The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois on March 9, 2008 · Page 60
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The Daily Herald from Arlington Heights, Illinois · Page 60

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Arlington Heights, Illinois
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Sunday, March 9, 2008
Page:
Page 60
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Get your game on, go play at skate or surf camp Deep into a winter that seems endless, you're looking forward to that week of your kids' summer camp when you have the house to yourself. Come on, you know that by day three the hollow silence will be deafening without Junior and his miscre- Jacky Runice ant buddies Family travel at the fridge ===== and on the phone. Why not have the best of both worlds? They experience an amazing time at camp and you explore the surrounding area on a vacation of your own. If All Star Adventures wasn't named for the Smash Mouth song "All Star," it should have been because the song's lyrics are perfect: "Hey, now, you're an All Star, get your game on, go play." Rated one of the 14 skate camps "that don't suck" by Transworld Skateboarding Magazine, All Star Adventures' camps for kids and teens afford boarders a chance to skate the newest skate parks in Colorado, Oregon, North Carolina, Australia and Grand COURTESY OF WWW.AI.LSTARTRIPS.COM All Star Adventures' Sayulita Mexico Surf Camps offer ideal beach breaks in warm water for beginner and intermediate surfers. Cayman while being coached by professionally trained instructors who adore the sport as well as some of their fave celebrity athletes. In its ninth year of hosting summer skateboard camps, the company offers a lineup of day camps (for younger kids) as well as overnight travel camps that put an emphasis on fun—as a summer camp should. They meet and train with their sports heroes, make new friends, skate world-class parks and play hard during four- and seven-day camps for ages 12 and older. In Colorado, your young Tony Hawks also get some time off wheels by visiting spots such as Six Flags Elitch Gardens in Denver and camping in the foothills of High Country wilderness. Watch them go ga-ga exploring sample Colorado itineraries at www.allstartrips.com/ denver_skate.html. You power up the other computer and visit the Colorado Tourism Web site at www.colorado.com to explore what you'll want to do in the Mile High City and environs. Prefer the beach? The Outer Banks North Carolina Skate Camp sessions cost the same: $545 for four days and three nights (add three days for an additional $349). It's a spectacular seaside backdrop for skating Manteo Skate Park and Nags Head Skate Park and exploring the area via street skating. Get details at www.all startrips.com/ncskate.html. You get your own game on and visit the North Carolina Aquarium or the North Carolina Maritime Museum, both on Roanbke Island; get your best shots of historic lighthouses; talk to costumed Elizabethan sailors about 16th-century seafaring life at Roanoke Island Festival Park; indulge in just-caught seafood at more than 160 locally owned and operated restaurants; and kick back in a charming bed-and- breakfast, full-service hotel or a rental cottage. Contact the Outer Banks Visitors Bureau at www.outer banks.org or call (877) 629- 4386. For information about other summer skate camps in Salem, Ore., and the Cayman Islands (boasting Black Pearl, the world's second-largest skate park at 60,000 square feet), call (866) 758-2267 or go to www.allstartrips.com. Perhaps you fancy another hemisphere. There's an Australia Skate Safari in January 2009 exploring Sydney and New South Wales, and this summer or fall the company offers a ski/snowboard camp in Middle Earth: New Zealand. Participants visit three of the best mountain regions and areas where the "Lord of the Rings" movies were filmed. The New Zealand Powder tour is for teens and adults, so you can have a shared experience of a lifetime. Check out www.allstartrips.com/ powdernz_ski.html. Sayulita, home to All Star's Mexico surf camp, is a pristine coastal village 26 miles from the Puerto Vallarta airport, offering first-class beginner and intermediate surf breaks to learn the sport or polish surfing skills. Campers also snorkel, sea kayak, look for whales, fish and mountain bike. Who needs video games? The teen camps are held in late June 2008 and February 2009. Canceled ticket on Mexicana still remains a mystery Q. I had a major problem with a recent flight on Mexicana Airlines, and I'm not sure what to do. When I arrived at the airport in Chicago for my flight to Acapulco via Mexico City, I was told that my entire itinerary had been canceled. During the next few weeks, I would get three different explanations from the airline. First, that the fare was "too low" and that Mexicana canceled it after calling me to confirm. Second, that someone named "Victoria" canceled my reservation and requested a refund. And third, mat I called to cancel the reservation myself. I can assure you that none of those things happened. I was told that I had to buy a new ticket at a whole different price in order to travel that day. Since I already had hotel Christopher Elliott The Travel Troubles/water arrangements and people waiting for me in Mexico City and Acapulco, I felt I had no choice but to pay $500 for a new ticket. Mexicana has since reimbursed me $331 for my original ticket, but I feel it should honor my original fare. What do you think? Vicky Fligel, Chicago A. Mexicana might start by telling you the real reason your first ticket was canceled—not offer theories, I mean, anyone can speculate about the reasons your tickets were no good. Maybe the carrier's reservations system acted up. Maybe space aliens abducted your ticket agent. My point is, if you have a confirmed reservation on a flight, you should expect the ticket to be honored. And if, for some reason, it isn't, then you would expect Mexicana to do whatever it should to make things right. Well, that's what you would expect. But Mexicana's Transportation Agreement, the legal agreement between you and the airline, says otherwise. The airline "has the right to cancel, without previous notice, a flight or a reservation and the only obligation of the carrier will be to the fare of the portion, or the fare not used," it says. (Check out www.mexi- cana.com.) In other words, according to Mexicana's contract, it doesn't even have to tell you why your ticket was canceled. It just owes you a refund. That kind of contract language irritates me. What good is a ticket if an airline can cancel it for any reason, including, presumably, that the fare you paid was "too low"? Most passengers assume that a ticket represents an agreement to fly them from point A to point B and that they're the only ones that can make a significant change, such as a cancellation. How could you have prevented this from happening? Calling the airline to confirm your flight the day before leaving is always a good idea. You might have been able to sort things out if you had known about this problem sooner, But once you're at the airport, the ticket agents have limited options, and will probably offer an expensive walk-up fare like the one you ended up buying. You could have also used a travel agent to make your reservation. Yes, an agent would have charged a booking fee, but in the event of a cancellation, you would have had someone to call for help. I contacted Mexicana on your behalf and it issued a $200 voucher. That more than makes up for the cost of the new ticket, assuming you want to take another Mexicana flight. • Christopher Elliott is the ombudsman for National Geographic Traveler magazine. Email him atcelliot@ngs.org or troubleshootyour trip through his Web site at www.csr.elliott •org. © 200fl, Tribune Media Services

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