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Kay2 Mar 2nd, 2020 07:07 PM

cancelling the package
My husband can't afford to get stuck in another country or quarantined for 2 weeks after a short holiday. We booked to fly to Athens via FCO. Long story short, we are canceling the Athens trip.

I had booked the refundable hotel option in the package. Cancellation was easy online. Now wait for refund.
Airfare was more work. I waited until Delta increased its leniency to allow change any flight to/from/through Italy (policy now all international) with waiver of change fee.
I had to telephone Orbitz to change or cancel. The wait time was less than 5 minutes to talk to someone in India or thereabouts. It took a few minutes for me to explain to the agent what I wanted to try--change, but wait to reticket because we don't have dates yet; if not, then cancel. Either way try to avoid change/cancel fee. He supplied me with the correct terminology and then said he would have to call DL to change/cancel my flights and check what they would offer. He came back on the phone to tell me DL wait time was long, so he would call me back. I didn't expect much, but within 30 minutes he called to tell me that DL would allow us the one-time change with waiver of change fee and we have to rebook by May 31 for a trip within 1 year of original ticket purchase. My husband plans a short trip to Germany in May if everything settles down, so he will use his credit then. The agent gave me a link to the Delta professional page that lists the code he uses that says we qualify, gave me an Orbitz case number to use when I telephone Orbitz to rebook, and cancelled our flights.

So, the cancel option for the hotel in the package worked. Orbitz provided good customer service at this stage. Cancelling or changing air ticket is more complicated than a direct airline booking. Just hope it will go as smoothly when we want to reticket.

Melnq8 Mar 3rd, 2020 06:22 AM

Hi Kay -

I'm sorry to hear you had to cancel. I'm facing the same possibility myself, as we're set to leave for Spain on Sunday. I've read all the fine print on my Expedia insurance policy (issued through Travel Guard, which looks pretty useless at this point), Lufthansa's policy and the Extenuating Circumstances policy for the Air BnBs we've booked in Barcelona and Madrid. It looks like there will be some help there if travel restrictions are increased, but for the time being, the CDC's travel advisory to Spain's remains at a Level 1 and I haven't seen any advisories for Germany, which I'll be transiting through.

So for now, all I can do is wait and watch.

Kay2 Mar 3rd, 2020 06:53 PM

Sorry to hear that.
A Spanish friend who has been in the US is flying home tomorrow. We were talking with her daughter, a medical student (in Valencia, I think) who thought they were approaching things well in their region. I see that Madrid has the most cases in Spain, but it also has the highest population, so....but I guess possibility of closures like the Louve.

Best wishes whatever you decide.

Melnq8 Mar 6th, 2020 06:19 AM

Lufthansa cancelled my flight from Madrid to Frankfurt yesterday, presumably as part of their 25% reduction in flights due to the Coronavirus. I only found out because I went into Expedia to print out the itinerary - lo' and behold one of the flights was missing. This seemed odd as previously Expedia has notified me immediately of flight changes - usually departure time changes of just a few minutes.

So I spent four hours on the phone with Expedia, simultaneously using their online chat to try to get things sorted out. One rep suggested that I either cancel the flights (at no cost - which I'd probably have done were I not traveling with a friend who is on another unaffected itinerary and if we didn't both stand to lose a bundle on accommodation and attraction bookings) or just show up at the airport and try to get the missing flight worked out then (say what?). Yeah right.

Instead, I insisted on staying on the phone and keep the chat open until it was sorted out. This involved one rep calling Lufthansa and waiting in their phone queue for a few hours, and another rep calling United and waiting in theirs for a few hours. What a mess.

I'd noticed the same flight on the same day just a few hours later, so asked if I could just switch the return itinerary because if they were selling the flight on Expedia, evidently it was available. Of course it wasn't nearly that easy, as both reps said they needed authorization from the airlines, but suffice to say some four hours later I was booked on that very flight, but routed through Denver instead of through Chicago.

Now I'm waiting for the other shoe to drop - I worry that my friend's flights will be cancelled between now and tomorrow when she heads to Madrid, thus leaving me holding the bag.

mlgb Mar 6th, 2020 11:44 AM

Yikes. Now the other shoe has dropped on why booking with any third-party can be a problem, they have to coordinate with the provider.

I once left my wallet at home and realized it about 2 hours out from my hotel. In most cases, you can't check into a hotel without an ID. I can't remember if it was Expedia or one of the others, but they had to clear my cancellation with the hotel. The rep actually offered to call me back with the answer and she did!

Melnq8 Mar 6th, 2020 12:04 PM

It was a hassle, but I suspect it would have been a hassle with Lufthansa too, as they were slammed with schedule changes yesterday. I was pleased with how it was handled by Expedia, four hour wait notwithstanding.

We've also booked flights to Portugal in May through Expedia - and I'll probably continue to book with them as I've been happy with their flight options and they way they've handled problems (so far).

I had to call Lufthansa this morning to sort out the seat assignments I'd paid for, but that was handled pretty quickly - after about 30 minutes on hold.

Kay2 Mar 6th, 2020 02:23 PM

I thought of you, Melnq, when I saw that Lufthansa was cancelling flights, but I knew you would be on top of it.:omg:

Out of curiosity, I checked and the flight we were scheduled on from Europe on DL has been canceled, so if we had left on the trip our return would have been changed while we were traveling.
At this point, I am out one night hotel I couldn't cancel, so I am asking nicely for a cancellation exception or a credit toward later stay. If not, it is the price I have to pay.

I do feel for companies in the travel business right now.

Kay2 Mar 8th, 2020 06:42 AM

Hotwire accommodating
I telephoned Hotwire, got an agent in less than 5 minutes, and explained we had canceled our trip, so would be canceling our hotel.
When she heard that one segment of our flight was canceled and the airline change was related to the coronavirus, she took all the flight information, then told me to hold while she called the hotel and canceled our reservation.
After 10 or 15 minutes, she came back on and said they were going to refund my Hot Rates (nonrefundable hotel revealed after you agree) hotel prepayment.
She said Hotwire employees were as concerned about closures/cancellations/quarantines as everyone else and the company had decided to take a generous approach to accommodating customers.

So, I received an unexpected refund--I did agree to nonrefundable and didn't claim they had any obligation to give me a refund because of our airline cancellation and our decision to cancel the entire trip.
When we do take the trip, I will be sure to book the hotel portion with Hotwire.

Melnq8 Mar 8th, 2020 07:25 AM

That's great news Kay2. Business practices like that keep customers coming back.

We booked a non-refundable hotel in Lisbon for our trip in early May. Good to know there's hope if we have to cancel due to Coronavirus related flight cancellations.

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