation this summer. I happily accepted the total-damage waiver and…

Travel Troubleshooter: Allianz wants even more paperwork for travel insurance claim

Q: Two years ago, I was scheduled to travel to Omaha to stay with my mother and provide post­operative care for a week. My return…
Travel Troubleshooter: Unpresidential treatment from a Duluth hotel

Travel Troubleshooter: Unpresidential treatment from a Duluth hotel

For our wedding, my brother gave us a gift certificate for me and my wife to spend a night in the presidential suite of the Radisson Hotel Duluth-Harborview in Duluth. Unfortunately, we're having trouble receiving what he paid for.
Travel Troubleshooter: Flight rerouted to airport in wrong city

Travel Troubleshooter: Flight rerouted to airport in wrong city

If British Airways promised it would cover your taxi fare, then it should have. Case closed. Why wasn't it?
Travel Troubleshooter: My husband died — can I get a refund from Spirit Airlines?

Travel Troubleshooter: My husband died — can I get a refund from Spirit Airlines?

Q: My husband, Loren, purchased a ticket from Spirit Airlines for a trip from New Orleans to Chicago for travel this summer. Unfortunately, he passed…

Travel Troubleshooter: Fleeing an Airbnb rental in a sketchy neighborhood

Q: I rented a house through Airbnb for two months for a summer internship. The house was in a bad neighborhood, and both my roommate’s…
Economy ticket costing more than first class? Welcome to airline math

Economy ticket costing more than first class? Welcome to airline math

An air traveler bought first-class tickets but was downgraded to economy seats. American Airlines should have refunded the difference between the two fares. But that's not how airline math works.

Travel Troubleshooter: Foreign call center misspells name on ticket

Q: I recently booked a flight from Frankfurt to Orlando using CheapOair. I spoke with a representative at an Indian call center, who helped me…

Travel Troubleshooter: Seat upgrade disappeared, but the airline kept the money

Q: I need your help with a Lufthansa seat upgrade that wasn’t delivered as promised. I planned to fly from San Francisco to Bangalore, India,…

Travel Troubleshooter: How to avoid a surprise airline schedule change

Q: I recently booked a trip to Italy through OneTravel.com. My flight was one hour late arriving in Rome. I wasn't concerned because I knew…
Travel Troubleshooter: Nonsmoker billed $250 fee for smoky hotel room

Travel Troubleshooter: Nonsmoker billed $250 fee for smoky hotel room

When I checked out of the hotel, I saw a $250 charge on my credit card. I called the front desk and was told it was a "smoking charge." But I don't smoke.

Travel Troubleshooter: Left standing in the rain, without a room key

Q: I have a question about a reservation I made for a hotel apartment in Barcelona through Hotels.com. In the fine print of my reservation,…

Travel Troubleshooter: Driving a rental car through Eastern Europe with no GPS

Q: I am not happy with the car I rented through the Renault Eurodrive buyback lease program. My wife and I recently rented a Dacia…

Travel Troubleshooter: Spain hotel rejects booking because of crib request

Q: Six months ago, I made a reservation at the Ritz-Carlton, Abama, in Tenerife, Spain, for two adults, two children and an infant. Booking.com did…

Travel Troubleshooter: Flight is rescheduled, but they're not on it anymore

Q: While visiting Los Angeles with my husband, I received an e-mail from United Airlines saying that our flight back to Cleveland in two days…

Travel Troubleshooter: Ripped off in a national park, and then by travel insurance

Q: I took a seven-day Road Scholar trip to the national parks in the Florida Keys. Travel insurance was included in the price of the…

Travel Troubleshooter: When your flight is canceled, wait for the airline to rebook you

Q: I have tried in vain to get a refund from American Airlines. On a recent flight home to Bermuda, my 7-year-old daughter and I…

Travel Troubleshooter: Luggage lost somewhere between Honolulu and Paris

Q: My fiancé and I flew from Honolulu to Paris via Los Angeles, Miami and Helsinki. Our flight to Miami was on American Airlines. Our…

Travel Troubleshooter: Payless Car Rental customer pays more for fuel

Q: For my son’s wedding last August, I rented a car from Payless Car Rental in Denver. It was move-in time for the surrounding colleges,…

Travel Troubleshooter: Hotwire can't handle a complex itinerary and refund

Q: I have had a very tough time dealing with Hotwire to be reimbursed for a flight that was canceled due to bad weather.I was…

Travel Troubleshooter: This is the reason for travel insurance

Q: I need your help with an Avalon Waterways trip from Amsterdam to Brussels that I booked through Vacations to Go. A few days before…
Travel Troubleshooter: Airline drags feet for months on refund

Travel Troubleshooter: Airline drags feet for months on refund

Q: I recently paid $912 for an airline ticket on Lufthansa.com. Less than 24 hours later, my itinerary changed. I booked another ticket and called…
Travel Troubleshooter: Cancel an airline ticket within 24 hours, get a refund – period

Travel Troubleshooter: Cancel an airline ticket within 24 hours, get a refund – period

I have not received a refund for either of the tickets yet, and I'm starting to get worried. Can you help?

Travel Troubleshooter: Airline must have confused me with the other Weiner

Q: The airline Alitalia checked me in as the wrong passenger on a flight from Miami to Rome to Tel Aviv. There was another E.…

Travel Troubleshooter: Hertz damage claim is suspicious on two counts

Q: I am writing to you today regarding a damage claim I have received from Hertz. I rented a car from Hertz’s Maui Airport location…

Travel Troubleshooter: Angry about 'bait-and-switch' travel insurance

Q: The United Airlines website offers Allianz travel insurance, but when it came to covering my expenses, I felt it was a bait-and-switch.A friend and…

Travel Troubleshooter: Travelocity charges her twice, plus a $75 fee to fix it

Q: I booked a round-trip flight on American Airlines from Minneapolis to Shannon, Ireland, for May, using Travelocity.com. The next day, Travelocity sent me a…

Travel Troubleshooter: Misspelled middle name on ticket leads to even more confusion

Q: I recently booked a one-way ticket from Osaka, Japan, to San Francisco through eDreams. My middle name was misspelled, so I called eDreams to…

Travel Troubleshooter: Expedia won't refund insurance for canceled flight

Q: I am deeply disturbed by my experience with Expedia. I'm paying for 15 members of my family — my wife and myself, four children…

Travel Troubleshooter: Flight booking is no time for buyer's remorse

travel Troubleshooter | Christopher ElliottQ: I recently booked two tickets to Scotland on American Airlines. A few weeks ago, I saw that the cost of the tickets…

Travel Troubleshooter: Wife blacklisted by Hertz for unauthorized driver

Q: I would appreciate it if you could contact the appropriate person at Hertz and assist with getting my wife removed from the company’s Do…
Travel Troubleshooter: Airline gives grieving parents an 'insensitive' offer

Travel Troubleshooter: Airline gives grieving parents an 'insensitive' offer

Q: Our daughter died suddenly in her sleep last year while my wife I were in Venice, Italy. We had a first-class ticket with award…
Travel Troubleshooter: What happens when airlines don't fly due to a strike?

Travel Troubleshooter: What happens when airlines don't fly due to a strike?

We were notified the morning of our departure that the long-haul pilots had gone on strike and were told to call Lufthansa to rebook. We tried calling the airline for five hours, but no one answered.

Travel Troubleshooter: Can I get a refund for an invalid airline ticket to Lima?

Q: I recently booked a round-trip airline ticket from Columbus, Ohio, to Lima, Peru, on Avianca Airlines, a United Airlines partner. The first leg…
Travel Troubleshooter: Flight upgrade request turns into a downgrade

Travel Troubleshooter: Flight upgrade request turns into a downgrade

Q: I experienced several mishaps when I was flying from Rome to Dallas on Lufthansa. The segment be­­tween Frankfurt and Chicago was booked in premium…

Travel Troubleshooter: Casablanca hotel charged for canceled reservation

Q: I made a reservation for a room at the Gite Nadia near Casablanca, Morocco, using ­Booking.com. Because of a scheduling error, I realized I…

Travel Troubleshooter: A year later, promised ticket refund hasn't arrived

Q: American Airlines made a data-entry error when my husband and I booked our airline tickets by phone. An agent entered our return dates as…

Travel Troubleshooter: Airfare charge in euros bumped up the price

Q: I think I’ve reached a dead end with KLM and wondered if you could help. At the end of January, I contacted the airline…
Travel Troubleshooter: Complicated flight plan results in lost money

Travel Troubleshooter: Complicated flight plan results in lost money

Circumstances beyond my control caused me to miss a flight and rebook another, and the airline refuses to refund me.

Travel Troubleshooter: Hotel wasn't near airport as advertised

When I arrived at the airport and tried to get a taxi to the Hilton Shenzhen Shekou Nanhai, I was in for a shock.

Travel Troubleshooter: Vacation villa is closed; Expedia is no help

Q: A few months ago, my family and I booked a hotel and flights through Expedia for a trip from Cleveland to St. Lucia. We…

Travel Troubleshooter: Is $1,885 rental car repair bill a scam?

Q: My wife and I recently flew up to Knoxville, Tenn., to visit my family. We prepaid for a rental car through Alamo. The rental…
Travel Troubleshooter: Wrong dates on Priceline reservation

Travel Troubleshooter: Wrong dates on Priceline reservation

You have to pay close attention when you're making a reservation.

Travel Troubleshooter: Air New Zealand Skycouch falls through

Q: Last year I booked an Air New Zealand Skycouch for a flight from San Francisco to Auckland, New Zealand. I’d recently had knee surgery…
Travel Troubleshooter: Airline didn't provide the seats purchased

Travel Troubleshooter: Airline didn't provide the seats purchased

We paid British Airways $168 for two seat reservations. When we boarded the plane, our chosen seats were not in the position presented by the website.

Travel Troubleshooters: Expedia flight credit expires before advertised

Q: We booked a flight through Expedia on US Airways to Tel Aviv last November. We were unable to go. When we canceled the trip…

Travel Troubleshooter: Travel insurance didn't come through when it counted

Q: I’m writing about what I believe was an unfair, unethical decision on the part of Allianz. My uncle purchased travel insurance from the company…
Travel Troubleshooter: Refund for second honeymoon gets held up

Travel Troubleshooter: Refund for second honeymoon gets held up

I booked a stay in St. Maarten for my 45th anniversary. It was supposed to be a second honeymoon. I've been trying to get a refund for my US Airways vacation ever since.

Travel Troubleshooter: What about ticket for wife in intensive care?

Q: Earlier this year, I booked flights with Expedia on Icelandair for a trip to Paris and London for my wife and me. It was…

Travel Troubleshooter: Tough to get a refund after double charge for airline ticket

Q: I recently booked one airline ticket through Expedia. At least that's what I thought. I paid $310 for what I thought was one ticket,…

Travel Troubleshooter: Does traveler still have to pay for hotel if travel agent flubbed?

Q: I made a reservation for two rooms at Cedar Breaks Lodge in Brian Head, Utah, for our family vacation during Christmas break. I made…

When travel companies sue their customers

An uptick in litigation in the travel industry may be the result of a sluggish economy.

Six questions to ask before buying a travel insurance policy

Reports of fake travel insurance are on the rise. Here's how you can avoid buying a bad policy.
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