death

Is travel too dangerous?

An ice cave collapse in Washington State. A plunge into a rocky gorge in the Catskills. A fall off the mountainside in Maine.

What do they all have in common? They happened to travelers looking for adventure.
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First class is dying and here’s why you should care

If you fly in economy class like me, here’s a meaningless fact: First class is dying.

Not all first class, of course. The latest lie-flat seats on coast-to-coast routes are amazing. And on trans-Atlantic and trans-Pacific flights, the offerings by carriers like Emirates and Singapore Airlines are legendary.
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The death of a customer doesn’t guarantee survivors a refund

Marlene Eckert was looking forward to a spring river cruise in southern France, which included planned ports of call in scenic Lyon, Beaujolais, Arles and Avignon, along with an extension to Nice. But in January, her husband suffered a massive heart attack and died.

Eckert, a business analyst from Los Angeles, asked her cruise line, Viking River Cruises, for a favor: Could she change the second passenger’s name from her husband’s to that of a friend who had also recently lost a spouse?
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After brother’s death, where’s my airfare refund?

Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock.com
Jorg Hackemann / Shutterstock.com
After Irene Reitman’s brother passes away, she cancels her trip to Las Vegas. But American Airlines won’t refund her fare. Why not?

Question: My husband and I were recently scheduled to fly from Chicago to Las Vegas on American Airlines. Unfortunately, my brother died shortly before we left, and we canceled our non-refundable tickets.

I subsequently noticed on the American website that non-refundable tickets could be refunded due to a death in the immediate family. I called the refund services desk for many days and could never get through to a real person. The message on this phone was “Due to circumstances beyond our control, we can’t answer the phone right now, call back later.”
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An unexpected act of kindness from a big airline

Carlos E. Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com
Carlos E. Santa Maria / Shutterstock.com

If you think airlines stopped caring about everyone but their elite-level “high value” passengers long ago, you’ll want to hear Dick and Zoe Hannah’s heartwarming story that — I’ve gotta be honest with you — really restores my faith in humanity.

It’s easy to be left with that impression, by the way. Consider American Airlines, which just reported record second quarter profits and is about to merge with US Airways. It’s rewarding us by moving some of its seats in economy class closer together. So there!

The Hannahs, both of whom are retired schoolteachers from San Jose, Calif., were scheduled to fly to Portland, Ore., on May 16. But on the evening of May 14, they received a call every parent dreads. Their adult son had died.

To be fair, most airlines will refund a ticket when an immediate relative passes away, so the Hannah’s ticket shouldn’t have been an issue for them no matter which airline they were flying.
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My mother is terminally ill — why won’t Princess refund her cruise?

oceanQuestion: I am currently sitting on a deck overlooking a park at a hospice facility while my mother lies in her bed taking a morphine nap. She will die in a couple of days.

My mother was diagnosed with soft tissue sarcoma last year. We had expected that she would be around for at least another couple of years. But last week we discovered that the tumors she had more than tripled in size and a week later she was given a few days life expectancy.
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