Here’s how to untangle an airfare and trip insurance mess

This is a big trip insurance mess.

Marilyn Weaver books tickets to fly from Manchester, England, to Rhodes, Greece. Then the surprise charges from the airline begin. Can our advocates help her sort this out?


We bought airline tickets and travel insurance on through CheapOair recently. We had to pay for things we thought were free and would like some help getting the charges reversed.

Elliott Advocacy is 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.

Our flights were from Manchester, England, to Rhodes. And the fees include a currency conversion fee for changing money from pounds to dollars; a point-of-service fee or commission for the third party agent; and a check-in fee at the airport.

Then someone from CheapOair called me to ask me if I wanted to purchase travel insurance. I said “yes,” thinking I was buying only one plan for myself and my husband. Then I found charges on my credit card bill for an upgrade.

I would like a refund for the online check-in fees and the extra travel insurance. I would like to be given the conversion fee back. (I called my bank, and they say they didn’t charge me that fee.) And I am not sure about the service fee if that is an accurate charge or an add-on. Can you help?

Marilyn Weaver, Flossmoor, Ill.


What a maddening soufflé of fees your airline and online travel agent have served up for you!

The price a site or airline quotes you should be the price you pay. No tricks.

But deciphering your bill took a lot of time and insider knowledge. Fortunately, our advocate Dwayne Coward is also an industry insider, so he knew some of the answers.

A look at your bill reveals your online check-in fee already reversed. That was easy!

Also, no one charged you a currency fee. Instead, the difference between the price you thought you should have paid and what you paid was likely due to currency fluctuations.

The service fees were real, though. Online agencies charge those to cover their costs. In a perfect world, travel companies would include them in the quoted fare.

And that leaves us with the extra trip insurance charges. Your CheapOair confirmation shows that you purchased a trip protection plan for $101 and the Travel Assist Classic (which is not an insurance policy) for $29.

A refund on your travel insurance policy

Our advocacy team reached out to CheapOair to find out the details.

Here’s what happened. Let me hand the mike to CheapOair:

During our review of Ms. Weaver’s documents we noticed that part of what might be causing confusion was the “Travel Insurance Policy” items on her billing statement. We were able to clarify that these Allianz products were attached to her previous purchase with American Airlines.

During our subsequent conversations Ms. Weaver advised that she was confused during her original CheapOair transaction and has since decided that she would like to cancel the upgraded insurance policy from Trip Mate.

We will be refunding her a total of $390.76 for the Trip Mate basic insurance, the upgraded policy, along with our concierge services.

OK, so that answers your questions, and we have a happy ending.

But I’m not entirely happy. This is just too many fees! There has to be a better way to book travel.