“This isn’t the right time for people to be going to Thailand”

Agnes Levy is scheduled to take a Thailand tour with Overseas Adventure Travel. But she doesn’t want to go. It might have something to do with the State Department warnings or the recent reports of violence.

Problem is, her tour operator won’t let her switch to a different trip.

I contacted Overseas Adventure Travel about this and a representative stated that OAT was still traveling to Thailand, but had made a change in the hotels to keep us “away from the area where the violence is occurring”.

I was pretty amazed about that statement – the violence has been spreading and our government does not want us traveling there. The representative clearly had been given a prepared statement and wouldn’t veer away from it.

I understand that this is an economic issue for OAT, but I think that they need to take some moral responsibility for the idea of taking tourists into a war zone. I guess they are hoping that things will clear up by then.

I guess they’re trying to put the adventure in Overseas Adventure Travel.

A few more details about Levy’s circumstances: She has a “cancel for any reason” policy, but would lose some money plus get the refund as a voucher. She also had only a few days to make a decision, and hoped OAT could be persuaded to find another way.

This is an unusual situation, but I think that OAT should recognize that this isn’t the right time for people to be going to Thailand and they should cancel the trip.

I am willing to travel with them somewhere else, but I want the full credit for my payments to them, including the cost of insurance. I would like to know what you think about this and to see if you can intercede on my behalf.

OAT doesn’t have an official policy on cancellation during political violence of the kind Thailand experienced, at least none that it publishes in its site. However, it hosted an interesting discussion on its forum in which it repeatedly assured nervous customers that all was well.

Related story:   Can this trip be saved? "This was the worst vacation any of us have ever taken"

I asked OAT about Levy’s situation. Here’s what it had to say:

At the height of the rioting, we were offering travelers the choice to travel as scheduled, to postpone their trip to a later date, or to move to an entirely different destination.

We have already moved Agnes over to another trip — she’s going to Egypt on August 2nd. She had to pay a $50 change fee.

That sounds like a sensible resolution.

(Photo: null0/Flickr Creative Commons)

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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