Does Everyone in the Travel Industry Lie?

Chris Elliott wrote a rather inflammatory article today stating that everyone in the travel industry “lies a little”.

From the phone representatives:

It would also be inaccurate to say the American Airline representative who Conley’s friend talked to told her the whole truth. See, under the Transportation Department’s 24-hour rule, she could have canceled her flight and made a new reservation at no charge.

Did the rep fail to mention that? Yep.

To the travelers:

An angry consumer will send me a written complaint in which a key detail is left out — or even deleted from an email thread — to make a case against a company look more compelling.

To the bloggers covering the travel industry:

“I am going to earn more than $100,000 this year from referral fees paid by this credit card. In exchange, I will write flattering stories about the loyalty lifestyle and I will downplay any risks associated with participating in a program. As a matter of fact, this blog would not exist without this clever affiliate program ad.”

A whole line of liars?
A whole line of liars?

I will buy that some phone agents will lie, some travelers will lie, and some bloggers will lie.  But putting everyone into a giant group?

I’ve had a phone representative let me know that the price of changing my flight was currently more than rebooking a round-trip and suggested I do that.  I’ve seen a traveler  point out to the airport bartender that he forgot to charge them a round.  And while (without naming names) I wouldn’t trust every blogger’s opinion on credit cards, I’ve seen bloggers recommend deals that don’t earn them money over deals that do.  I see View from the Wing doing this a lot.

I think there are dishonest people in the travel industry and honest people in the travel industry with a lot of grey area in the middle.  But for Chris Elliott to say everyone lies a little?  If he believes that, then maybe I shouldn’t trust his advice.  (After all, he’s in  his own category of “everyone”).

What are your thoughts?


About Jeanne Marie Hoffman

Former bartender, still a geek. One equal part each cookies, liberty, football, music, travel, libations. Stir vigorously. +Jeanne Marie Hoffman Jeanne on Twitter

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  1. If the TV show, House taught us anything it’s “Everybody Lies”.

  2. I think it’s unfair to assume someone is lying to you because they don’t know all the information. Sometimes there are so many ins and outs and quirky rules in the travel industry an agent may not be intentionally lying so much as they really don’t know the correct answer and they honestly think they’re telling you the best way to do something.

  3. I can honesty say (not lying!)-Brilliant post! I think as a society we get comfortable telling little white lies that it becomes the norm and doesn’t even trigger as a lie. In the case of travel, more than likely you’ll never meet or interact with that person again its easy to embellish the normal white lie into something a little bigger. We all have a way to rationalize what we do…do the bloggers say that they save us money overall so making money off of us in credit cards is a wash? Do the airline employees say that the recent mistaken fare that people got to Hawaii for $10 make the lie they told even out? As you referenced, it is when you categorize people into “that group” that the group no longer is human but an entity that can be marginalized.

    Personally, I have no problem paying more for some products but I require some form of relationship and interaction. A loyalty club requires action on both sides. Every once in awhile a blogger needs to say they appreciate their readers and that the readers and those that use the links below pays their bills and puts food on the table. Every once in awhile be human and transparent…and honest..

  4. Everyone lies…

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