Traveling typically involves a number of consumer agreements and contracts, which can include rental car agreements, airline reservations, and hotel room bookings. Given how important travel is for our ability to both work and relax, several different government agencies have set up regulations to protect consumers who travel. FindLaw's Travel Rules and Rights section covers the basics of consumer rules and rights pertaining to travel so that you can be prepared the next time you book a plane ticket or hotel room. In this section, you can find articles on federal aviation rules for luggage and security, how to resolve a dispute while traveling, and how to book a hotel room and avoid fraud.
A travel agent's job is to provide travel information to consumers and make travel arrangements for them. Travel agents can also offer advice and answer common questions about travel, such as currency exchange rates, local customs, weather conditions, places to visit, and the required travel documentation. A travel agent is responsible for coordinating a traveler's airline flight, hotel reservation, car rental, and/or tours at a particular destination.
Travel agents receive compensation from travel suppliers, and as a result, they have a degree of loyalty to the suppliers. However, many state courts have ruled that travel have special duties and obligations to clients. Probably the most obvious duty of a travel agent is to make and confirm reservations for his or her client. But a travel agent actually has other duties as well. A travel agent has a duty to warn of any negative information that is not obvious or apparent to the client, as well as a duty to inform of important travel information. A travel agent also has a duty to investigate and stay informed about any conditions that could affect a client's trip. Finally, a travel agent has a duty to disclose the supplier's identity that will deliver the service to the client.
Resolving Travel Disputes
You've booked your vacation months in advance and you're finally ready to relax and enjoy yourself. Unfortunately, not everything always goes exactly as planned. If you do have issues while traveling, there are good ways to try and resolve the problem, and ways that won't get you anywhere.
Although a problem with your plane ticket or hotel room can make you frustrated, yelling at the clerk at the counter or front desk isn't likely to resolve anything. First of all, yelling at this person will likely make the person less willing to help you. Secondly, most employees working at a front desk or counter don't really have the actual power to resolve your dispute. It's best to talk to a manager directly because the manager will have more power and authority to hopefully resolve your problem.
There are also some other things you can do during your conversation with the manager. If you're a regular customer, it could help pointing this fact out. It's important to keep in mind that it's more effective to mention that you're a regular customer discreetly instead of as some kind of threat. A business knows that repeat customers are vital to its business, so letting the manager know that you're a regular customer might help resolve your situation. It's also important to be flexible because the business might not be able to offer you the solution that you had in your head.
Hiring an Attorney
Generally traveling, even when there is a dispute, doesn't require the help of an attorney. However, if you need help protecting your rights with regard to travel rules and contracts, you can contact a local consumer attorney to help you.