Drama unfolded between a US Coast Guard spouse the H otwire travel company after the company initially refuse to make accommodations, basing their decision on the grounds of the Coast Guard not being a military branch.
US Coast Guard spouse Stephanie Hess reportedly had made a reservation cancellation for a hotel stay she had booked through the service, citing her cancellation reasoning as related to military service.
In response, a representative of Hotwire wrote via email that the refund would not be honored, claiming “Coast Guard operations does not fall under military service category.”
Once the email was released to the general public via social media, outrage toward the travel agency began to ensue- including many Coast Guard-affiliated persons calling for a boycott of Hotwire.
“[The] Coast Guard is part of the United States Armed Forces,” one Facebook user wrote. “PLEASE EDUCATE YOURSELVES AND YOUR STAFF.”
While officially under the Department of Homeland Security during peacetime, Title 10, Section 101 of the U.S. Code gives the USCG a gray area in which it can perform military operations under the Department of Defense.
Title 14 of the US Code states that “The Coast Guard as established January 28, 1915, shall be a military service and a branch of the armed forces of the United States at all times. The Coast Guard shall be a service in the Department of Homeland Security, except when operating as a service in the Navy.”
Due to a confusing definition of the US Coast Guard’s jurisdiction, it is presumed that the Hotwire employee involved either did not know the full details of the situation or merely made an assumption based on limited information.
Following extensive outrage from Coast Guard members, veterans and family members, Hotwire released the following statement on Facebook yesterday:
“We greatly apologize for the misunderstanding this morning. Hotwire recognizes the US Coast Guard as a branch of the military and we are incredibly thankful to all its men and women for serving our country. We are working with Stephanie to remedy the situation and prevent this from happening in the future.”
In follow-up posts, Hess accepted the apology, but urged the company to honor their promise to “work with her,” claiming she was still being “blown off and being told it’s going to take 7-10 business days for an answer.”
Hotwire then responded, claiming they refunded Hess in full.
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