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Travel letters: Kudos for a SoCal-friendly section

Plus, boycotting US Airways; and seaside happy places.

October 06, 2013

Ah — this was a Travel section [Sept. 29] that could be applied to the lives of ordinary middle-class SoCal readers.

Regarding "Fairer Approach to Ticket Changes" by Catharine Hamm [On the Spot]: Rebooking fees are the bane of the average person; hey, I have to work hard for $100. I just rebooked two canceled round-trip tickets on Alaska Air at $100 per ticket. Why had we canceled? Because my brother-in-law was dying when we were supposed to travel. No sympathy from the airline; rebooking fees applied. Too bad Southwest doesn't go to Hawaii; we use them whenever possible just to avoid rebooking because life is what happens when you are making other plans.

In United's defense, despite not having purchased the cancellation policy, I did get a free rebooking from the airline when I had a doctor's letter saying I could not fly after unexpected eye surgery.

Onto Monument Valley ["Where Drama Looms Large" by Christopher Reynolds]. I went there as a child and remember heat and a bunch of rocks and extreme annoyance that my parents dragged me there. The Times article provided a new view, and because my husband loves to take photos we'll probably go — just not when it's terrifically hot. Reynolds' article gave us a workbench of tools to use for planning.

And then to lovely La Jolla ["Beach's Alluring Call" by Irene Lechowitzky]. We've been to several hotels in the area but not for some years. The Times article provided new ideas for a place to stay, good eating options and more activities to maximize the La Jolla experience.

The destinations chosen for this travel section are close enough to be within reason for SoCal residents who have limited travel funds. Croatia and Micronesia are places we'll never get to. Thanks for making it real. And let's pray The Times stays in print form, because I don't have the patience to read all this stuff online.

Janet Campbell

Glendora

US Airways? Not this flier

Here is my contribution to the ongoing debate about change fees: I recently traveled from L.A. to the East Coast to see old friends and neighbors. Because I was visiting people in three cities — Pittsburgh, Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Va. — I needed a flexible return date. I used a US Airways Dividend Miles ticket and was prepared to pay the astronomical $150 change fee. However, the airline would not provide me with a seat over a five-day span. "Oh, we got plenty of seats," the woman on the other end of the telephone said, "but not a single one is designated as a Dividend Miles seat."

I asked if she could get permission from her superiors, because there was plenty of room. "Nah," she replied. "We can sell you a ticket back to Los Angeles. It'll cost $425."

The result of the airline's mind-boggling policy was that I had to forgo a longer visit and take a two-hour train trip from Richmond to Washington's Reagan airport to return to L.A. on my original ticket. I had a three-hour-plus layover in Charlotte, N.C. If I had wished to board a much earlier flight, I would have had to not check my bags; enter the Charlotte terminal and pay a $75 fee.

I will never use US Airways again unless it is a dire emergency. Lots and lots of others feel similarly. It is a truly hated airline by just about anyone who has had experiences with its rigid, hard-nosed policies.

Beverly Walker

Los Angeles

Happy place is by the sea

My happy place is by the sea in all seasons; in the Maritimes of eastern Canada. I have spent months every summer of my life there. In the winter, my happy place is Dominica, a little-known Caribbean gem. .

Peggy Coonley

Cape Ann, Mass. ¿

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