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Hotel: Concierge Bell (Photo: Shutterstock/Levent Konuk)

Forrester Research this week released its annual study ranking the customer experience at 175 large U.S. companies, including airlines, hotels, and rental-car companies.

Results of the Customer Experience Index, 2014 study were based on respondents' answers to three questions:

1. How enjoyable were they to do business with?

2. How easy were they to do business with?...read more»

Hotel: Business Man with Luggage, Using Tablet (Photo: Shutterstock/Diego Cervo)

When I quote a travel supplier's advertising copy, it's typically to deride it. The airfare ad that boasts a great price, but fails to mention the fees. Or the fact that it's only available for Tuesday red-eye flights.

In the case of a promotional email from Loews Hotels, however, the message is simple, clear, and compelling: "When we promise all the comforts of home, we mean it. Loews is proud to announce complimentary wireless Internet access in every room and at every hotel."...read more»

Southwest: Refueling Plane (Photo: Southwest Airlines/Stephen M. Keller)

Forrester Research this week released its annual study ranking the customer experience at 175 large U.S. companies.

Results of the Customer Experience Index, 2014 study were based on respondents' answers to three questions:...read more»

(Photo:  Getty Images/Justin Sullivan)

January is shaping up to be a horrific month for flyers. It was only a few weeks ago that a major winter storm snarled air traffic in the Midwest and the Northeast. And now, another bout of bad weather is causing delays and cancellations in the busy Northeast.

According to data from FlightAware, almost 7,000 flights were canceledTuesday, along with roughly 4,000 flight delays. As of this morning, about 1,500 flights have been grounded. Airports most affected by the storm include some of the busiest in the nation: hubs in Washington, D.C., Boston, Philadelphia, and New York....read more»

Photo: Index Open

For at least 48 hours, and possibly longer, the most e-mailed recent story on the New York Times website was "How to Choose an Air Travel Search Site." So it's obviously a topic of more than marginal interest.

My own focus when it comes to covering travel isn't bargain airfares. But when it's time to book my own flights, I'm as cost-conscious as the next penny-pincher, especially since most of my current trips are on my own dime....read more»

Man with bags walking down empty road (Photo: iStockphoto/Johnny Habell)

"Sue the bums."

That's a sentiment that many frequent flyers have harbored toward their mileage programs and the airlines that operate them. In the end, most just suffer whatever the latest indignity happens to be, recalibrate their expectations, and move on.

But some travelers do take the airlines to court, testing the limits of consumers' rights against those of the airlines.

United, for example, was recently taken to task for awarding fewer frequent flyer miles than were actually flown by the plaintiff. The case turned on the definition of "flight miles." The judge in that case, Han v. United Continental Holdings, Inc., ruled in United's favor, declaring that United's use of standardized flight distances was fair and reasonable....read more»

Hotel Sign (Photo: Thinkstock/Hemera)

You can expect some new ways to arrange hotel accommodations this year, as well as a few changes in the old ways. And, as usual, along the way you'll have to watch out for gotchas.

The biggest change this year is a new website that allows you to compare hotel prices, posted side by side in terms of what you actually have to pay. Until now, the big metasearch engines have used only the base room rates, as supplied by individual hotels, either directly or through the Global Distribution Systems (GDS), in their initial side-by-side price comparisons. They may show taxes and mandatory fees somewhere along the purchase process, but do not include them in the first comparison, and sometimes they state only something to the effect that "taxes and fees may be extra." This approach, of course, greatly distorts price comparisons. ...read more»

Delta aircraft on the ground and taking off (Photo: Delta)

With United still suffering from residual post-merger indigestion and American-US Airways just entering the assimilation maze, Delta is emerging as the trendsetter among giant domestic airlines. Don't be surprised if the new American and United adopt a "me, too" strategy on the Delta pattern.

Delta's latest move is a $770 million "refreshment" of its 757-200, 737-800, and A319/320 fleets "to improve passenger comfort." But that's a bit of a misnomer: Sure, some of the changes will actually improve passenger comfort, but Delta is also focused on the "comfort" of its annual profit report. Among the changes: ...read more»

<strong>Alicante, Spain</strong>

Located along the eastern coast in the Costa Blanca region, <a href="http://www.alicanteturismo.com/index.asp?ididioma=2&idioma=en" target="_blank">Alicante</a> is one of Spain's oldest cities, with a history dating back more than 3,000 years. The old town is where you will find most of the city's historic monuments, but don't miss the Santa Barbara Castle, one of Spain's biggest medieval fortresses, perched high above the city on Mount Benacantil.

(Photo: iStockphoto/Aleksey Trefilov)

Enter the Travel Channel The Trip: 2014 sweepstakes by March 24, 2014, for a chance to win the grand prize: a trip for two to Spain and Morocco, including air and hotel, and "exclusive access to amazing restaurants and activities," worth up to $100,000. (Full details of the prize trip will be posted to the sweepstakes site on or about January 27.)

The winner may choose to receive a $75,000 check in lieu of the prize trip....read more»

Woman: On Bed with Laptop (Photo: Thinkstock/Wavebreak Media)

You don't have to have been traveling very long to know that airfares can go up and down like an elevator at quitting time. And you pretty much know that you want to buy at the bottom floor, not the penthouse prices. Sure, you could spend hours a day scouring the various travel websites the way technical stock traders scour the markets, but there's an easier way: Sign up for a few of the free airfare alert systems that keep track for you. ...read more»

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