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Travel letters

September 29, 2013

Randy Smith should consult an attorney ["Change Can Cost You," On the Spot by Catharine Hamm, Sept. 22]. I believe California law does not allow one-sided contracts; that is, it's $200 for him to change his airline schedule, but the airlines can change it (twice, no less) with no payment to him. That invites a scam in which the airline changes your schedule until it finally becomes inconvenient for you, causing you to change it, and then it gets its change fee. He and his attorney should consider a complaint to the government regulating agency, filing a criminal fraud charge and a class-action lawsuit.

David Fink

Los Angeles

Regarding Hamm's response to the writer who was going to be charged a change fee after the airline had a schedule change: It has been my experience that if the flight departure is changed more than 30 minutes, the airline will accommodate and rebook you without a fee. We have had this happen numerous times, and no one has ever tried to charge us a change fee. The most recent occurrence was in December on an American Airlines flight from Orlando, Fla., to LAX, previously scheduled to depart at 1:20 p.m. and moved up to an 8:30 a.m. departure. We couldn't possibly make this flight as we were on a cruise ship over 60 miles away at 8:30 a.m. Even though we had to reschedule with a plane change, we were rebooked with no additional fee. A few years ago, we were booked on a flight from LAX to Dallas-Fort Worth and then to Fort Lauderdale. The airline not only changed its schedule, it seated us apart and could not put us on any flight with seats together. I persisted and got us on a nonstop, seated together, from LAX to Miami, seated together.

And I totally agree with Hamm about Southwest's no change or baggage fee. These add-on fees are out of control.

Karen Hoover


With rising fuel prices, the cost of an airplane ticket continues to grow. But some consumers have other options.

As a city employee, I belong to the Los Angeles Federal Credit Union. When I use my union credit card, I earn points for dollars spent. I just redeemed 30,000 points, which got me a free round-trip airplane ticket from LAX to Raleigh-Durham, N.C. I look forward to my upcoming trip where I'll enjoy the hospitality of the historic Grove Park Inn in Asheville, N.C. My brother's employer holds an annual "leadership team retreat" for select employees; this year it is in Asheville.

David Tulanian

Los Angeles

Regarding "Their Happy Place," Sept. 15: It's hot, it's tropically humid, there are crocodiles, snakes and deadly jellyfish. I don't care. When the dentist says, "You may feel some mild discomfort," I close my eyes and imagine I'm flying over Broome, Australia. In my mind I look down at ribbons of turquoise blue water threading through a red and rocky landscape. I see uninhabited islands, amazing waterfalls and sparkling white beaches. It makes me happy. I'd smile if there weren't so many weird objects crammed into my mouth.

Barbara Goodson

Mission Viejo

My happy place is by the sea in all seasons, in the Maritimes of Canada, a broad region that includes New Brunswick, Nova Scotia and Cape Breton. I have spent months every summer of my life there. In the winter my happy place is the little-known gem Dominica (near Puerto Rico).

Peggy Coonley

Cape Ann, Mass.

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