After a terrorist attack in London, Kelly Bukaty cancels her British Airways flight. But her travel insurance company won’t reimburse her airfare without proof that her ticket was nonrefundable. Can our advocates help Bukaty get British Airways to provide documentation to resolve her insurance claim?
Question: I booked a flight to London on British Airways. After the terrorist attack on London Bridge, I canceled the flight during conversations with British Airways booking agents. Although they promised to email me a confirmation of the cancellation, I never received it.
I then filed a claim with my travel insurance company for the airfare. The insurance company is asking for a letter on British Airways letterhead, confirming the flight number, dates, and nonrefundable status of my ticket. I have asked British Airways to supply one, but the airline hasn’t provided it.
The clock is running out on the time necessary to send my insurance company all the documentation they are requesting to process the claim. Can you help me get British Airways to send me the letter my insurance company is requesting? — Kelly Bukaty, Lake Forest, Ill.
Answer: I sympathize with the loss of your trip because of your desire to cancel your flight after the terrorist attack.
But your case underscores the importance of keeping documentation of your transactions with companies for big-ticket purchases, such as airfares. If you’re conducting business by telephone, it’s especially important to request written confirmations of your transactions.
Without written documentation, as you discovered the hard way, you may not be able to get reimbursement for your costs, which could result in the loss of significant prepayments (as in the case of a flight cancellation). And it is important for you to follow up with the company if you don’t receive documentation promptly. Otherwise, you’re out of luck if the company or your insurance carrier denies your claim for reimbursement.
Your insurance company’s demand for proof on the airline’s letterhead is unusual. It was necessary because you didn’t have a paper trail of your interactions with the airline’s personnel. But it wasn’t British Airways’ responsibility to provide you with such a letter, which may be why British Airways hasn’t provided it.
When the email confirmation British Airways’ agents promised you didn’t arrive, you could have followed up with the airline’s customer service before filing your insurance claim. Alternatively, you might have been able to get the proof of cancellation you needed by logging into British Airways’ website.
You also could have used our executive contacts for British Airways to escalate your request for the letter, but you asked our advocates to help you get the proof you needed that your flight was nonrefundable.
Our advocates reached out to British Airways on your behalf to secure the proof you needed that you had canceled your nonrefundable airline ticket. You notified us that British Airways provided the proof your travel insurance company needed to process your claim, and that you are awaiting the insurance company’s response. We hope it responds soon with reimbursement for your airfare.