I'm Chris Elliott, Travel Consumer Advocate. Ask Me Anything.

Having trouble with a travel business? Travel consumer advocate Chris Elliott speaks for consumers every day. And on Wednesday, September 10, from 1-2pm EDT (5-6pm GMT), Chris was here for an Ask Me Anything, co-hosted by consumer protection lawyer turned travel blogger, Jo Fitzsimmons of Indianajo.com.

Chris revealed to us how travel planning should aim first to please, not to profit. While the AMA is over, please do continue to raise and discuss consumer advocacy issues on this page.

Today's Travel Industry: Profit over Pleasure?

Who hasn't been handed the short end of the stick when planning and booking travel? Impossible-to-decipher rules, arcane regulations and capricious customer service seem to be standard fare these days as you try to determine how best to stretch your scarce vacation cash to meet desired needs.

It's infuriating. Sure, it isn't hard to understand any company's impulse to stay profitable, but it is baffling how often corporate prosperity (some would say rapacity) trumps customer pleasure, especially in the travel sector where the leading business objective should be& customer satisfaction. Shouldn't the first rule of a travel enterprise be to make travel pleasurable? After all, any operation capable of taking the Nero out of onerous is much more likely to be profitable, but not necessarily vice versa, certainly not in this age of online user reviews.

But, as we know all too well, consumers can be hard pressed to gain the upper hand, even when corporate distortions are obvious. The general public is sometimes just too disjointed to rally behind a common cause in an effective change-making manner.

That's why we need champions. That's why we at Outbounding are so pleased that people like Chris Elliott exist. And that's why we're proud that he joined us, giving you a chance to Ask Him Anything. Feel free to continue raising and discussing issues by commenting below.

About Chris Elliott

Chris Elliott is a leading consumer advocate and journalist known for his practical advice to customer-service problems. He has used his skills as an investigative reporter and writer to help people do battle against user-unfriendly practices and stacked odds like those associated with anti-competitive mergers, junk fees, loyalty programs, invasive security, lack of privacy and lying labels.

Since 1997, his website, Elliott.org, has been working "to empower consumers to solve their service problems and to help those who cant." Says the site: "If youre having trouble with a business  any business  and you've reached a dead end, we'll try to help."

Jo Fitzsimmons, who is co-hosting, is a former consumer protection lawyer who runs the travel blog Indianajo.com, where she is particularly vocal on consumer rights and customer service in the travel industry.

This AMA is now over. We thank every able to join Chris & Jo here on Wednesday, September 10, from 1-2pm EDT (5-6pm GMT), an hour during which a lot of questions were answered.

Outbounding is especially appreciative of the opportunity to host Chris and learn more about the work he is doing, his no-holds-barred opinions... and what seems like the very long road ahead.