Check your contract and don't get cancer

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Feb 10th, 2015, 02:41 PM
  #1
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Join Date: Feb 2015
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Check your contract and don't get cancer

When you buy an airline ticket, you DO enter into a contract. But provisions for compassion and human decency on US Airways? Non-existent.

In January 2014, I booked tickets to Florida for Thanksgiving. In July, I was diagnosed with Stage II Prostate cancer and began 63 radiation treatments in October. I had a doctor’s note that I may be too fatigued to travel and I cancelled the flights. I then tried to get rebooking fees waived in a letter to US Air in December, stating, I did not know I’d get cancer when I booked.

Well, I never heard, went online, attached the cancer diagnosis,as well as a doctor’s note and the online response said: Your ticket expired on January 23, 2015, one year after issue. ..sorry.

Well, YES, there IS the policy. Then again, had I heard in a timely manner, it might have been resolved. My error in not noting the date? Yes. But companies have adjusted their own rules in certain situations of illness.

I have rebooked on US, paying my fare to go to FL in April,as a rare opportunity to see family. I went today for blood work to see if they got the cancer.Paying full price.No credit or fee charge for the $1322, they had. They made their money.

I know it really is discretionary and I the “if we do it for you, we have to do it for everyone" arguments holds little water.. In many instances, Airlines show compassion and good will.I guess they didn't carry that over when they merged with AA.

The fact I paid full price for my upcoming April trip underscores my loyalty to AA/US Airways though I’m rather disappointed.

Tips: get trip insurance, make note of the booking date, don't expect any airline to be compassionate and most of all, don't get cancer.It can ruin your trip.
arizonaguy is offline  
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Feb 10th, 2015, 03:06 PM
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I wish you a smooth, swift, and complete recovery.
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Feb 10th, 2015, 03:26 PM
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My family of 3 booked tickets to Zurich from Chicago, for a trip this past Nov/Dec. Two days before our departure I was diagnosed (and had life-saving surgery) for colon cancer and rupture. Needless to say, we did not go to Zurich. We plan to return to Switzerland in about 6 weeks from now, but have not purchased tickets, hoping to use the ones we had to cancel. We are told that with a copy of my pathology report (?) United will not charge us the $$$ per ticket change fee. Time will tell if they live up to that promise.

Good luck with your cancer issue! Fight on!
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Feb 11th, 2015, 03:47 AM
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Getting travel insurance is key. Why anyone travels without it is perplexing. Airlines state their fare rules when you purchase a ticket. It will state when the refund/change fee will apply. Why blame the airline?
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Feb 11th, 2015, 05:41 AM
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While I'm very sympathetic to both of these posters, the whole idea of travel insurance is to protect you in precisely these circumstances.

When you buy cheap, nonrefundable, nonchangeable tickets, why is anyone ever surprised when the airline won't just change the rules?
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Feb 11th, 2015, 07:43 AM
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I agree wholeheartedly, Doug_Stallings. However, I did not realize when a credit (not a refund) is issued for an unused ticket it is good only for a year from the date of purchase, not the date of intended travel. All the more reason to have travel insurance as well as a ticket with more flexible terms if you are purchasing many months in advance. A lot can happen between 'now' and 'then' .
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Feb 11th, 2015, 10:09 AM
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We had a similar situation and the trip involved five different airlines. The only one that did nothing for us was United after years of being at their highest levels.
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Feb 11th, 2015, 03:33 PM
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we were in London a year ago and ready to fly on Easy jet to Budapest when I was told my brother was dying and if I wanted to see him alive I needed to fly home to Australia immediately. he died 10 days later and Easy jet gave me a full refund when I was able to show them the death certificate and that's a no frills airline.
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Feb 12th, 2015, 03:30 PM
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I had to cancel a flight on UA due to a medical reason. I had one year from the date of purchase to book a new flight with the credit. They waived all but $50 of the $200 rebooking fee when I presented them with a doctor's note. This happened in Nov 2014.

I also had to cancel flights on Avianca. Same timeframe for rebooking. Avianca charges an $80 fee to rebook without a doctor's note and no fee with a note.

To the OP, I am sorry for your situation. I would still pursue getting the $ from the original ticket applied to a future ticket. If you contacted them in DEc, show proof of that. good luck with your health.
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Feb 12th, 2015, 07:15 PM
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<< We are told that with a copy of my pathology report (?) United will not charge us the $$$ per ticket change fee>>

Told by whom, c? Never heard of a path report being required. According to the info at http://www.united.com/web/en-us/cont...ds/refund.aspx the required documentation is a doctor's note. I hope you have contacted UA to learn and follow their procedures. Things tend to go better/faster when you get that info up front, including exactly how to contact whom (much of it is done via online submission.)
Last December when SO's mom died UA was great, went to lengths to save the second and third leg of our itinerary and refunded the portion we had to miss (less a small processing fee.)
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Feb 13th, 2015, 04:32 AM
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Seamus, I was not the one to contact UA at the time they needed to be notified as I was not yet communicating with people, just following surgery. I will be the contact person (calling 1k # today to make reservations). I think we pay $50 fee per ticket instead of 300, provided I give them the required documentation. I'll find out what that is today. Will try to report back here with results. When the initial call was made to UA I was very possibly not going to survive, so it was traumatic and the caller wasn't necessarily thinking straight.
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Feb 13th, 2015, 05:14 AM
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Simpson, so sorry that you were so ill. Hope everything is progressing ok for you. Good luck to you.

All I needed was a dr note stating I was under his care and was not to fly. I scanned the Drs note and emailed it on the refund page of their site. When I rebooked with the credit I called and they took care of it. I was charged $50 to rebook. I had no trouble at all.
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Feb 13th, 2015, 08:05 AM
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I've just spent about 20-30 minutes on the phone with a really lovely 1K agent! All fees waived! I've successfully booked us for our March trip to Zurich.
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Feb 13th, 2015, 08:54 PM
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Hooray! This may be coincidence, but seems like lately I have heard similar reports of UA being helpful in this type of scenario. Hope it keeps on doing so. So glad it is working out for you.
You'll love Zurich - it's not particularly large and definitely tends to be expensive but is charming and beautiful. I also found the locals to be quite friendly and helpful, if a bit formal.
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Feb 14th, 2015, 04:19 AM
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Seamus, I know Zurich very well. We fly into ZRH at least twice a year, and always spend several nights there. I love Zurich! I always enjoy shopping the Bahnhofstrasse, especially Jelmoli.

This trip will be mostly in Lucerne, which I consider to be one of the most beautiful places on earth.
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Feb 14th, 2015, 05:00 AM
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Glad it worked out so easily for you. Enjoy your trip.
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Feb 14th, 2015, 08:03 AM
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I'm glad to hear that your re-booking went smoothly, Carol. And I'm delighted that you are feeling well enough for your trip to Zurich.
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Feb 16th, 2015, 06:16 PM
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arizonaguy, I'm sorry you are out 1300 and change. I'm sorry you got cancer. Lets look at the big picture. You can afford to travel, and you are healthy enough to travel. You are a member of the survivors club. welcome to the club.
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Mar 5th, 2015, 01:51 PM
  #19
TC
 
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I have to give a big shout out to Delta Airlines. They really came through for me. We go to Mexico every February and I buy the tickets in June or July. Last year I was diagnosed with cancer and needed surgery so we had to cancel our trip. Delta only asked for the name of my doctor before doing a complete refund with no penalty or fee. Thank you, Delta.

In another instance, we were in NY on very cheap tickets when I received a call that my father had died. I called Delta and they kindly let us change our tickets to fly from NY to my father's funeral and then return home with no penalty. We only had to pay the extra charge for the additional leg to our flight -- approximately $200. If we had returned home and then bought tickets to go to the funeral, the cost would have been nearly $1000. Thank you again, Delta.

I am sorry to hear that the OP had problems. I hope your cancer treatment is going better than your airline treatment.

Cheers.
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