sick

TSA watch: Are screeners preying on sick passengers?

The latest TSA horror story comes by way of Lori Dorn, a human resources consultant in New York.

Dorn, a breast cancer patient, was flying to San Francisco, when she was pulled aside by a TSA agent and told she would have to undergo a pat-down.

“I told her that I was not comfortable with having my breasts touched and that I had a card in my wallet that explains the type of expanders, serial numbers and my doctor’s information and asked to retrieve it,” she explains on her blog. “This request was denied.”
Continue reading…


The Travel Troubleshooter: Sick in Puerto Vallarta — does my hotel owe me anything?

Question: My partner and I have recently returned from a six-day vacation at Barcelo Puerto Vallarta in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. While we were there, many guests were afflicted by a serious illness. We began hearing about it soon after our arrival and within two days, we were both violently ill with vomiting, diarrhea and fever.

For the last four days of our trip, we were barely able to eat or drink and wouldn’t dare take the chance of leaving the resort for any excursions.

Judging by the large number of complaints posted online, many other guests were also affected. Several even required hospitalization.

Because our annual vacation was ruined by this outbreak, we’d like to be reimbursed or offered some level of incentive for a future trip at another Barcelo property. We’ve written to the hotel, but haven’t heard back. Can you help us? — Daniel Vosburgh, Chicago

Answer: Barcelo should have answered your complaint, explaining what went wrong at its Puerto Vallarta property while you were there and offering an apology, at a minimum.
Continue reading…


Too sick to fly — how about a refund?

Question: I need your help. I’m suffering from end-stage liver disease, and my physicians have decided that my best chance for survival would be a liver transplant.

Based on my current status, it would not be safe for me to fly. I have asked US Airways for a refund on an airline ticket. But it responded with a form letter, saying, “nonrefundable tickets are one of the more restrictive tickets,” and offering the opportunity to change my ticket for $150 plus a fare differential.

I have requested a one-time exception to US Airways’ policy, based on my medical condition. I am a former elite-level frequent flier with US Airways, and have been very pleased with the service provided by the airline, until now. Can you help me persuade them to refund my ticket? — Gary Garretson, Jacksonville, Fla.

Answer: US Airways should consider refunding your ticket, based on your medical condition. But it doesn’t have to.
Continue reading…


Taken to the hospital against her will — who pays the bill?

Sue Burgess began to feel sick on a Southwest Airlines flight from Phoenix to Albuquerque earlier this year, and after a rough trip in which she filled several barf bags, she was sent to a hospital after the plane landed. She’s fine now — turns out she had the stomach flu — but there’s the small matter of a $9,000 hospital bill.

Her insurance took care of the bulk of it, leaving her with a $392 tab. She thinks Southwest should cover the balance, since she never asked to go to the hospital. The airline had called the ambulance, after all.

Who should pay?
Continue reading…


Too sick to travel? When to put yourself on the no-fly list

For Carol Margolis, it was an almost-ruptured eardrum.

She’d flown with a bad cold and sinus congestion, which made it difficult to equalize the pressure in her ears. After her doctor told her she’d nearly torn the lining between the inner and outer ear, and suggested she stay away from planes for a few weeks, she grounded herself.

“My hearing is too precious to risk,” says Margolis, who runs a travel Web site in Lake Mary, Fla. “I paid the change fees and stayed put.”

Not everyone makes the same choice. A recent poll by TripAdvisor suggests 51 percent of air travelers say they’d rather fly while infected with the flu than pay a $150 airline change fee. A similar survey by msnbc.com found nearly 60 percent of travelers would fly infected instead of taking the hit to their pocketbook.
Continue reading…


Should British Airways follow its own ticket rules? It’s not brain surgery — oh wait, it is brain surgery

If you’re holding a nonrefundable airline ticket, the rules are clear: You can get credit, valid for a year from the date of your booking, by informing the airline before your trip.

That’s what British Airways’ ticket rules say (see Rule 3b2).

What if you fall ill? Rule 3b3 stipulates:

If, after beginning your journey:

* you become ill
* your illness prevents you from travelling on your next flight within the validity period of your ticket; and
* you want us to extend the validity period so that you can continue your journey;

you must give us a medical certificate. The certificate must:

* state the facts relating to your illness and
* confirm the date you will be fit to travel again (‘the recovery date’).

BA may extend the validity period until either the recovery date, as long as there is a seat available on the relevant flight in the class of service for which you have paid the fare.
Continue reading…