Family emergency? American does not care.

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Mar 10, 2017
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I have an American Airlines ticket booked to Hawaii in August for my honeymoon, or what would have been my honeymoon (it's still five months out, plenty of time to re-sell a ticket in my opinion) but circumstances have made it impossible for my fiancé and I to go. His mother is extremely sick, suffering from Alzheimer's, and his father is now unable to take care of her. We had to move her to a care facility, and as a result had to help them sell their home and his father has moved in with us. Money for the care facility has become to much. There is no way we will be able to take our dream honeymoon, and the money we spent on our tickets could go so far in helping us with the situation we find ourselves in now. Besides the fact that us not being able to take our honeymoon is painful enough, American has not been accommodating, helpful, or empathetic. Wishing I would have booked with another airline, because it's not like this is a last minute cancellation...
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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@Mikhala I am sorry for your troubles. Unfortunately, most airlines are unwavering when it comes to refunding non-refundable airline tickets regardless of the circumstances. But, it never hurts to ask for an exception to the fare rules.

So, start with writing to customer service. Be polite, brief and professional. Acknowledge you are asking for an exception and would be grateful if they could accommodate you. Criticizing their company is definitely not going to win you any favors or sympathy from whomever is reading your email. If you don't receive a response after one week, use the Company Contacts link at the top of the forum to find the email addresses for AA's execs. Write to them one at a time waiting one week for a reply before moving to the next name on the list. Do not write to them all at once. And since it is the most important aspect of your letter writing campaign it bears repeating: be polite and brief!

Good luck and let us know your progress!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
You are good people taking in your father in law and helping your mother in law.

Did you buy travel insurance? Is there someone else who can care for your father in law so you can take your honeymoon?

The airlines see these things all the time and they cannot refund everyone with a hardship case. But you should use Patinas advice and write, I think you will
Likely find an executive who might be sympathetic.

What about your hotels and the rest of the honeymoon? Were you able to cancel the rest with no penalty?

On another note, have you spoken to
a social worker about a nursing facility that will take the proceeds of the house sale and put her on Medicaid so the financial burden is not yours? We have experienced this where the husband of the nursing home patient had to sign papers saying he was not responsible for her expenses to get Medicaid help?
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
Mikhala, you are to be commended for stepping up with such good grace. It's a situation that many of us face, but the timing in your case is really awful. I feel very badly for you.When you can, research the various ways that your new in-laws can be helped financially. As Neil says, there are ways to take care of her properly without unduly punishing the rest of you.

Please know that all airlines are the same now, they have their rules and fees, and they make few exceptions. So be very polite and very clear that you understand you're asking for an exception to their rules. Be as concise as you can be, the person reading your letter should be able to grasp the situation and want to help you with the first read-through. Frankly, I don't know who could resist wanting to help you!
 

Mike Z

Jan 8, 2015
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You will need to beg, simple as that. AA is enforcing it's policies that you agreed to when you purchased the low priced ticket rathe rthan a fully refundable one. make sur eyou state in your letter than while you understand you purchased a non refundable ticket, you are hoping for some compassion. Perhaps even suggest a refund minus a change fee.

The usual way that cancellation on non refundable tickets works is that you get credit for the value of the ticket minus a change fee and those funds are good for one year from the date of the original ticket sale date (NOT FLIGHT DATE)
 
Oct 10, 2016
127
89
28
Huntley, IL
@Mikhala I am sorry for your troubles. Unfortunately, most airlines are unwavering when it comes to refunding non-refundable airline tickets regardless of the circumstances. But, it never hurts to ask for an exception to the fare rules.

So, start with writing to customer service. Be polite, brief and professional. Acknowledge you are asking for an exception and would be grateful if they could accommodate you. Criticizing their company is definitely not going to win you any favors or sympathy from whomever is reading your email. If you don't receive a response after one week, use the Company Contacts link at the top of the forum to find the email addresses for AA's execs. Write to them one at a time waiting one week for a reply before moving to the next name on the list. Do not write to them all at once. And since it is the most important aspect of your letter writing campaign it bears repeating: be polite and brief!

Good luck and let us know your progress!
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,044
23,002
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
American does not care about anybody!
They act no differently than any other airline. However, we have seen cases that a well written letter and extraordinary circumstances do help a letter writer.

Half of the issues we see here with any airline wouldn't be issues if people bought travel insurance. Why should airlines we responsible for providing refunds that insurance would have covered?
 
Oct 10, 2016
127
89
28
Huntley, IL
My comment has nothing to do with travel insurance. I agree that airlines should not be responsible for refunds that would be covered by travel insurance. I always buy it. Their people just don't care about the passengers.
 
Dec 18, 2016
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My comment has nothing to do with travel insurance. I agree that airlines should not be responsible for refunds that would be covered by travel insurance. I always buy it. Their people just don't care about the passengers.
My question to you and anyone regarding travel insurance is who's reputable? It seems like from what I read here, insurance companies do their best to not pay? Or am I just reading he bad examples. I'd appreciate some good, even snarky, help here.
 
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Nov 14, 2016
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My comment has nothing to do with travel insurance. I agree that airlines should not be responsible for refunds that would be covered by travel insurance. I always buy it. Their people just don't care about the passengers.
No airline really cares. Not United. Not Southwest. Not Delta. Not American.

Passengers are cattle. That's it. Airline travel is not a luxurious special experience and hasn't been in decades. Once someone accepts that domestic airlines should just be named SkyBus because that's how glorious it is then it's a lot easier to take things in stride.

Passengers chased the lowest common denominator for pricing. Instead of focusing on differentiation Airlines just threw up their hands and gave consumers what they thought they wanted. Consolidation forced out regional carriers who actually did differentiate. The result is what we have today.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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My question to you and anyone regarding travel insurance is who's reputable? It seems like from what I read here, insurance companies do their best to not pay? Or am I just reading he bad examples. I'd appreciate some good, even snarky, help here.
Definitely there are good companies out there. My first experience buying trip insurance was a positive one. As luck would have it, the first time we purchased it was the first time we needed it. The process was somewhat lengthy but we were covered 100% for our losses.

We do not recommend or endorse any particular company on the forum but do know trip insurance has come through for travelers more often than not. And those that have claims denied most likely did not read the policy to see if they were actually covered. It comes down to doing your due diligence before purchase. I say it is worth a little time to investigate.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,044
23,002
113
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www.promalvacations.com
My question to you and anyone regarding travel insurance is who's reputable? It seems like from what I read here, insurance companies do their best to not pay? Or am I just reading he bad examples. I'd appreciate some good, even snarky, help here.
Most companies are reputable but their job is to carefully read the reasons for claims and ensure that they all have the backing documentation. In 15 years of selling travel, we have had only one client who has a claim refused and we told him not to cancel because his reason he was giving was not valid and wouldn't be covered. he didn't listen and was a pharmacist who said he had a doctor who would lie on a claim form for him. The bigger issue is that people don't read the policy they are interested in before they buy and assume the policies cover everything - but they don't. You need to carefully read the inclusions and exclusions of any policy you are considering and call the insurance company with any questions you have before you buy.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,748
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San Francisco
I subscribe to a monthly magazine called International Travel News. Not only is it fascinating because the articles are written by real travellers, but they have extensive want ad listings. I book my travel insurance through a company that advertises with them and it's been a positive experience; albeit no claims yet.

Have you checked with your credit card? My Chase Sapphire offers some good travel insurance as a perk and lots of CC issuers seem to be going that way.
 
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Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
I subscribe to a monthly magazine called International Travel News. Not only is it fascinating because the articles are written by real travellers, but they have extensive want ad listings. I book my travel insurance through a company that advertises with them and it's been a positive experience; albeit no claims yet.

Have you checked with your credit card? My Chase Sapphier offers some good trvel insurance as a perk and lots of CC issuers seem to be going that way.
You have to carefully read the terms. Most have extremely low coverage for medical and emergency evacuation and some limit total payouts. We had a client who swore she was only going to use her cc insurance and thankfully she sent us a written copy of the policy. The maximum payout was something like $1500 for the cc policy. Her trip cost $15,000. When my wife called her and read the policy to her the woman almost had a heart attack and bought one of the policies we sell. It was a good thing she did because her husband developed pneumonia two weeks before they were to travel and they had to cancel.

If they hadn't bought our policy, she would have lost $13,500.
 
Jul 27, 2016
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You have to carefully read the terms. Most have extremely low coverage for medical and emergency evacuation and some limit total payouts. We had a client who swore she was only going to use her cc insurance and thankfully she sent us a written copy of the policy. The maximum payout was something like $1500 for the cc policy. Her trip cost $15,000. When my wife called her and read the policy to her the woman almost had a heart attack and bought one of the policies we sell. It was a good thing she did because her husband developed pneumonia two weeks before they were to travel and they had to cancel.

If they hadn't bought our policy, she would have lost $13,500.
Definitely depends on credit card. Chase Sapphire Reserve includes $10k in trip cancellation/interruption per person (up to $20k per occurance), $500 per passenger in trip delay (over 6 hours, or if overnight stay is required), and up to $100k in medical evac. That's a higher-end card, though.
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,044
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New York
www.promalvacations.com
Definitely depends on credit card. Chase Sapphire Reserve includes $10k in trip cancellation/interruption per person (up to $20k per occurance), $500 per passenger in trip delay (over 6 hours, or if overnight stay is required), and up to $100k in medical evac. That's a higher-end card, though.
But how much in health coverage for an illness?
 
Jul 27, 2016
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But how much in health coverage for an illness?
$2500 per person in medical bills while traveling, with the $100k in medevac coverage on top of that.

Although this coverage wouldn't have come into play with your customer whose husband got pneumonia... For that, the full $15k would have been covered (2x$10k).
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,044
23,002
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
$2500 per person in medical bills while traveling, with the $100k in medevac coverage on top of that.

Although this coverage wouldn't have come into play with your customer whose husband got pneumonia... For that, the full $15k would have been covered (2x$10k).

That is not enough for almost anyone. This is the trade off - you are missing coverage somewhere when you use a credit card coverage. We had a client who booked a $15,000 trip and refused our insurance. She said she was going to use her credit card. Thank God she was traveling to a country that required proof of medical insurance. She sent me a copy of the policy from the credit card and when my wife read it, she realized the maximum coverage for anything was $1500. She let the client know and the woman nearly had a heart attack because she said she had been using her cc coverage forever and had no idea it only covered $1500. She bought the insurance we offered.

Good thing because two weeks before she was leaving her husband developed pneumonia and they had to cancel. if they hadn't bought a real policy they would have lost over $13,000.

We also had a client who had a heart attack on a cruise ship. He had to be medivaced to a hospital in S. America, where he was held for over 2 weeks and then needed a private flight home with a private nurse. His medical bills lone were over $60,000 plus the evacuation and private flight for over $100,000 in bills. If he had relied on his credit card he would have had to mortgage his house.

It's all ok until you have an emergency that your cc coverage is not enough for. Then they'll come here asking for help because the cc insurance wasn't enough. We've seen it with how many car rentals? They had an accident and the coverage wasn't enough. Things like that.
 
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Sep 6, 2015
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They act no differently than any other airline. However, we have seen cases that a well written letter and extraordinary circumstances do help a letter writer.

Half of the issues we see here with any airline wouldn't be issues if people bought travel insurance. Why should airlines we responsible for providing refunds that insurance would have covered?
I am traveling to Ireland in a September with a friend who's mother has Alzheimer's. I called Allianz before purchasing the policy to see if she would be covered in case she had to cancel if her mother got worse (she is already in a care facility). We were buying it with pre-existing coverage, and I was shocked to learn that Alzheimer's is not covered, unless she were to die, and then it would be considered like any other death of a parent. Seems they find so many ways not to cover a trip, even when you buy the better coverage. Granted, we did buy the insurance, something we hadn't done for our anniversary trip to Hawaii a few years ago faced a similar situation to the OP. In our case, we decided to go ahead and go, knowing it's what my dad would have wanted us to do if he could say so himself.