A health crisis, a missed vacation and no chance at a refund?

Will a health crisis lead to a missed vacation?

Just before their Grand Cayman vacation, Tim Kersten’s wife suffers a miscarriage. Although their tour operator promises “a credit” for their missed vacation, it quickly reverses course. Will they get no refund?

Question

My wife and I recently bought a seven-night, air-inclusive package to Grand Cayman through Apple Vacations for our fifth anniversary. We didn’t buy travel insurance or trip insurance because we didn’t think anything could stop us from going.

We were wrong.

A few days before our missed vacation, we rushed my wife to the emergency room. She suffered a miscarriage. She was 12 weeks pregnant. The next day at her visit, the doctor told us that she could not fly due to the complications and uncertainty of the miscarriage.

The day after that, she had to have an emergency dilation and curettage. Again, the doctor urged us not to take our trip. We have records and documentation of both emergency room visits, doctor visit, doctor’s note stating no travel.

We shared our story with Apple Vacations, and they said there was nothing they could do until they canceled the trip. An Apple representative promised us a credit by phone. Instead, they issued us a $172 gift card and told us that we have $672 each to use at American Airlines, minus a $200 change fee.

We have called multiple times and have written several emails trying to get a hold of Apple’s customer care department. Because we did not purchase the insurance, their automated response reads that they will get back to us in “21 to 35” business days.

We feel that this is completely unacceptable. Understanding that rules are rules, and looking back, we regret not purchasing the trip insurance. We hope that someone with a heart within the company can review our case and help us out.

I was on the phone for three hours with them this evening, only for them to say again that they could do nothing but to try another phone number. I fear that they are spinning me in circles, hoping I give up. Do you have any suggestions?– Tim Kersten, Orland Park, Ill.

Answer

I’m really sorry to hear that you had a miscarriage. At a time like that, you would expect your tour operator and airline to offer a compassionate response. And, indeed, a representative initially did offer you a credit.

Then reality hit. You hadn’t purchased trip insurance, and Apple appeared to reverse course.

Does this mean no refund?

Travel insurance isn’t always necessary. But in your case, you might have benefited from it. I say “might” because I’ve seen pregnancy-related claims go both ways. Insurance companies sometimes consider a pregnancy a “pre-existing” medical condition and deny claims. Other times, I’ve seen them do the right thing and honor a claim made after a complication or miscarriage. In other words, having insurance is no guarantee that your case would have turned out any better.

The terms of your purchase were clear. Cancellations 44 to 31 days before departure are subject to a $125 per person penalty. And outside of 44 days before departure, there is a $45 per person penalty. But cancel within 30 days, and you lose everything. You agreed to those terms when you booked your soon-to-be missed vacation.

Your airfare was even more restrictive — a nonrefundable economy class ticket that, as you already mentioned, will give you a flight credit minus a $200 change fee. That change fee alone eats up almost a third of the value of your ticket, and American gets to resell the seat you didn’t use.

I keep coming back to the Apple employee who listened sympathetically to your story and then promised you a credit. Somewhere, there’s a recording of that conversation, and if Apple took the time to listen to it, it might see things your way.

To nudge a company like Apple, you might try contacting an executive directly. I list the names, numbers and email addresses for Apple’s execs on my consumer advocacy site.

Saving a missed vacation

I contacted American Airlines and Apple on your behalf. Although they were under no obligation to do so, both the airline and tour operator agreed to refund your missed vacation.

Underwritten by

Underwritten by AirHelp

AirHelp is the world’s leading flight delays compensation company, helping passengers apply for compensation following a delayed or canceled flight or when boarding has been denied. It is AirHelp’s mission to fight for passenger rights by holding airlines accountable for flights disruptions that are out of passengers’ control. AirHelp has already helped 5 million people, taking the stress out of applying for compensation and making it as hassle-free as possible for travelers around the world.

Underwritten by Allianz Travel Insurance

The Allianz Travel Insurance company has built its reputation on partnering with agents all around the world to provide comprehensive travel insurance for their clients. Contact Allianz Travel Insurance for a comprehensive list of coverage.

Underwritten by Chubb

Chubb is the world’s largest publicly traded property and casualty insurance company, and recognized as the premier provider of insurance for successful individuals and families in the U.S. and selected international markets, offering coverage for high-value automobile, homeowners, recreational marine/aviation, valuables and umbrella liability coverage. As an underwriting company, Chubb assesses, assumes and manages risk with insight and discipline, and combines the precision of craftsmanship with decades of experience to conceive, craft and deliver the best insurance coverage and services to individuals, families and business of all size.

Underwritten by Enterprise

A family-owned, world-class portfolio of brands. A global network that spans across more than 85 countries. Some 97,000 dedicated team members sharing common values. And more than 1.9 million vehicles taking our customers wherever they need to go.

Underwritten by Fareportal

Fareportal’s portfolio of brands, which include  CheapOair and  OneTravel, are dedicated to helping customers enjoy their trip. Whether you want to call, click, or use one of our travel apps, one thing is clear: We make it easy to take it easy.

Underwritten by Insuremyrentalcar.com

An independent provider of low cost CDW/LDW insurance for use with rental cars. Up to $100,000 cover with no deductible. Policies available on a per day, per trip or per year basis. Also works with overseas rentals. Try  Insuremyrentalcar.comnow.

Underwritten by InsureMyTrip

It’s simple. InsureMyTrip finds you the right travel insurance plan, every time. InsureMyTrip is the authority on travel insurance. Rated A+ for travel insurance by the Better Business Bureau. All travelers that purchase a policy through  InsureMyTrip have access to Anytime Advocates® for claims assistance.

Underwritten by Mediacom Communications

The nation’s fifth-largest cable operator, serving the smaller cities and towns in the Midwest and Southern regions of the United States. We are a high-performance broadband, entertainment, and communications company that brings the power of modern technology and quality customer experience to life inside the connected home by combining ultra-fast gigabit speeds with personalized local and over-the-top entertainment choices that fit your lifestyle. Details at  Mediacomcable.com.

Underwritten by SCOTTeVEST

An innovative apparel brand for people who want easy access to everything they need. For those who live for every second, SCOTTeVEST lets you maximize your life. Ditch the carry-on bag and pick up a  SCOTTeVEST.

Underwritten by Virtuoso

The leading global network for luxury and experiential travel. This invitation-only organization comprises over 1,000 travel agency locations with 17,500 advisors in over 45 countries, and holds preferred relationships with 1,700 of the world’s finest travel companies. Virtuoso advisors collaborate with their clients to create personalized itineraries featuring exclusive perks, while also providing advice, access, advocacy, and accountability. For more information, visit  Virtuoso.com.

Underwritten by VisitorsCoverage

As a company that is constantly striving to simplify travel insurance, VisitorsCoverage, is on a mission to help travelers make the better decisions about purchasing travel insurance, quickly. VisitorsCoverage has helped millions of travelers globally to buy the suitable travel insurance and explore the world with confidence. Get insurance for your next trip at  VisitorsCoverage. Lowest Price Guaranteed.

Underwritten by MedjetAssist

Medjet is the premier global air-medical transport, travel security and crisis response membership program for travelers. With a MedjetAssist membership, if you become hospitalized more than 150 miles from home, we will get you from that unfamiliar hospital all the way home to the hospital you trust. All you ever pay is your membership fee. MedjetHorizon members add 24/7 personal security and crisis response benefits. Elliott.org readers enjoy discounted rates. Travel safer with  MedjetAssist.

Underwritten by Southwest Airlines

The mission of Southwest Airlines is dedication to the highest quality of Customer Service delivered with a sense of warmth, friendliness, individual pride, and Company Spirit. We are committed to provide our Employees a stable work environment with equal opportunity for learning and personal growth.

Underwritten by Sungard Availability Services

Leveraging more than 35 years of experience, Sungard AS designs, builds and runs critical IT services that help businesses manage complex IT, adapt quickly and build resiliency and availability. A leading provider of critical production and recovery services, Sungard AS partners with customers across the globe, delivering resilient IT systems, infrastructure and recovery services tailored to achieving desired business outcomes.

Underwritten by TravelInsurance.com

TravelInsurance.com makes it fast and easy to compare and buy travel insurance online from top rated providers. Our unbiased comparison engine allows travelers to read reviews, compare pricing and benefits and buy the right policy with a price guarantee, every time. Compare and buy travel insurance now at  TravelInsurance.com.

Underwritten by Squaremouth

Squaremouth helps travelers easily and instantly compare travel insurance policies from all major providers. Only companies that meet the strict requirements of Squaremouth’s Zero Complaint Guarantee are available on the website. Compare policies on  Squaremouth.com to save over 70 percent on your next purchase.

Underwritten by Travel Leaders Group

Travel Leaders Group is transforming travel through its progressive approach toward each unique travel experience. Travel Leaders Group assists millions of travelers through its leisure, business and network travel operations under a variety of diversified divisions and brands including All Aboard Travel, Andrew Harper Travel, Colletts Travel, Corporate Travel Services, CruCon Cruise Outlet, Cruise Specialists, Nexion, Protravel International, SinglesCruise.com, Travel Leaders Corporate, Travel Leaders Network and Tzell Travel Group, and its merger with ALTOUR. With more than 7,000 agency locations and 52,000 travel advisors, Travel Leaders Group ranks as one of the industry’s largest retail travel agency companies.

Underwritten by Travelers United

If you’ve been mistreated by the airlines, Travelers United is your voice in Washington. Join the #1 travel advocacy organization working with Congress to improve and protect travelers. Plus, get $400 of annual benefits you can use for travel for only $29/year. Add your voice to ours. Make travel better.  Join today.

%d bloggers like this:
This free newsletter will save you from scams.