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April 20, 2020

Frontier Airlines Hides Its Refund Option

Filed under: Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:55 am

During the coronavirus pandemic, the Department of Transportation reminded air carriers that they had an obligation to provide refunds (not merely vouchers for future travel) when a flight is cancelled or is significantly delayed.

One traveler whose flight was significantly delayed by Frontier Airlines posted this cellphone screenshot showing the options he was offered:

Frontier change options

The airline is offering a full credit voucher and a $50 bonus, both good toward future travel. But do you see that unreadable bit of fine print on the very bottom? We have enlarged it many times below.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Frontier refund

Only if you saw that inconspicuous link could you apply for a full refund.

Come on, Frontier, be straight with passengers about all their options when flights are delayed or cancelled.




• • •

April 15, 2019

Fly to Hawaii for $6 Roundtrip?

Filed under: Food/Groceries,Retail,Sweepstakes,Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:10 am

Arby’s is running a promotion offering 10 lucky people the chance to buy roundtrip tickets to Hawaii for only $6.

Arby's contest

There are two opportunities to enter the sweepstakes: last Friday, and today (April 15th) at noon Eastern time. You will be flown first to Los Angeles, spend a night in a hotel, and then the next day, you will be whisked off to Honolulu in either first or business class. All for only $6. What a deal.

Except for one thing in the official rules.

Mouse Print*:

official rules

Your flights to and from Hawaii have to occur on the same day – April 27th. That’s right. Your day in Hawaii starts out with six hours on a plane going there. Then visiting an Arby’s to try three of their new sandwiches and be in a television commercial. And then another six hours on a plane back to the mainland.

As their ad states, “no volcanoes, no pineapple farms… just you, sweet buns, tender meat.”

So, if this is your idea of a fun vacation, hope you’re one of the first five today to win the trip. And here’s one additional consumer tip: You can save the $6 on the ticket by entering the promo code “Aloha.”




• • •

March 11, 2019

It Pays to Read the Fine Print, Literally

Filed under: Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:06 am

Since 2006, we have encouraged you to always read the fine print so you don’t get snookered by the strings and catches buried in advertisements, contracts, etc. A Georgia teacher did just that a few weeks ago and got an unexpected surprise.

She had visited a travel insurance website called SquareMouth to buy a policy for an upcoming trip. Like all insurance policies, there was a ton of fine print that could trip up a purchaser. Most people don’t have the patience to wade through that stuff, but our teacher did.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Squaremouth excerpt

The section above says because most customers don’t read the fine print of travel insurance policies to their detriment, the company launched a contest to highlight this problem. It went on to say that the first person who spotted this section of the policy and contacted the company would win $10,000!

This smart Georgia teacher found the clause a mere 23 hours after the contest was launched, and is now $10,000 richer.

Squaremouth winner




• • •

October 23, 2017

AA & UA Penalize Carry-on Luggage Cheats

Filed under: Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:23 am

A number of the full service legacy airlines have recently introduced “basic economy” fares that are stripped of some usual conveniences. One of the rules of these fares is that you can only take a small personal bag onboard that fits in the seat in front of you. You are prohibited from taking a larger piece of luggage that normally would go in the overhead bin.

How do airlines enforce this new restriction? They’ve started checking at the gate since basic economy passengers all board last. And if they catch you with a piece of forbidden luggage, you not only have to pay the normal baggage check fee but they also assess a penalty for trying to cheat!

*MOUSE PRINT:

Baggage details (American Airlines)

You can board with 1 item like a purse or small handbag that fits under the seat in front of you and is not larger than 18 x 14 x 8 inches (45 x 35 x 20 cm). You won’t have access to overhead bins.

All other items must be checked at ticket counters and cannot be carried on. If you take them to the gate you’ll pay an extra $25 gate service fee per item plus the applicable bag fee. [Emphasis added.]

That’s the rule at American Airlines. Over at United, they have the same policy:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Full-sized carry-on bags are not permitted

You’re not allowed a full-sized carry-on bag unless you’re a MileagePlus Premier member or companion traveling on the same reservation, the primary cardmember of a qualifying MileagePlus credit card or a Star Allianceā„¢ Gold member. Everyone else who brings a full-sized carry-on bag to the gate will be required to check their bag and pay the applicable checked bag fee plus a $25 gate handling charge.

If you want to avoid these penalty fees and restrictions, remember that Southwest Airlines does not charge checked luggage fees for the first two bags.




• • •

July 31, 2017

Hotels Tighten Cancellation Policies

Filed under: Travel — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 6:05 am

Many people are used to canceling hotel reservations sometimes at the last minute without penalty or cancellation fees. Not anymore.

Several major hotel chains quietly imposed stricter cancellation rules recently, including Marriott, Hilton, and Holiday Inn.

*MOUSE PRINT:

Buried on the Marriott website is their announcement:

Marriott International is implementing a cancellation policy at hotels in the Americas including the United States, Canada, Caribbean and Latin America, across all brands with the exception of MVW and Design Hotels.

In an effort to better serve guests seeking last-minute accommodations, guests will now be required to cancel their room reservation 48-hours prior to arrival in order to avoid a fee. The revised cancellation policy will take effect on June 15, 2017 for reservations made on or after June 15, 2017.

So the old 24-hours policy is giving way to 48-hours advance notice (and at some locations, 72-hours) or the traveler will be charged for the first night’s stay.

Hilton followed suit announcing that reservations made on or after July 31, 2017 would incur a cancellation penalty of the first night’s stay if not cancelled at least 48 hours in advance. Some of their hotels will also have a 72-hour cancellation requirement as well.

And last, IHG, which runs Holiday Inns, Crowne Plaza, and Kimpton Hotels is imposing a 24-hour cancellation rule as of August 4 in the United States.

Once upon a time it was common for a hotel to allow cancellation as late as 6 PM on the expected date of arrival. No more. So be sure to check the reservations page so you know what policy applies at your particular hotel.




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