I had a panic attack and it ruined my honeymoon

Here’s another one for my “honeymoon from hell” file. It comes to us by way of Christine Vianello, who was all set to fly to Jamaica after getting married last October when something went terribly wrong.

After boarding the flight she started to feel sick. “Claustrophobia took over my body and I began vomiting and hyperventilating,” she says.


A flight attendant suggested she get off the plane.

“Just like that our honeymoon was over,” she says.

Fortunately, she and her husband had purchased a travel insurance policy through RBC Insurance and their travel agent, Liberty Travel. Vianello asked her doctor to provide the medical documentation and she filed a claim.

And you can probably guess what happened next, right?

After six months, we have not received a dime.

I am not requesting the airfare money back. All I want is my $4,000 for the honeymoon. I have been pretty much an emotional wreck since we found out we are not getting our money back.

The kicker is that every time I call them, I get hung up on. Please help, I do not know where to turn next.

I didn’t have to ask Vianello why her claim had been denied. But I did anyway to make sure I hadn’t overlooked anything. RBC is telling her there’s a problem with her paperwork, but also that disorders such as claustrophobia are not covered by travel insurance.

Exclusions for mental disorders such as depression and claustrophobia are common. Even if they were covered, Vianello would have a hard time getting around the exclusion for pre-existing conditions.

Can this honeymoon be saved? There’s a remote possibility.

If an airline crewmember ordered her and her husband off the plane, and if there’s a written incident report that documents the airline asked the couple to disembark, then they might be able to make a case for a refund, if not a ticket credit. (I asked Vianello, and unfortunately, they simply left the airport and decided to take up the matter with their insurance company.)

The resort kept their $4,000 because they were no-shows, but again, they could appeal to the property and get a partial credit or a discount, maybe. But that’s also a long shot.

Another option is to take the matter up with Liberty Travel. If Vianello informed an agent that she had problems with enclosed spaces and was told the RBC policy would cover her, then she’d have a strong case. But such documentation would need to be in writing (unlikely) or in a recording (also unlikely).

The other issue is this: Even if everything gets fixed — and that’s a big “if” — and Vianello gets her plane fare and hotel back, then how would she go about claiming it?

If her airline and hotel offer her credit, how will she get to Jamaica if she’s claustrophobic and can’t fly? What if she suffers yet another panic attack on her replacement flight?

Maybe Jamaica was the wrong honeymoon destination for this couple. If they’re looking for a do-over, I might try something a little closer to home.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at chris@elliott.org. Got a question or comment? You can post it on the new forum.

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  • sirwired

    This is a tough case.  Trip Insurance excludes mental disorders from coverage for reasons that should be obvious.  (If they were not excluded, I’m fairly sure there would be an epidemic of sudden phobias prior to otherwise-uncovered cancellations.)  Mental health exclusions are also common in certain other types of insurance, such as disability.

    This poster does appear to have suffered from a genuine panic attack, but I’m also fairly sure nothing can be done…  Maybe an airline refund (nicely asked for) for the plane tickets, but a refund from the resort would be a tough sell.

  • Kathleen Proud Keyte

    I’m scratching my head as to why this should be mediated. Vianello has some sort of pre-existing mental disorder that makes her dislike confined spaces so she decides to travel on a giant metal tube to her honeymoon? NO points for having honeymoon ruined either, special emotional significance of a trip doesn’t count.

  • BillCCC

    Claustrophobics should not plan vacations on airplanes. I am not a medical  professional so I am not sure if there is medication available for this condition or not. I cannot fault the resort since the couple were no-shows and at that late date it might not have been possible to rent the room. I also cannot fault the insurance company since pre-conditions are usually not covered. It looks like another expensive lesson learned.

  • JohnC314

    BillCC, I am a physician and yes there are several medications available for panic attacks.  I have actually been on several trans-Pacific flights where I have been called overhead to take care of people having panic attacks. However, the wording above doesn’t make it clear that she knew she had this problem before.  Either way she could have treated.  It must not have been too bacd, because they will call EMS to the gates for cases severe enough to get off the plane right away.

  • emanon256

    Would this be covered by one of the “Cancel for any reason” insurance plans?
    I am curious if the OP had ever traveled before, she may not have known how she would react to begin on a plane, so in that case I don’t know how it would be pre-existing.  Sadly, either way, I think she is out of luck.  I’m surprised she didn’t try calling the airline or hotel prior to waiting 6 months, at least it doesn’t sound like she did, which really makes it too late.  And why would they hang up on her every time she calls?  I am curious what she says that causes them to hang up.
    I am still shocked as to how many people are afraid of flying, my own Aunt and Uncle will not fly, never have, never will, they are convinced it is to unsafe. The only way they will ever leave NY is by car or bus.  I try to tell them flying is safer than driving, but alas no dice.  They just don’t believe me and make comments like, “If people were meant to fly, god would have given us wings.”

  • http://www.eyeonannapolis.net/ John Frenaye

    I don’t think it needs mediation, maybe just another suggestion. Liberty is owned  by Gogo Worldwide Vacations which is owned by FlightCentre out of Australia.  They represent properties all over the world and in my experience have been VERY accommodating.

    The OP has already written off the cost of the flights and is looking for something back on the $4000 honeymoon.  Why doesn’t she contact the agent and ask for a voucher. LibGo (Liberty/Gogo) has enough clout with the resorts to do that. And then apply it to a domestic package where they can drive–New Orleans, Florida, Las Vegas, skiiing, etc.?

    I bet if it is approached that way, she will come close to what she wants. Of course the insurance premium she paid is non refundable.

  • TonyA_says

    I understand that she is a medical assistant. I wonder why her own employer did not give her some medication to take along for her condition?

    ADDENDUM: Seems to me she really needs help.
    She did write about her condition (seems like more than a year ago). She said she had it since high school.

  • MikeInCtown

    Agree that she may have not known about this. there is a difference between getting stuck in a small room and getting stuck in a small tube shaped container with 300 other people, plus noise, and the feeling that you may go down in flames at any moment. I won’t say I’ve never felt “off” on a few flights. For infrequent travelers, or firt time flyers, the actual feeling you get when sitting there, waiting for takeoff is a bit unnerving, to say the least.

  • MikeInCtown

    LOL, I would ask them why they don’t have rubber wheels buit into their feet.

  • TonyA_says

    From her own hubpage titled “Dealing with Panic Disorder”, she asked the question – Should I travel on an airplane? So, I assume she did not fly much. She also mentioned she wanted to stop medication and try some cognitive therapy. She probably tried her best to fly since it was her honeymoon. Maybe love would conquer all. But I really feel sorry that she decided to fly. I found her tweet on that day. We were taxing out on the plane and I was hyperventaling and they stopped the plane! But in the end I made it through. Just sad, very sad.

    My grandma was super claustrophobic. She rode a big white (chauffeured) Cadillac with the windows rolled down even when the air-condition was turned on. I don’t think she ever flew, but she lived her life in full. She died before the TSA came into existence. I don’t think she would ever submit to a pat down.

  • Chasmosaur

    Okay, I did some Google-Fu this morning. (Totally legit stuff while sitting here with my morning round of ice-bags on a lower-leg injury ;) )

    I found these statements from the publicly accessible portions of the OP’s social media  accounts, after someone asked her about her honeymoon:

    It was AMAZING!…The airplane ride was terrible! But I am now prepared to come in [destination time/location removed for privacy here]!

    We were taxing out on the plane and I was hyperventaling and they stopped the plane! But in the end I made it through

    I just deleted my dissertation on why I’m not the world’s most relaxed flyer. Yet despite that, I have never hyperventilated to the point that they had to stop taxiing the plane. Somehow, I don’t think the FA merely “suggested” she get off the plane and this was a significant panic attack.

    I’m also confused – if she “made it through” and was discussing how amazing her honeymoon despite the terrible airplane ride, I’m trying to figure out if she was just trying to hide the fact she didn’t go, or actually went, hence the problems with getting a refund.


  • Charles Owen

    I noticed that the name of the resort is not mentioned. It seems to me that it would make sense to contact the resort directly and see if they would be a bit more accommodating. If they are going to be firm in keeping the money I sure would like to know who they are so I will know never to go to that resort and will be sure to tell everyone else I know not to go to that resort.

    It is true that the hotel might not be able to rent the room and be at a loss. But, they should consider the potential bad publicity when they insist on keeping a young honeymooning couple’s money and they should recognize that the cost to the hotel when they were not there is going to be less.

    I would not assume that she can’t fly and, therefore, could not use any vouchers in the future. First, she likely did not know this would be an issue. In the future she does and can consult a physician about appropriate steps to avoid another panic attack. Also, we should recognize the context of this incident. She has just gotten married, a massively stressful process that has likely consumed a year or more. She is going on her honeymoon. It’s not just a vacation, it’s that once-in-a-lifetime trip you have thought about for years and it’s finally here. For many couples, it is the first time they are travelling together or will spend large blocks of uninterrupted time together. That also contributes to the stress. She may have a much better experience the next time she tries to fly.

  • Charles Owen

    It’s unlikely that “cancel for any reason” would have helped. I use TravelGuard and their cancel for any reason excludes cancellation within 48 hours of departure, it would not have helped in this case.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    It’s a long shot, but might be her only option. If she got a hold of the manager and laid out her whole story, maybe they’d grant her a partial refund.

    I know hindsight is 20/20, but if I had even the slightest inkling that I wouldn’t be able to fly, I’d have scheduled a little weekend getaway as a test run well before the wedding.  If that had went well, she’d have had confidence that the honeymoon flight would work out okay. And if that had ended in disaster, she’d have had time to plan a honeymoon within driving distance or looked into medications or other avenues to help her condition.

    I have sympathy with her, but buying travel insurance with a specific condition in mind and not confirming ahead of time if that condition would be covered is silly. I think she had her head in the sand and was just hoping everything would work out okay. Sadly, she was wrong.

  • ClareClare

    I once had a college student who suffered from panic attacks.  Early in the semester I called on her during a class, and she not only couldn’t answer my question, but she jumped up–with an expression of sheer terror on her face, I’ll never forget it!–and hurriedly left the room.  She later sent me an apologetic email, explaining her problem.  I was quite sympathetic and did everything possible to work with her, but in the end she just couldn’t handle the classroom setting, and eventually dropped the course altogether.

    Here’s my point: she already KNEW that she had this problem, and she didn’t ask for special treatment.  She understood that because of this issue, there were some things she simply couldn’t do, and she didn’t seek to pin blame on anybody else for that, or even inconvenience anyone else around her.

    I don’t want to scold the OP, but… she unfortunately has the same type of problem.  Evidently she already knew she has this problem when she booked the trip–judging from her own words, it’s not as if this was the first time this sort of thing had ever happened to her.  As someone suffering from this very real problem, there are bound to be many things in life that–unlike the rest of us–she is unable to do.  She gets points for valiantly trying to do them, perhaps!  But if she just can’t do it, it’s not up to the airline, hotel, TA, whomever, to pay her back.  She bought a product and I am truly sorry she couldn’t use it… but that’s the way the cookie (or the wedding-cake) crumbles. 

  • Julie Sturgeon

    If Chasmosaur has indeed found a public message from this girl, it sounds like she DID go on her honeymoon and is now trying to pull off a scam with the insurance company. 

  • Chasmosaur

    Oh, I’m not sure she wasn’t just trying to save face.  Who would want to admit they didn’t make it to their long-planned honeymoon (from a different source, she said she’d been planning the wedding for 2 years) because they had a panic attack?

    I am, though, wondering if she’s underplaying how severe her panic attack may have been.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    That’s bizarre.  Did they book another honeymoon, possibly after she got some meds?  

    I will throw out one thing I found odd about the OP’s letter. Why exactly wasn’t she requesting the airfare?  That was, after all, the reason she didn’t make it to the destination. Logically, if the root cause of not being able to fly is sufficient to get the hotel money back, it’d also be sufficient to get the airfare back, as well.  

  • Raven_Altosk

    Hmm…I was about to put together a bit of sympathy for the woman, but after seeing this and reading that she has a blog dedicated to her panic attacks, not so much.

    Yes, I am the cold hearted one…for precisely reasons like this.

  • Joe_D_Messina

    Well, the “problem with the paperwork” COULD be that she didn’t supply proof of not making the trip.  But I find it hard to believe she’d brag about the honeymoon publicly and contact Chris for help, also on a publicly accessible site. That’d be pretty brazen.  I’d think it more likely they took their honeymoon later, maybe after she sought medical help and maybe got a prescription.  

    She’s apparently saying on her social site that the flight was still terrible, but that she’s willing to try it again for a future trip. That’d be a strange lie to tell if her last flying experience was having to leave the plane before it ever got off the ground.  It’d make more sense in that case to lie about how great the honeymoon was but say you’re not sure if you’ll ever fly again.

  • TravelingSalesman

    Your heart goes out to people and their situations, but there is a limit to what one travel writer can do.  Stay with stuff where the public is getting trampled. 
    I’d say if the Airline or hotel had done something to precipitate the problem, then you might want to do it. 

  • Arudo

    I can somehow relate… I’ve been in more than 70 or so flights, I’m young (26) and I don’t know why, but in the last couple of them I’ve been very anxious during take-off, anxious as never before. After take-off it disappears, but I understand that bodies sometimes react very badly to situations of stress such as a panic or anxiety attack.

    This may be an illness which happened at the moment and that she didn’t know it was coming… if she started to have physical symptoms such as vomiting and hyperventilation, then I think it is a valid claim…

    Tough one, but I would say yes.

  • Carchar

    But God did give us the brains to develop ways for us to fly. ;)

  • emanon256

    I still guess I am lucky.  When we booked our honey moon our agent gave us a cancel or change for any reason at any time policy.  It wasn’t through any insurance company, there was no fine print, and she said she provided it herself.  The only caveat was that nothing was refundable; we could cancel and get a credit towards future travel for 100% of what we paid her minus the policy cost.  She said we could even cancel our flight the day of if we so choose.  She said we would never incur a change fee or cancellation fee of any kind.  I am guessing she just ate those costs?  The policy was $350 for a $6,000 trip. Sadly she passed away a few years ago from breast cancer.  She was an amazing agent, and we always used her.

  • sanibelsyl

    Chris, this seemed to be such a no brainer I have to wonder if you put it there to check that we are all still reading.  We are!  I feel sorry for the OP but do not think you should mediate this for a minute.

  • http://elliott.org Christopher Elliott

    Nice sleuthing! This definitely adds a new wrinkle to the story.

  • Carchar

    Just a suggestion on how to get to Jamaica: cruise…unless being surrounded by water is also troubling. A room with a terrace would feel less confining than a plane.

  • Joe Farrell

     This is not a tough case – did she know about her claustrophobia?   If the answer is yes then no insurance coverage, unless she was not treated for it and did not suffer any symptoms during the insurers exclusion period. 

    If she DID experience symptoms or seek treatment – then their insurance does not cover it.  End of story.

    If she knew she might be subject – why did not she not see a benzodiazepine before traveling? 

    Was this her first panic attack for claustrophobia?

    When we are discussing travel insurance it would be really nice to get a copy of the relevant terms and conditions and definitions, or a link to the policy – so what if RBC claims that it is not covered – if an insurer does not set forth all of the limitations on coverage in the policy document itself it cannot enforce those terms – if a mental health exclusion is hidden in their ‘ciaims manual’ which happens alot – that is not enforceable, 

  • emanon256

    Exactly my point! :)

  • sirwired

    Calm down…

    When I said it was “tough”, I meant it was unfortunate, not that it was tough to decide what the outcome of the case would be, or if mediation was appropriate.

    Looking at the “Default” Deluxe RBC plan, it, like many trip insurance plans, offers a pre-ex waiver for medical conditions under certain (fairly easy to meet) conditions.  (I make sure to obtain a pre-ex waiver every time I buy trip insurance.)  Alas, for the OP, the mental health exclusion is right there in the policy, making the pre-ex waiver moot.  And if it’s excluded in the Deluxe plan, we can pretty safely assume it’s excluded in all the plans.

    And yes, if this was not her first attack, she totally should have had some tranquilizers available, if appropriate for her case.

  • IGoEverywhere

    It’s over, done with, time to call er a day. I had a client that did that to me on a charter to the WVU NC Gatorbowl years back. Held the plane up for an hour intill they kicked him off. No refund due.

  • Chasmosaur

    As I’m noting in reply to someone else – it could just be embarrassment.  I know I’d be embarrassed about missing my honeymoon from a panic attack.

    But I think you should ask her about those statements (it was Twitter) before attempting to mediate, if only for clarification.

  • Chasmosaur

    I’m thinking there was more than a “suggestion” surrounding the panic attack.  If they had to bring the plane back to the terminal from taxiing, there may have been stronger language involved.

  • Sandra Olson

    Seems like a matter of a bad judgement call re: her choice of transportation to Jamaica.  Perhaps a cruise ship is more conducive to her medical limitations.

  • judyserienagy

    I just cancelled a trip to Europe (at a cost of about $1200 out of pocket even with some insurance on the river cruise part) because of a muscle spasm in my back.  While I might have been able to make the flight, I thought it was a good idea to re-schedule.  While my heart goes out to this poor woman, she should not be making plane reservations if she has a history of panic/anxiety etc. If she’s an emotional wreck from the disaster, that’s even more proof that she should avoid flying until she figures out how to deal with her issues.  If this has never happened to her before, she should get recovered and ask nicely for everything to be re-scheduled.  If the hotel wasn’t notified and listed them as no-shows, it would be a long shot.  “Asking nicely” often gets you goodies that you really don’t deserve if you didn’t follow the rules, but it’s worth a try.

  • http://gspirits.com/ Zod

    First off…panic attacks don’t *just* happen. You have to have a propensity for these things. As such, if you have a panic attack, you’ve most likely had them in the past and know your triggers. There are OTC drugs you can take to minimize your attacks. *NOT* taking this precaution is your own fault. Simple as that!
    And if you truely wanted to have insurance to cover these attacks, you should have purchased the “for any reason” clause. Most likely you purchased the cheapest and believed that it covered everything.

  • Lindabator

    Agree in part – if she didn’t cancel beforehand, they may not be able to get the hotel to cough up any monies.  But they DO have a lot of clout, and she may just get lucky – she needs to work with them to see what she could get.

  • Lindabator

    But why should the hotel be out their money?  They did nothing wrong, and there are terms and conditions you accept when booking travel.  And if she did not let them know until after the travel would have been completed, they were sitting on an sitting on the room without renting it out, losing any chance at the sale.  There is a point we need to stop “bullying” the travel companies into refunding what is clearly nonrefundable at that point, and admit the client does have some responsibility as well.  She should have contacted Liberty Travel immediately, and they could have worked on this for her before checkin.

  • AgentSteve

    Virtually everything about her claim is suspicious and defies logic. 

    If it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck!

    Chris, you need to DUCK this one!  Case closed!!!

  • SooZeeeQ

    Maybe she had no clue she was going to be claustrophobic. 

    I fly fine, but once while “leading” Indian Guides through caves in Hollister, my husband and I flipped out and nearly trampled the poor children to get out.

    I am really so tired of travelers buying travel insurance and yet, I have NEVER seen anyone post stories of successful claims – if there even are any.

    She also should be able to go back and get the necessary paperwork from the pilot on duty that day, since he should recall the incident, and fight this tooth and nail.

  • bodega3

    I read through all the comments and have my opinion on this, but a most important detail seems to be missing.  Did she present a doctor’s letter to the insurance company?  Not knowing the type of coverage she had, I do know that all submissions for medical reasons,  my client’s have sent off required a doctor’s letter and other necessary medical documentation.

  • Jeanne_in_NE

    You know, you said what’s been on my mind all morning about this case.  I can understand not acting immediately (within an hour or so) in contacting the travel agent or the resort – the OP and her husband had to face the immediate problem of getting their baggage and local travel arrangements made.  Chris Elliott’s narrative is missing where/when the OP decided to let her travel insurance handle matters.  Did the couple just go home and call up RMC on Monday morning, with no word to Liberty nor the resort?  That’s how I read the post.  If so, weird, weird, weird.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    As much as I want to empathize with her being a sufferer of claustrophobia myself, even I can fly on a plane.  

    My biggest problem with flying was a time the plane I was on was taking off out of Midway and it caught the jet-wash of the plane that took off right before us.  We did a huge drop and I KNEW we were going to crash (we weren’t too far off the ground on takeoff).  We, of course, didn’t else I wouldn’t be typing this now but…

    I didn’t/wouldn’t get on a plane again from then (circa 1985) until the death of my mother in 2004. I was so upset over the death of my mother and my need to be there I wasn’t remotely concerned with/about flying.  This was a watershed moment for me and I now fly regularly, suffering no ill effects as a result.  I DO refuse to fly through Chicago still but is that really a bad thing?

    The OP really should have started some sort of aversion therapy before taking the huge step of flying for her honeymoon.  I don’t know this requires any kind of intervention in the slightest.  Given what others here have dug up about her from the internet, she should have known this was a distinct possibility and should have taken steps to avoid the very situation in which she now finds herself.

  • ExplorationTravMag

    Kind of helps you with making a decision as to whether or not to mediate, doesn’t it?  Nice of her to NOT mention to you she already suffered from this condition.

  • http://twitter.com/alangore_sedona Alan Gore

    Shouldn’t this drama queen have planned a drive and/pr a cruise for the honeymoon?

  • pauletteb

    Although I feel sorry for Vianello, the time to worry about claustrophobia was before she boarded the plane. Had she never flown before? If she had flown before, did she also experience a panic attack then? I have a friend who refuses to fly; she admits her fears are groundless, but they still keep her out of the air and definitely limits her vacation options. Another friend is also afraid of flying, but when she must fly, her doctor prescribes a mild sedative that calms her enough to fly without incident. Basically it sounds as though a honeymoon destination that requires flying wasn’t the best option for this couple.

  • Lindabator

    Again, the insurance MUST cover those items you wish covered, and mental health issues are CLEARLY listed as NOT a covered reason.  I have been a travel agent for over 20 years – and have had MANY successful claims with the insurance I’ve sold (Travel Guard and TravelEx).  Its a matter of the client not ASSUMING to understand the insurance, but asking specific questiosn to ensure they actually get what they need.  And in her case, I would have made a suggestion to try a short trip beforehand,or choose a destination she could drive or take a train to – that may have worked out better for her.

  • bodega3

    As someone who didn’t know that I was claustrphobic until last year when I went for an MRI, there are different situations that can cause you discomfort and panic.   

    But what is bothering me is the tweets that you can read online.  According to what she wrote, she took the trip.  Is she trying to pull something on Chris?

  • Lindabator

    Unless they have a restriction against mental health issues, which may be the case.  BUT – very true that all the forms NEED to be sent in, and they do let you know when they don’t have everything.  If you ignore that, you get no answers from them.  (As you already know, I’m sure).   

  • Lindabator

    Just a head’s up – fly  thru O’Hare and NOT Midway – Midway is considered one of the most dangerous airports in the country by pilots – due to the short runways, quick drops in to the airport area, etc, and this is one of the reasons they actually use more seasoned pilots here if they can.  But yes, if you get anxious, THIS airport won’t help you!  :)

  • http://camelsandchocolate.com/ CamelsAndChocolate

    I get really bad claustrophobia and have been treated by several doctors in the past, so I really feel for Christine. At the same time, I’m a travel writer, so I DO fly often and frequently–from large jets to tiny puddle jumpers–which I want to point out for all the naysayers below who say she shouldn’t be flying with claustrophobia.

    Despite having been claustrophobic all my life, I’ve only had panic attacks two or three times on planes–something to note for people who don’t have any type of anxiety or panic disorder is that you never necessarily know when or where it might hit (I’ve flown a lot for much of my 30 years and only had my first panic attack on a plane, and a large one at that, three years ago)–but it’s the worst. I didn’t get off the plane as we were already in flight, though I wished I could have. I’m sure she didn’t think about it when planning the trip, or thought she’d be fine on the plane. Often, such phobias and disorders that lie dormant much of the time are exacerbated by stress or lack of sleep, so seeing as she’d just gotten married, I have no doubt she was a prime candidate for a panic attack!

  • http://camelsandchocolate.com/ CamelsAndChocolate

    Hmm, I might amend my above comment after reading this whole thread!

  • cybersal

    I have to bite my lips closed and sit on my hands when I get on airplanes. We were on two connections in a much smaller airplane than I considered and I practically  had to put myself in a comma. I can’t even ride in the back of a 2 door car. Or get the little donut scan without a Valium injection.
    So many things to plan around a wedding and honeymoon but planning ahead for panic is a good thing. She should have plead appendicitis or read her policy. They should be able to rebook the resort unless all rooms were truly booked.

  • amy thompson

    The OP has already written off the cost of the flights and is
    looking for something back on the $4000 honeymoon.  Why doesn’t she
    contact the agent and ask for a voucher. LibGo (Liberty/Gogo) has enough
    clout with the resorts to do that. And then apply it to a domestic
    package where they can drive–New Orleans, Florida, Las Vegas, skiiing,

    I bet if it is approached that way, she will come close to what she
    wants. Of course the insurance premium she paid is non refundable.


  • TonyA_says

    In another post she mentions her job history – 20 of them since she was 14. Here are some:
    11. Philly’s pretzel factory – The best place to buy a pretzel – Quit because of panic attacks
    12. Enterprise – I worked for a month cleaning cars – Quit because of panic attacks
    15. Pathmark – Grocery store – Quit because of panic attacks
    16. Petco – THE BEST PET STORE- Quit because of panic attacks
    18. Staples – A great place to get business cards made – I quit because of panic attacks.

    She quit 5 jobs because she was having panic attacks.IMO she needs medical help and not a refund for a failed honeymoon trip.
    Source:  http://christinevianello.hubpages.com/hub/My-time-with-Dr-God

  • tom65xke

    A tough one but her travel agent should have helped her get a least some compensation. I can see losing the first night at the resort but if she cancelled she should get part of the week back . Sounds like the pressure from the wedding added to this. I’ve flown a lot but remember a time in the early 80s when a flight did not feel right and I got off. Had the Admirals’ club re ticket me for an am but penalty or not I was not getting on that plane

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001823466572 Jen Armstrong

    Panic disorder is a legitimate condition. We need to start recognizing mental/emotional disorders as legitimate medical issues. It has to start somewhere, and this case is as good as any to begin that process. Furthermore, can’t the vomiting be used as the medical issue, not the claustrophobia?

  • scapel

    Was she aware of previous episodes of claustrophobia and had difficulty flying on planes before. If she thought she could do it she should have seen a doctor and gotten medication to take before boarding that would sedate her some. Seeing the doctor would also get help for documentation. There does not seem to be enough information to continue with this other than to plead for mercy from everyone.
    A statement from the airline attendent would help as a witnessed episode from a non interested party.
    I have seen a pilot put a passenger off the plane because their illnness put the possibility of the plane having to abort its flight later on.

  • jim6555

    Sometimes, the colors (or lack of) in the plane coupled with very close seating can trigger a claustrophobic reaction. I’m a seasoned flier and never had this sort of reaction until one day, about 15 years ago, I boarded a Sun Jet DC-9 that was going from St. Pete/Clearwater Airport to DFW. The entire interior was one shade of grey – dark grey. The seat pitch throughout the plane was probably 27 or 28 inches. I immediately had a panic attack. All I wanted to do was get out of my seat and off that plane. My wife managed to somewhat calm me down and kept reminding me that our daughter, who we hadn’t seen in almost a year would be waiting for us in Dallas. Somehow, I managed to keep my sanity during the 2 1/2 hour flight. After the return flight, I never flew Sun Jet again and didn’t shed any tears when several months later, they went out of business.

  • CherylAE

    I would think if she knew she had claustrophobia then this particular honeymoon would not have been booked.  If this was the first incident, then yes, I do think Christine could use your help.