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

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By Christopher Elliott

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 trip insurance problem 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.

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. And 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.

Faye Travel Insurance provides whole-trip travel coverage and care that brings out the best in each journey with industry-leading technology that enables smarter, faster, smoother assistance and claims resolutions. Our robust travel insurance covers your health, your trip, your stuff, and even your pet, via an app that provides real-time proactive solutions, quick reimbursements and 24/7 support from anywhere in the world. Wherever you go, we’re there too, taking care of the details so you can make the most of each moment, with the only travel protection that is by your side and on your side every step of the way.

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! (Related: Do we really have to pay $4,000 for the airline’s mistake?)

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. (Related: Free Southwest Airlines tickets? Here they are.)

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. (Here’s how to fix your own consumer problem.)

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.

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Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is the founder of Elliott Advocacy, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that empowers consumers to solve their problems and helps those who can't. He's the author of numerous books on consumer advocacy and writes three nationally syndicated columns. He also publishes the Elliott Report, a news site for consumers, and Elliott Confidential, a critically acclaimed newsletter about customer service. If you have a consumer problem you can't solve, contact him directly through his advocacy website. You can also follow him on X, Facebook, and LinkedIn, or sign up for his daily newsletter.

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