You’ve booked your flight, paid for your ticket, received a confirmation. And then you arrive at the airport and you’re told there’s no seat, despite your credit card already being charged. Last month, with “Travelers’ rights: When reservations aren’t honored,” I recounted how I recently booked a rental car and subsequently found I wasn’t notified when there were no vehicles left in the fleet. That column addressed bogus bookings not only with rentals, but also with hotels, trains and buses.
Thanks to the web, making a reservation is just a few keystrokes away. We’ve all become our own travel agents and it isn’t so hard, right? Except for an all-too-common scenario. When you’re ready to pick up the rental car, check into the hotel or board the flight, bus or train — and you discover that reservation won’t be honored. It happened to me recently. And it can be both frustrating and extremely inconvenient. Following some helpful steps may help.
Airfares are lower than ever in the recent past. Right? It’s a mantra that’s repeated constantly by airline executives, analysts and even journalists. But it’s based on data that — like all data — can reflect lies, damn lies and statistics. Actually, fares are far from low for many Americans, thanks to numerous factors, including rampant industry consolidation, a lack of competition and the endless introduction of new and higher “optional” fees. Sometimes, accepted wisdom isn’t so wise.
On behalf of CU, my response to DOT abandoning pax by making it harder to shop for flights, fares, & fees: “We strongly disagree that these proposed rules are 'of limited public benefit' or would cause airlines to incur significant costs,” said William J. McGee, Aviation Adviser.
My USA Today column on involuntarily bumping passengers: "I’ll be the first to acknowledge there was once a time—back in the Mad Men era—when reservations policies placed airlines at a disadvantage. But that time is more dated than Don Draper’s fedora."
Such a terrific discussion on airline safety & pax rights in Winsted, CT last night. Ralph Nader & the staff at the American Museum of Tort Law were incredibly gracious hosts. Such evenings recharge your emotional batteries to continue the fight.
Muck Rack makes it simple to find people, tweets, or articles that mention any name, keyword, company, hashtag etc. We've compiled this guide to help you make the most of your search.
Selecting a term
Start searching tweets, articles from media outlets, articles mentioned in tweets, journalists'
names, titles and bios with some suggested searches:
Companies or Topics (e.g. iPhone, Microsoft)
Phrases (e.g. "cloud computing") — use quotes to keep the terms together
Twitter handles (e.g. @username) — returns those who have mentioned or replied to
Names (e.g. "David Pogue")
Hashtags (e.g. #sxsw, #london2012)
Bio details (e.g. vegan, Olympics, father)
Muck Rack's Advanced Search allows for many boolean operators.
Find results that mention multiple specified terms, use AND or
+. For example, ensure each result contains both Elon Musk and Mark Zuckerberg by
searching Musk AND Zuckerberg or Musk + Zuckerberg.
Use the operators OR or , to broaden your search when you'd like either of
multiple terms to appear in results. (This is the default behavior of our search when no operators
are used). For example, results will contain either cake or cookie by searching cake OR cookie or cake,cookie
Use NOT or - to subtract results from your search. For
example, searching Disney will yield results about the Walt Disney Company as well as Walt Disney
World Resort. To exclude mentions of Disney World, search for Disney -World or Disney
When using one of these operators with a phrase, enclose it in quotation marks. For example, you can
find results about smartphones excluding Apple's iPhone 4S by searching smartphone -"iPhone
Exact case matching or punctuation
If you're searching for a brand name or keyword that relies on specific punctuation marks or capitalization, you can
find results that match your exact query by adding matchcase: before the keyword you're searching for, like matchcase:E*TRADE .
Use parentheses to separate multiple
boolean phrases. For example, to find journalists talking about having fun in Disney World or
Disneyland, search for ("disney world" OR disneyland) AND fun.
An asterisk can be used to search for any variation of a root word truncated by the asterisk. For example, searching for admin* will return results for administrator, administration, administer, administered, etc.
A near operator is an AND operator where you can control the distance between the words. You can vary the distance the near operation uses by adding a forward slash and number (between 0-99) such as strawberries NEAR/10 "whipped cream", which means the strawberries must exist within 10 words of "whipped cream".