Need to sound off about a travel problem? Plenty of Web sites let you do just that. Going by names like Travelsucks.com, they often offer a satisfying soapbox for frequent travelers.
Need to solve a problem? That's not quite so easy. Lorraine Sileo, an analyst with PhoCusWright, a travel research company based in Sherman, Connecticut, says it's one thing to vent, "but actually solving a travel problem is difficult and elusive."
This summer, as the airline industry begins a slow recovery and tourism bounces back from the events of September 11, the Web will try to do both. Here are a few of the contenders:
- JoeSentMe.com is a new dotcom launched by industry gadfly Joe Brancatelli. While much of the information is "how-to" advice, the site often incites readers to lobby for a particular cause-and tells them how to do it.
- PassengerRights.com offers listings of rules and regulations that can help you find out what your rights are. The site also offers an easy-to-use complaint form and helpful tips on how to file a grievance.
- Ticked.com publishes a weekly column that fields questions about travel problems. It also links to articles on the Web that help travelers determine what their rights are and how to avoid having a bad trip.
- TravelProblems.com charges a fee for its help in resolving your complaint (a $30 flat fee for claims up to $200).
The government doesn't track the effectiveness of these sites. However, it publishes a troubleshooting tract of its own called "Tell It to the Judge" about resolving travel complaints in small claims court. You can find it online at www.dot.gov/airconsumer/telljudge.htm .
Christopher Elliott is a writer and commentator and the editor of www.elliott.org .
Christopher Elliott is an Orlando, Fla., writer and independent producer who specializes in technology, travel and mobile computing. His work has appeared in numerous newspapers, magazines and online. You can find out more about him on his website or sign up for his free weekly newsletter.