Even the savviest travelers make mistakes. They confuse dates, forget to hit the "purchase" button, fail to read confirmations, confuse currencies.

Travel Troubleshooter columnist Christopher Elliott (

» READ MORE: www.elliott.org

) fields thousands of traveler complaints each year - about 60 percent related to booking on the Internet.

Among the most common:

Paper tickets.

Travelers assume that all their tickets booked online are e-tickets - but some are still on paper. The flier arrives at the airport without the paper ticket and has no choice but to buy a new, more expensive ticket. (They then have to file a lost-ticket report and wait for a refund.)

Paper tickets didn't arrive.

As paper tickets are phased out, this problem should be resolved.

Incorrect data.

Travelers input the wrong dates or misspell their names when they book online.

Auto-filled data.

Travelers register on sites that "auto-fill" their information - not remembering that the site has stored a maiden name, or the names of other family members who use the same computer.


When the computer times out or the confirmation doesn't arrive in an e-mail, travelers assume the booking didn't go through and rebook - without first calling the airline.

No room at the inn.

The hotel has no record of the booking. Sometimes, Elliott says, this happens because a booking agency confirms with hotels via fax, and faxes can get lost.


Jane Wooldridge