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Most airline tickets are nonrefundable and require a hefty change fee plus any fare differential. And many hotel rooms are totally nonrefundable and nonchangeable, so you could lose the entire value of your room. So why isn’t it the same policy when the airlines or hotel changes your arranged plans? As this article points out, one-sided adhesion contracts — agreements that apply to you but not necessarily to the company — allow these businesses to get away with changes without paying customers damages.


1. Read Christopher Elliot’s article about cancellation policies.What are some of the creative ways to tip the travel industry’s “no-fault” rules a little in your favor, according to the article?
2. Do you think that the legality of these one-sided adhesion contracts should be challenged in the courts? Discuss from the perspectives of both the consumer and the businesses.
3. Now read Christopher Elliott’s other article about travel packages. When travelers buy packages such as a cruise with airline tickets and shore excursion, or a tour with accommodations, meals and event tickets, what kind of refund problems might they experience? Why do you think the United States Tour Operators Association defends these policies and do you think that they should or could be challenged in court?


Elliott, C. (2014). The travel industry’s one-sided cancellation policies are due for cancellation. The Washington Post, July 31 (Retrievable online at

Elliott, C. (2014). What kind of return do you get on your money when you buy an all-inclusive travel package? The Washington Post, March 27 (Retrievable online at