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Is Coronavirus affecting your travel plans?

Old Mar 9th, 2020, 07:53 PM
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SWISS Airlines new policy allows for a free re-booking of travel in April if booked before March 5. That's me - I am ticketed to travel on April 6. I found acceptable summer dates for the same trip and the fare is slightly less than what I paid.

Problem is that I can't rebook online because it is not a simple roundtrip. It is an open-jaw I booked it with SWISS and called the service center but the recording basically said they were too busy, call back later.

What would be worse than paying the change fee would be paying a higher fare than the one that is currently available for the dates I want. It is a bargain business class fare and could go up $1000. But these fares have been around since early January, so maybe the will stick around until I can contact SWISS.
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Old Mar 9th, 2020, 08:47 PM
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Immediately after that last post I called again and got through to a human in just a few minutes. Gave the agent my new dates and then the system was slow and she put me hold - for at least 30 min. The music quit playing so I hung up. Called back and waited but the connection was bad, so I hanged up and called again. The lines are too busy again.
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Old Mar 9th, 2020, 10:44 PM
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Success, finally, after a 45-minute call. Most of that time was the agent explaining why I had to pay $101 more A new booking would cost $89 less than what I paid for the original booking.

The agent and I spent probably 30 minutes of him patiently explaining the difference.

Before the international surcharge and taxes, the base fare that I paid was $890. The new base fare is $700. They don't refund the fare difference when the price drops and they don't apply it to a rebooking. So, I lose the $190 and have to pay $101 instead of having $89 left over to a pay towards a "privacy" seat. The change fee that was waived was $450.

Meanwhile, the international surcharge would have been $100 higher for a new booking than my original one, but I didn't have to pay that. I didn't ask the agent about that.

What this story means to you might be that you might not have to pay an increased international surcharge (aka fuel surcharge) that would apply to a booking. They get you both ways on the fare, though. You lose if the base fare drops but pay more if it increases.
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Old Mar 9th, 2020, 11:07 PM
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Oh hell, I am confused. The receipt looks like I paid the extra $100 YQ surcharge and $1.51 in airport and security taxes.
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Old Mar 10th, 2020, 09:43 AM
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And there I was thinking the UK would be safer than the US! Although that was because of paid sick leave and everyone having access to medical care.
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Old Mar 10th, 2020, 10:00 AM
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It is clear to me this morning that my confusion was due to the agent calling the "international passenger" surcharge a tax. I know that it (aka fuel surcharge aka YQ surcharge) is not a tax or fee imposed by a government or airport authority. It is a surcharge imposed by the carrier. The airline keeps it and don't pass it on like a tax.

Today, the base fare for return leg of my itinerary went up by $1100.
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Old Mar 10th, 2020, 10:02 AM
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Thursdaysd I have faith in our medics and experts but they are hampered by chronic underfunding, lack of staff, and our utterly useless government which has rejected co-operating with the EU to try to control the virus because well, "it's the EU, innit"?

Heaven help us.
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Old Mar 12th, 2020, 03:00 AM
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Trump just changed a lot of people’s travel plans by announcing a ban on all travel to Europe (The United Kingdom and Ireland are excluded from the ban). He he attempted to blame the European Union for “seeding” hotspots in America with a "foreign virus" Apparently the ban does not extend to American citizens.
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Old Mar 13th, 2020, 12:03 AM
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" Trump just changed a lot of peopleís travel plans by announcing a ban on all travel to Europe"

Mix-up of "to" vs "from." Trump did not ban travel TO Europe. However, the US State Dept issued a suggestion/alert to avoid non-essential (not just to Europe) overseas travel.

Many are anxious and worried about this virus and/or its consequences such as hospitalization or quarantine far from home while traveling. That's why people are re-thinking travel plans. Governments announcing assorted measures --USA and many other nations which have banned visitors from some countries, or Italy with its national "lockdown " to name some examples-- are imparting yet another serious note to this difficult, unpredictable, anxiety-causing situation.
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Old Mar 13th, 2020, 02:17 AM
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We have reservations for St. Petersburg and Moscow during the first half of May. We're in the process of getting our visas, but obviously going day by day now. We're taking the Sapsan high-speed train from SP to M and I'm not going to make reservations on it until the last minute, when we're sure the trip is on, if it is. We have reservations for a week in Beijing in September - who knows. I'm going to Paris for a week in December and will make those reservations (on Delta) in March in case they need to be changed.

We returned from two weeks in Egypt on February 29. 36 hours after we got back I had chills, fever and other flu symptoms. Immediately went to the doctor who tested for flu (I did get a shot, but of course it doesn't cover all strains). Negative for both A and B. We live in Upstate NY. I called our county health department to see if I could be tested for Covid-19. She took detailed notes about where I was when (we connected through Rome on the outbound). Albany refused to send a kit down because by then I was more than 14 days from leaving the high-risk country (Italy). Understood, but we came in contact with many people including S. Koreans in Egypt - still no. They called me back the next day after talking to Albany again and wanted me to get MANY more tests including a check x-ray. All came back normal even though I still had symptoms minus the fever. Still no.

The last thing I want to do is take a kit from someone who's really sick. I'm over 60 as is my husband, but we don't have any underlying medical conditions. I knew I'd be okay; I wanted to know in order to tell our guides in Egypt who we were with pretty constantly and to tell others I had come in contact with - and to determine if I needed to self-quarantine. The county health department said I could go back to work as long as I felt OK. I work in a large museum and was asked to stay home for another week (which will be more than 14 days from leaving Egypt) by the time I return). Our staff is understandably on edge anyway, so I said of course I would. This past week some of my symptoms (mainly the cough and stuffy nose) are still there and now that the coronavirus has surfaced in Egypt so I called the county once more on the chance that NYS may have more kits. Same answer.

It's been incredibly frustrating. We'll never know if I had it or not. I'm one of those thousands of people who should have been tested but wasn't. It's even more frustrating when I hear that S. Korea is testing 10,000+ people a day. The only thing that makes me think that it's not Covid-19 but maybe a stubborn bug that I picked up in Egypt is that my husband hasn't gotten sick, thank heavens. I lay all of this at the feet of the US government. We all knew well before we left for Egypt that this was going to mushroom and yet the government denied it.

Anyway, we're taking Russia day by day and keeping our fingers crossed that we'll be able to go.

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Old Mar 13th, 2020, 09:44 AM
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ellen75005 - I saw elsewhere that during a hearing of a Congressional committee a Rep managed to get out of one of your health officials an acceptance that ALL US citizens who need them are entitled to free testing and treatment for CV-19. The question of course is how do you define "need"? To my mind you fall squarely within the definition - you have been to an affected area x 2, AND you have the symptoms, AND you work in a public area. The only reason NOT to test you is a shortage of testing kits. Glad that you are not very ill and that your DH hasn't got it.
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Old Mar 13th, 2020, 11:30 AM
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Ellen75005, I am glad you and he are okay. I wonder if you were exposed then maybe you have antibodies to the virus that could be detected at some point in the future, if you really want to know.
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Old Mar 13th, 2020, 11:49 AM
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Rick Steves has a weekly podcast which comes out Friday. I just subscribed to it.

But the last two, nothing about the travel aspects of the Corona virus, especially given the Italy lockdown and Trump blocking travel from the EU to the US.
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Old Mar 15th, 2020, 08:52 PM
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Is Coronavirus affecting your travel plans?

Yes, it is affecting our travel plans as I had to go to India by the end of March for business-related work but Indian govt. has banned foreign trips.
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Old Mar 15th, 2020, 11:39 PM
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Is Coronavirus affecting your travel plans?

Just a bit! Although I suspect we are being affected differently to most people.

As many will know, we sold our home many years ago to travel the world. Over the last 4 years of so we have been spending half of our time in England house and pet sitting. As travel bans and "lockdowns" have been imposed the people whose pets we were due to look after have had to cancel their plans leaving us with out a place to stay for the next couple of months and possibly even longer.

Tomorrow we were due to look after the dogs of the daughter of one of our regular housesits, That was cancelled as because of the US travel ban (they were due to go to their house in Arizona). We were booked to look after her mother dogs in April for three weeks but her plans were scuppered too but she has been amazingly kind and offered to go stay with friends so we would not be left "homeless" but not wishing to impose, we managed to make other arrangements. We have managed to secure a gig in Marlow at the end of this week and have booked an AirBNB for a month after that in Dorset so we are good until late April. After that who knows? May even need to buy a house
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Old Mar 16th, 2020, 07:12 AM
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Originally Posted by crellston View Post
Just a bit! Although I suspect we are being affected differently to most people.

As many will know, we sold our home many years ago to travel the world. Over the last 4 years of so we have been spending half of our time in England house and pet sitting. As travel bans and "lockdowns" have been imposed the people whose pets we were due to look after have had to cancel their plans leaving us with out a place to stay for the next couple of months and possibly even longer.

Tomorrow we were due to look after the dogs of the daughter of one of our regular housesits, That was cancelled as because of the US travel ban (they were due to go to their house in Arizona). We were booked to look after her mother dogs in April for three weeks but her plans were scuppered too but she has been amazingly kind and offered to go stay with friends so we would not be left "homeless" but not wishing to impose, we managed to make other arrangements. We have managed to secure a gig in Marlow at the end of this week and have booked an AirBNB for a month after that in Dorset so we are good until late April. After that who knows? May even need to buy a house
Mr. and Mrs. C I certainly do admire your adventurous spirit. You are living your dreams. Wow! Amazing!
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Old Mar 16th, 2020, 09:01 AM
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Finally was able to cancel my flight through Orbitz . I wish it hadn't come to that. I was looking forward to my first trip to Germany!
Thanks for all the tips and Stay Safe All!
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Old Mar 17th, 2020, 03:53 AM
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Originally Posted by mrwunrfl View Post
Ellen75005, I am glad you and he are okay. I wonder if you were exposed then maybe you have antibodies to the virus that could be detected at some point in the future, if you really want to know.
I spoke with my doctor yesterday who said she'll let me know as soon as they develop/perfect a blood test to detect antibodies. I'm completely recovered, but it will be interesting to know if I had it. Our neighbor was tested for it yesterday and we'll know in a couple of days. So far there are no recorded cases in our (fairly rural) county of Upstate NY. Who knows, maybe I was Patient Zero - not a fun thought.

We're waiting to hear more guidance pertaining to our trip to Russia in the beginning of May. We're assuming it will be cancelled, but still holding out hope. In the meantime, I've booked a trip to Paris and Edinburgh in December!

Stay well, everyone.
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Old Mar 17th, 2020, 08:27 PM
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With the global travel restrictions and quarantines set placed, it has affected all the travel plans. Hope normalcy will restore soon and people are able to travel.
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Old Mar 19th, 2020, 01:24 PM
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glad you're fully recovered Ellen, that must be a great relief. Hopefully we're all travelling again by December.
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