DENIED

“A tough but doable trip has turned into a nightmare”

John Dunlop’s daughter, Francine, was supposed to fly from Copenhagen to Washington with her four children, including six-month old twins, last Friday. All by herself.

Talk about an impossible trip.

But then KLM made it even more impossible when it denied her boarding four times.

“A tough but doable trip has turned into a nightmare,” says Dunlop, a foreign service officer stationed in Iraq.
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Maybe Anthony Weiner needs this woman’s phone number

Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock
Yuganov Konstantin/Shutterstock
No American airline thinks of its customers in quite the same way Spirit Airlines does. And the feeling is mutual, as far as many of its passengers are concerned.

If you have any doubts, look no further than last week’s tasteless Anthony Weiner promotion. Seriously, folks. You can’t make this stuff up.

Or, for a more G-Rated discussion, consider what happened to Catherine Migliano when she tried to cancel her $9 Fare Club membership recently. The carrier’s corporate intransigence may have opened the entire airline industry to millions of dollars in damage claims.

Spirit’s “club” offers access to lower fares and discounts, but it is also — and this is clearly disclosed on the airline’s site — a self-renewing membership. It’s a never-ending source of complaints, for a variety of reasons.
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Insurance claim denied because of … air traffic?

Arthur Ruffino’s travel insurance claim is a real heartbreaker, for several reasons.

First, he did everything he could to make sure he was covered by his CSA policy, but was still denied.

Second, his well-reasoned appeal went nowhere. And finally, even though I agreed that his case should be granted another review, the insurance company dug in its heels.
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Why doesn’t travel insurance cover dad’s illness?

When Jessica Kamzik’s father was diagnosed with stomach cancer last summer, there was no question about what she had to do. Dad’s prognosis was “grave” — the doctors said he probably wouldn’t make it to the holidays — and, “as any loving daughter would do, I immediately cancelled our vacation to stay closer to him,” she says.

Good thing she had travel insurance through Access America, she thought. At least she wouldn’t have to worry about losing the cost of her trip.

But she thought wrong.
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Travel insurance policy claim denied for vaccine cancellation

Richard Effress though he had a perfectly legitimate reason for canceling part of his trip to Africa with his mother: a new requirement that travelers entering South Africa needed a yellow fever vaccine. He was certain his travel insurance policy would cover the change.

Maybe he shouldn’t have been so certain.

Today’s “case dismissed” file is a sad lesson in making assumptions about a travel insurance policy that you shouldn’t. It is also a reminder to compare travel insurance. The fine print in your contract, it turns out, can cost you lots of money.
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The Travel Troubleshooter: Can this cruise be salvaged?

Question: We need your help with a Carnival cruise that went nowhere. Earlier this year, we booked a Western Caribbean cruise directly through Carnival, including airfare and shore excursions.

On the day we were supposed to travel, our nightmare began. Our plane was delayed because of mechanical problems. So was the next flight. We missed the boat in Miami.

We wanted to reschedule the cruise, but Carnival suggested that we catch up with the ship in the Cayman Islands. We had to pay for new tickets to the Caymans. But when we arrived in Miami, a Carnival representative asked us for passports — and we only had passport cards.

We had to turn back to Cleveland. There were more mechanical delays. We made a claim with our travel insurance, but were only reimbursed $500 per person. Carnival says they should be able to give us something for the missed cruise but said we first had to fill out the insurance claim.

We booked the cruise, shore excursions, balcony upgrade and the missed flight all through Carnival. We want a vacation and we don’t have the money because Carnival is holding us hostage. Could you help us? — Denise Frantz, Cleveland

Answer: This cruise just wasn’t meant to be. But it might have been — if you’d gotten a passport instead of a passport card.
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Can this trip be saved? No miles for my flight — can you retrieve them for me?

Here’s a type of case that crosses my desk often, and to which I almost always say “no.” But should I?

Oscar La Torre recently took two flights — one from Miami to Sao Paolo on TAM and the other on from Lima to Piura on LAN Airlines. He’s entitled to miles on OnePass for the TAM flight and through his AAdvantage account for LAN, he says. Both airlines are denying him.

Can I save his miles?

Before I answer, a disclaimer: I am, as many of you know, a frequent flier program skeptic. I believe loyalty programs benefit airlines more than they do travelers, and they also divide us into “haves” and “have-nots” on the plane, which makes this egalitarian, idealistic crusader bristle. But enough about me.
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