“The crew seemed to know nothing about my disability”


Rosemarie Ericson broke her leg in several places while she was skiing in Austria — an unfortunate and painful injury. Doctors implanted metal plates and a dozen screws. But that may have been the easy part.

Getting home via Icelandair was the problem. And in just a few keystrokes, her problem became our problem.

“Nine days after the accident, I was cleared by my surgeon to fly, with the caveat that I keep my casted leg elevated as much as possible,” she says. “I was also being guarded carefully for the possibility of a deep-vein thrombosis – a life-threatening and somewhat common complication of injury, surgery, immobilization of a limb or long-distance air travel.”

And here’s where her vacation really went sideways.

Ericson let Icelandair know of her disability in writing, but the crew didn’t get the memo. She has all the details in a forum post.

“Unfortunately, the crew on the Munich-to-Reykjavik portion appeared to know nothing of my disability,” she says. “They apparently had no systems in place to ensure my safe transport — either while on board or in deplaning — and refused to make even minor, common-sense accommodations to avoid subjecting me to unnecessary risks and emotional trauma.”

Our advocacy team wanted to help, but quickly found ourselves in over our heads.

Let’s go straight to the Icelandair response:

I am deeply sorry to hear about what happened.

I can assure you that all assistance and communication was in place and I specially ordered wheelchair assistance which included that you were not able to walk stairs.

I can see that they swapped the aircraft at the last minute which flew you from Munich to Keflavik and therefore the seat arrangements changed. Row 25 is normally a regular row which has reclining seats and I did assign Laura in 25C, but unfortunately I can see that on that particular aircraft, that was operating the flight from Munich, does not have that seat.

I also put in a special message that you had to have your foot elevated during the travel and that you were on crutches.

We sincerely apologize for all of this and I will take this further to be investigated, so we can improve our services. Something went wrong here and we need to take a look at that further with all parties involved.

Again, I sincerely apologize and I can assure you that this is not the way we want our passengers to experience our services.

After some back-and-forth, Icelandair offered Ericson a $146 refund. She wants more:

1. To obtain compensation from Icelandair for the avoidable health risks and emotional trauma they caused me due to their lack of preparation for and poor communication about my physical limitations. (Some amount between the $2,700 we paid for our family’s three round-trip tickets and the $146 they’ve offered might be fair.)

2. To highlight the need for ALL European airlines and the bodies that regulate them to step up efforts to ensure that ALL disabled passengers are treated with care on board, minimizing the potential for new injuries and grave health risks that occur when the cabin crew is clearly unprepared and uneducated about appropriate systems.


We had paid Icelandair $2,700 months ago to ensure our safe transport to and from Europe. When I endured a serious accident in Europe, my family asked Icelandair to do everything reasonably possible to help me ensure that NOTHING would dislodge any portion of that extensive repair during my return flight, as a fall en route would be disastrous.

Icelandair needed to do only two easy things: Provide me the reclining row we had carefully chosen months earlier, and provide a wheelchair so that I could move safely across dangerous surfaces.

Now, if you keep reading that forum thread, you’ll see that the exchange did not go well. Not well at all.

Some of our advocates thought she was asking for too much. I imagine some of you reading this will agree.

An argument ensued. (Sample response from forum advocate: “If you needed a better seat, you could have upgraded to first class.”) And that led to our own existential crisis.

Here’s the email from Ericson that landed in my inbox:

While I thought I would get some excellent guidance in the forum re: advocacy (which I know from reading Chris’ column) — and I did receive some valuable information — I was shocked at the extent of the hostility and mean-spirited accusations leveled at me by your readers/members.

I’m a disabled person appealing to you for help, and rather than get the support I was hoping for, I’ve spent most of this week feeling as if my crutches have been repeatedly kicked out from under me. (Six weeks after my accident in Austria, I’m still unable to walk or to work.)

I’m now sorry that I ever agreed to post in the forum. Your letter below was so courteous and professional that I was sure I’d be treated well and supported in finding a solution. Instead, I have a horrible taste in my mouth re: everything about Christopher Elliott, and I regret sharing my name and my details with you.

Oh no.

We have a team of dedicated advocates who help answer cases from readers in our help forum. Part of their training has and always will be that we treat our readers with respect. Reading through the exchange, it’s clear that we missed the mark.

Our moderators stepped in several times to encourage everyone to behave — to keep things positive and helpful and to try to sympathize with Ericson. But it did little to change the outcome.

Now, don’t misunderstand me. The advocates were giving her hard truths about her rights when she flies (almost zero) and her chances of receiving a full refund (zero). But that’s the kind of thing we’d rather allow the airline to do. We’re not here to carry the industry’s water. They have their own apologists who can do that for them.

I’m keeping this thread on our forums for educational purposes. I’m sorry for how this turned out. Ericson will probably never forgive me or the forum for the way she was treated, but we can learn a lot from it.

Yes, it can feel good to tell a consumer “the truth.” You should have bought insurance. You should have read the fine print. You should have skied more carefully.

But that’s not why we’re here. We’re here to help. No more, no less.

In Ericson’s case, definitely no more.

Did Icelandair offer Rosemarie Ericson enough compensation?

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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.

  • Annie M

    Yes. She isn’t entitled to a full refund because the airline did their job- they got her and her family back and forth. And why would she think her entire family is entitled to a refund? When you make ridiculous demands of course you are going to annoy people and it seemed she did that already and Iceland Air threw her a bone,

    Maybe they can give her more points towards a future flight because their only mistake was not having wheelchairs. She really needed to buy a row of seats in order to accomplish what she wanted. That’s no ones fault but her own.

  • pmcw

    What’s amazing here is the problems were not quickly handled at the gate, or even on board where I have to think a courteous passenger with a reclining seat would have offered to trade. The article didn’t mention a single exchange with the people at the gate, the flight attendants on board or with other passengers that could have easily traded seats. Why doesn’t the write up mention any of these points?

  • Kathi C

    This woman should have purchased Business class seats to get home. Expecting the airline to upgrade her was not reasonable and no seat in Econony would have accommodated her leg based on what the Doctor told her to do.
    “Keep her leg elevated level with her heart”. Not possible without upgrading of purchasing a row of seats.
    This woman had unrealistic expectations!

    The airline failed to provide a wheel chair and a seat whose back reclined. Period

  • jmj

    Where did the 146 number come from? Does this number correspond to something? Apologies if I missed it.

  • AJPeabody

    Three round trip tickets at $2700 means $450 for one person one way home. Icelandair gave her a 1/3 refund on the $450. That’s enough.

  • MarkKelling

    The airline did get her home safely. Maybe not as comfortably as she would have liked, but she got there. Not having a wheelchair as requested is not acceptable and this should have been handled better.

    As soon as someone starts throwing around terms like “emotional trauma” and “highlighting the need for all” airlines to do better it is no longer time for an advocate, this is lawyer time. Requesting a full refund for everyone in her family was way over the top and is just not going to happen without a trial.

    Also, the first class seats on Iceland are no better than standard domestic 1st seats in the US (she mentioned she was aware of this in the forum post). The planes used by Iceland are 757s in a fairly standard layout. No full flat seats up front. For the situation the passenger found herself in, a full row to herself in economy would have been more comfortable as it would have allowed the leg to be stretched fully out. Of course she would have had to purchase those seats.

  • Alan Gore

    Remember that her problem started with an equipment change on the return flight. If she had bought a Business upgrade to go home, and found on flight day that Business was unavailable, would her refund been limited by funny math?

  • Mel65

    I get that this was not a comfortable flight for the OP, but it appears she got home with no additional injury our harm other than a serious case of irritation It always seems odd to me that people ask for refunds for what could have happened even though it didn’t. The compensation offered was enough for lack of a wheelchair, although maybe dune miles thrown in would be nice. I am curious though, when they landed why didn’t the attendants call for a wheelchair or trolley then? I get it wasn’t waiting, but it usually didn’t take long for one to arrive.

  • Alan Gore

    Both Rosemarie and Icelandair were lucky. Had her repair been damaged or a clot struck on the way home, it wold have meant a lot more medical care for her and a fat suit for the carrier.

  • Kathi C

    THEN she would have a real case. But an upgrade or extra seats never were arranged for. She just expected based on notes in the PNR that she would be able to put her leg up. Now she wants a refund for all 3 travelers? I felt sorry for her originally and as she kept adding details to her story, her demands became more outrageous.

  • Kathi C

    It’s the refund offered by the airline. (Or credit)

  • Kathi C

    You think they should have just given her free seats? I believe they should have required her to purchase seats able to accommodate what she claimed she needed or deny her boarding. Sorry personal responsiblity is missing in the case.
    The airline only missed the wheelchair!

  • FQTVLR

    Not once does she mention insurance or cost of the medical procedures. So I am assuming she either had insurance or they could easily pay the cost of the medical procedures. If she had insurance then she might have talked with them about a return home that would have been safer. (Several years ago a friend broke her leg when she fell down a flight of stairs. Similar surgery and the insurance company got her a good rate in business with flat beds to keep the leg elevated.) if money was not an issue then she could have changed airlines and paid for a flat bed seat. As someone who has had a disability all of her life (60 years to be precise) I sympathize with her situation and the lack of a wheelchair. But I also am turned off by her rants about poor treatment for disabled. And I am perplexed about the reclining seat. A bit of recline can be good for many people but would not have given her any more leg room.

  • John Galbraith

    I don’t think you should feel bad at all Chris. Rosemarie said she got some excellent guidance and valuable information so I think she did get the support she needed. I know you will disagree but I think a good advocate will tell people the weaknesses in their case; I don’t think that makes you an apologist. I think a good advocate has to fight for the things worth fighting for and tell the person the truth about what is not worth fighting for. Put it this way I deal with issues on the other side. If you are always bringing hopeless cases to me and complaining when the complaint is not valid in any way i stop listening properly and helping. If however you raise issues with some validity I will try and help even if i don’t always agree.

  • MarkKelling

    It appears that she and the other disabled passengers were moved in an airplane bus (noted in the forum postings). This is the vehicle you seldom see any more which loads up passengers at the terminal and then drives out to the plane and raises up to the level of the plane so you step from the bus onto the plane with no stairs (vice versa for the return from a landed flight). Getting a wheel chair would have required the bus to make another round trip to the terminal.

  • MarkKelling

    Iceland flys only two different aircraft: 757-200 and 757-300. The seats she was in (25C) are the same on both according to Seatguru. They are not restricted recline, they are not up against the bulkhead, they are not at the change point from Saga (Iceland’s business class) to economy. So an equipment change should have had zero impact on her seats.

    But what is interesting, and Seatguru may not be aware of, is Iceland recently replaced all the seats on their planes so they now have an Economy Comfort section they used to not have. The new seats in regular economy might be that much more uncomfortable and be of the “pre-reclined” variety favored by discount airlines.

  • MarkKelling

    I don’t see there being any basis for a suit other than her claim of “emotional trauma”. She was aware of her medical condition. She chose not to purchase an extra seat or two to allow her to prop up her leg. She chose to fly when the airline was unable to accommodate her special needs on that specific flight.

  • JewelEyed

    Unfortunately, when you start throwing around things like “emotional trauma” and start requesting refunds for other flyers who received what they paid for, the odds of getting full compensation for your own ticket evaporates. From all we’ve seen reading this blog, that almost always turns out to be the case. Businesses are much likely to play ball and make a deal with you if that’s how you approach the situation. That’s not a justification (as would be offered by an apologist), it’s an explanation. A justification implies that it makes it okay, and an explanation does not.

    Also, if she was required to keep her leg at the level of her heart, anything short of a full lay-flat seat should have made this literally impossible. The letter refers to “reclining seats,” but which is it? Even if she had purchased extra seats, she would have to be laying sideways, which would mean she could not be properly seatbelted in for safety. It seems that while not having a wheelchair was a serious problem, the accommodations purchased (if not lay-flat) were insufficient for her new needs as well, so there is certainly room to learn on both sides of the transaction.

    Considering the complexity of the situation, perhaps enlisting the services of a travel agent would have been a good idea. Certainly, a phone call to the airline to speak to someone about what accommodations would be sufficient and what they could do for her if there happened to be a problem might have left both parties better prepared. Truthfully, based on her needs, I’m rather shocked that she wasn’t told she needed to be med evaced back to the states. I’m grateful that wasn’t necessary, because the cost would have been astronomical, especially if her insurance wouldn’t cover it.

  • JewelEyed

    An interesting thought, but they would have to be able to prove that the situation was the cause. Specifically, a DVT can occur after surgery, after a long bone fracture, and during air travel separately. Proving that it was the air travel that caused it would be pretty much impossible.

  • Some people on this site really should learn to improve their “bedside manner”. You can disagree with someone, tell them they’re wrong, and still actually be nice about it.

  • Annie M

    Iceland Air doesn’t have true business class. Their business class consists of what any other airline would call comfort plus. And she claims on the forum the airline wanted $6000. We don’t know if that was for only her seat or if she was upgrading all three of them, which wasn’t necessary at all.

    She really needed to fly home on another airline that had the type of seats she needed.

    Too many people who write here don’t realize how they turn people off when they made ridiculous demands, like thinking they deserve a full refund for not only their ticket but everyone else in their party. If they turn off the readers here, imaging how the companies they write to feel.

  • Kathi C

    Touché

  • ChelseaGirl

    It is not clear exactly what happened. If she didn’t get a wheelchair how did she get from the airport entrance to the gate? Did she fly the entire way without elevating her foot?

    Obviously the airline dropped the ball, but I don’t think she is entitled to a full refund. Yes, she was exposed to risk, but nothing actually happened and fortunately she didn’t fall.

  • ChelseaGirl

    Dont agree. If an aircraft change gets rid of your seat, and you can’t sit in the new seat because of health reasons, the decent thing for the airline to do is upgrade you at no charge. When I sprained my foot Jet Blue upgraded me to the extra legroom seat, and that was not due to an aircraft change. They just did it because obviously they believe in great customer service. It was a kind gesture that I really appreciated. This woman Had an injury and Icelandair still didn’t upgrade her. It doesn’t mean she should get a refund, but The airline didn’t do the right thing.

  • M B

    The sense of entitlement that sometime is expressed is disheartening. Life happens and it’s not always pretty or convenient or cooperative. The airline’s job is to get one from point A to point B safe and basically on time. If one has special needs, one should do their best to convey that. Understanding that you are one of hundreds if not thousands being carried simultaneously and each and everyone has their own perceived needs and entitlements. It’s actually amazing it even happens at all, considering you are sitting in a chair in the sky flying along at 400 miles per hour. But to expect mind readers who will pull off extraordinary feats for free because you have a problem is a recipe destined for disappointment. Buy the service you need to accommodate your issues. You made it home, intact and were even offered a dubiously valid rebate. Be satisfied and just marvel over these amazing times we live in.

  • MF

    One of those situations where a Med-Jet would have been a better choice, if she had evacuation coverage, or a spare $30K. Better than risking DVT on the flight home. That being said, we’re not always at our best under these circumstances. Readers should give the PAX a break (other than the leg), as this PAX’s case seems part emotional/part rational. It all worked out in that she got home without further medical complication, no thanks to the airline, but the carrier did fall short, and the carrier’s actions put her at greater risk of medical complications.

  • Annie M

    They don’t owe her an upgrade if she didn’t pay for one. What if you paid a few thousand for a business class seat and see someone get put in one that didn’t pay for one? She had the opportunity to pay for the upgraded seat and she opted not too. The airline is not obligated to upgrade her due to her injury. And putting her in what they call “business class” wouldn’t help her to keep her leg up as it was supposed to be because they are not lie flat seats, they are what every other airline refers to as economy plus. They don’t have lie flat seats on Iceland Air.

  • jmj

    I understood that. But I wondered why 146. Why that amount as opposed to another.

    Commenter ajpeabody kind of answers in his post.

    I’m just wondering how they calculated that figure.

  • Éamon deValera

    If only there were some system by which you could shift some of the burden of these medical emergencies off on someone else by the payment of a small fee. If only there were some way to guarantee that if you broke your leg overseas you could be transported home in a proper conveyance with medical or nursing care.

    If only there was some way to insure this never happened again.

  • Éamon deValera

    Sort of close to €100? Perhaps it was 100 at the time of the transaction.

  • Éamon deValera

    No, not really. They didn’t force her to fly home, in fact if she were concerned about DVT she shouldn’t have flown. You can’t really prevail in a lawsuit if you bring the injury upon yourself.

  • Mel65

    Ahh I don’t typically read the forum.

  • joycexyz

    Another disgruntled person who didn’t get what she wanted. Too bad, so sad. Yes, the airline dropped the ball, but she arrived home without serious incident. Is she entitled to anything more than a sincere apology? I think not. Apparently, she thinks she’s entitled to own the company. I don’t think your policy of being overly sympathetic is a good one. Personal responsibility is severely lacking in today’s society. That doesn’t excuse snarkiness (and maybe I’m being a little snarky myself), but telling someone he/she is wrong is doing all of us a favor.

  • MarkKelling

    I don’t either, but since there was so much missing in the article I had to this time.

  • Linda

    I was in a similar situation in Fort Lauderdale some years ago. When my husband made the reservation with Delta to get us to Atlanta we were assigned seats in the middle of the plane. I was having trouble with using crutches and when we got to the airport a Delta employee at the curbside check in area saw my cast and immediately got a wheelchair. He took a look at our reservation and accompanied us inside to check in where we were given bulkhead seats. I still had trouble getting from the airplane door to the seat, both in Fort Lauderdale and Atlanta, but it would have been far worse if I’d been in the middle of the plane. The flight attendant even brought me her rollaboard so I could elevate my leg.

    A few weeks later I developed DVT and it was life threatening because the clots moved and lodged in my lung. I only had 20 minutes to live when my husband got me to the hospital trauma center.

    I’m sharing my experience to demonstrate that DVT is a very serious condition and not all airline employees are uncaring.

  • Altosk

    I stayed away from that thread on the forums because…well..everyone had said what I was wanting to say anyway. But one thing the OP needs to realize is that in Europe “disabled” means something totally different than it does in the US. It is a specific classification where the disabled person (generally) receives a card to identify themselves as disabled. And, as far as I can recall, Europe doesn’t recognize an injured skier as disabled, as the disability is temporary while the break heals.

    I also think the OP is expecting too much. I’m not sure exactly what she wanted–was it a free ride in first class? Yeah, even in the US where you can claim you need a turkey, pig, or snake to keep you “emotionally stable” during a flight with minimal paperwork, she wouldn’t get that.

  • Tricia K

    My experience with Delta on similar issues has been quite good. They upgraded me to the bulkhead seat or something similar and didn’t charge me for the upgrade. My experience has been good at international airports as well (I don’t always know if I will need wheelchair assistance –it depends on how big the airport is), with several people offering me a wheelchair in one airport. I don’t think this woman is due a huge refund for her situation–some points maybe, but that is about it. I do sympathize with her on the issue with the stairs getting off the plane. I have far too much experience using crutches, and I would find that nerve wracking. Should you encounter the situation in the future, give one or both crutches to someone else, and use the railings instead. It is much more stable–even if you can’t reach both sides and need a crutch on one side. As a last resort, sit on the steps and take them one at a time – a dirty/wet butt is better than falling. I don’t understand why either the crew or the airport couldn’t have gotten her off the plane using a carry chair. The risk of a blood clot post op is pretty high. Her plan to rest her leg on her husband’s lap for the duration wasn’t a good idea. She has a legitimate complaint about the wheelchair/help getting off the plane. Even a reclining seat would not have made her plan any safer. At minimum, she should have bought a seat on another airline that could accommodate her need to elevate the leg. In the forum post, she describes emailing the airline about her needs in advance of the flight. This is one of those times where a personal touch would have been better.

  • Lindabator

    Sounds like the wheelchair was not the problem, but that they did specify she could not walk at all — frankly would NEVER have considered this as a valid flight home — too bad she had not taken out insurance – would have had a proper medevac home which would have been FAR more comfortable

  • judyserienagy

    This case was a really tough one. I, as well as most of my forum colleagues, feel great sympathy for Rose and feel badly that she was offended . It is always difficult to tell someone that they are responsible for the problem without creating ill will. I have travelled internationally with teams of disabled athletes, so I know that it takes constant pro-activity to make things work right. This goes for hotels and airlines alike. My husband was injured in Paris last fall, and we waited 45 minutes at 6am in the freezing cold for them to bring out the wheelchair, despite numerous reminders and pleas. I was stuck out on the sidewalk with all the luggage that had been unloaded by the driver when I was inside checking on the chair. The trauma nurse finally just threw a tantrum and screamed at Air France; that finally produced it.

    Fortunately for Rose, her disability was a temporary one, but she trusted the airline and airport personnel to keep their commitments. Many people do not know that the smaller airports/airlines often employ independent contractors who work for several different airlines in a given shift. This is a great plan until there are problems. I am sorry that her trip was painful, and sorrier still that we offended her. But I’m glad she is home and on the mend.

  • judyserienagy

    Well, there is a system, Eamon. Emergency Medical Evacuation insurance is very inexpensive, I’ve had it for years and it covers us for anything 150 miles from home. When my husband was injured in Paris, they took incredibly good care of us, perfectly handling every aspect of getting him home comfortably. I’ve had coverage through MedJet for many years, long before they became an Elliott sponsor. The experience was equally traumatic for me, and you can read my report on the Forums under Insurance. You have no idea how awful it can be if you are injured far away from home, especially with a language issue.

    As far as regular medical coverage goes, all policies are different and the traveler needs to check before departure. Our health insurance covered 80% of everything, we are very grateful to Blue Shield.

  • Éamon deValera

    So there is a way to insure this never happens again! It seems wise to do so, unfortunately the passenger in this dilemma failed to do so.

  • Michael__K

    Medevac insurance terms & conditions DO NOT cover a flight to one’s home, such as was the case here.

    It covers emergency transport to a HOSPITAL. If the passenger no longer requires hospitalization, then it is not an emergency evacuation.

  • Michael__K

    Please cite a policy with terms & conditions which would have covered this.

    Medical Evacuation insurance covers emergency transport to a HOSPITAL. Once the insured does not need to be hospitalized, then it is no longer an “emergency evacuation” and the insurer has no obligation to transport them home in a “proper conveyance.”

  • Michael__K

    Many travel insurance policies have coverage for accidents that can cover a medivac flight home,

    I’m not aware of any policy with terms & conditions that would literally covers a flight back to one’s home. They cover emergency evacuation to a hospital for immediate, urgent care.

  • C Schwartz

    The OP did not mention that she requested that. What she did mention was that she wanted to sit sideways and rest her leg on her husband to elevate it. So that would have taken two seats — that was on the forum post which I admit I just quickly scanned.

  • AAGK

    She arrived home safe and sound in the seats her family paid for. Why would there even be a need to contact the airline again?

  • pauletteb

    Plus, I don’t see how the airline would have been liable. There could have been damage and DVT even had everything gone as planned. In the end, SHE chose to fly.

  • pauletteb

    Since her current physical condition, although painful and deucedly inconvenient, is most likely temporary (I have my own plates and pins), she lost me when she referred to herself as “disabled.”

  • Michael__K

    the airline did their job

    The airline’s job includes (by law) arranging for wheelchair service “for passengers having difficulties in moving to, from or within, the aircraft.”

  • Michael__K

    Per MedJet’s terms & conditions:

    if a member is hospitalized 150 miles or more from home, Medjet will arrange medical transfer to the hospital of their choice

    If the member is no longer hospitalized and doesn’t require hospitalization, then technically they are under no obligation to provide any assistance. [And all MedEvac policies read this way AFAIK].

  • Michael__K

    This so-called “entitlement” is dictated by law. In Iceland and other countries that are bound by EC Regulation 1107/06, passengers with reduced mobility who request assistance in advance have a basic right to assistance to and from their seat on the aircraft, and within the airport, “with the provision of lifts, wheelchairs or other assistance needed, as appropriate.”

  • M B

    Were Iceland a part of the EU it could be applicable.

  • Michael__K

    It’s absolutely applicable because Iceland, like fellow EFTA (but not EU) members Norway and Switzerland, has adopted it.

    http://ec.europa.eu/transport/themes/passengers/air/doc/prm/2006_1107_national_enforcement_bodies.pdf

    Too many mean-spirited comments here which refuse to acknowledge the rights of wheelchair passengers or which choose to deflect from IcelandAir’s obligations under the law.

  • Karen Donner

    Chris, I’m really glad you said this.

    I don’t post at this forum often, but I do read it, and I was following that thread as it unfolded and was kind of appalled at how callous and rude many of the posters were, particularly when they chided Ms. Ericson based on their own misreading of her post. I’ve seen the same thing on many other topics; there seem to be some posters who take some kind of pleasure out of telling people that all their problems are their own fault, while belittling their integrity and intelligence. It’s not the same posters in every thread, and I’ve seen individuals be helpful in one thread but go for the jugular in another. However, there are distinct patterns and repeat offenders.

    I’ve also seen repeated pleas for civility and experiments with different commenting formats to try to reduce the blood-in-the-water syndrome.

    In my experience, however, there’s only one thing that ever really works in a situation like this: Get rid of the bad apples.

  • Karen Donner

    (What is really jaw-dropping, I think, is the number of people who responded to this post – by the owner of the forum, laying out in no uncertain terms the behavior he expects in his own space — and 1) doubled down on their wholly unhelpful abuse of Ms. Ericson and 2) basically indicated they don’t like the way the forum owner feels about this issue and have no intention of abiding by his request.

    So at least they’re self-identifying, Chris. Good luck.

  • judyserienagy

    So in this case, if the insurance covered transport to a hospital, you’d just have them take you to the emergency room nearest your house. Do you think that if you wanted to go home, as Rose did, the insurance would force you to go to a hospital? What would be the point of that? As you know, I’ve just had experience with Medical Evac Insurance, and they do a very thorough job of investigating every single component of the situation, then they tell you what they’ll do and what you need to do. It’s not complicated, I felt extremely well looked after. I consider it an incredible service if you are injured in a country where you are not fluent in the language. I’ll never again be without it and am telling anyone who travels to get the coverage.

  • Michael__K

    Reading the terms & conditions (of any policy I’ve seen), if you don’t need hospitalization, then technically you aren’t eligible for emergency evacuation any longer

    It seems MedJet Assist went above and beyond their policy terms in your case, which is fantastic and I think it’s great that you share your positive experience. To the extent we can use this site to help differentiate businesses that go out of their way to satisfy customers from businesses that go out of the way to recite contract loopholes to stick to the bare minimum required of them, that’s invaluable.

    But I reject when people post misleading information and exaggerate what insurance policies “guarantee,” all for the sake of justifying a cold unsympathetic posture towards customers caught in terrible situations.

  • Éamon deValera

    MedJetAssist Classic $270/year for medical return of persons hospitalized abroad to a hospital in the US of their choice. She need not have waited to be transferred, she could have left the hospital bed overseas and have been tucked into a hospital bed in her home city the same day.

  • Michael__K

    she could have left the hospital bed overseas…

    Which may have gone against doctors’ advice or been an undesirable option for a number of other reasons. Not to mention that it can’t necessarily be arranged as immediately as you imply and not to mention that someone in her predicament is not necessarily making carefully calculated choices based on the language found deep in their insurance contract.

    If she is an Amex card holder than she was probably entitled to emergency evacuation for free with Global Assist.

    Don’t get me wrong, MedJetAssist is a great product for people who often travel far from home, but your comment about what insurance ‘guarantees’ is extremely misleading.

  • Annie M

    In Europe it’s the airports job to provide the assistance not the airlines as it is here. If the airline noted it in the customers PNR, they have done what they were supposed to do.

  • Michael__K

    Merely noting the request in the customer’s PNR absolutely does NOT satisfy the airline’s responsibility under the law.

    It’s true that the workers who physically assist are contracted by the airport managing bodies. But the airlines have very specific “Transmission of Information” obligations per EC Regulation 1107/06 Article 6. And requirement 6.4 is particularly crucial when there is a last-minute equipment change as was the case here:

    4. As soon as possible after the departure of the flight, an operating air carrier shall inform the managing body of the airport of destination, if situated in the territory of a Member State to which the Treaty applies, of the number of disabled persons and persons with reduced mobility on that flight requiring assistance specified in Annex I and of the nature of that assistance.

    Furthermore, airlines are obligated, per Article 11, to provide thorough disability-equality and disability-awareness training to all employees who deal directly with the traveling public. If IcelandAir really did satisfy it’s Transmission of Information requirements, then that would imply that the crew members who told the passenger that there was no record of any request for assistance — and who did not advise the passenger to wait until assistance staff arrived — were not properly trained.

  • JewelEyed

    I think there are services that can be employed to get someone who is not stable enough to be transported via airline back to their country of origin so they can be transported by ground to a sub-acute rehab facility (which the LW may well need as she is still unable to walk and in a great deal of pain). I’m not sure how they’re covered and by whom, however.

  • JewelEyed

    I do have an interesting question though. After an extensive repair like that, she would have been hospitalized for a not insignificant amount of time. If she had requested to be transferred by medevac to a hospital in her home country before her hospitalization was over, could that have been covered? I’m not trying to armchair quarterback, but if that might have worked, it would be a very valuable piece of information for other people in the future.

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