Thursday, April 9, 2015

The Bag Lady cancels a trip

My husband Art and I were scheduled to fly to Bucharest, Romania on April 24, two weeks from tomorrow, as the starting point of a Viking longboat cruise to Budapest. Our plans were to take the train to Prague at the end of the cruise and spend a few days there before flying home.

Art has an implanted pacemaker/defibrillator and this winter in Tucson he got shocked a couple of times; the device did its job. But the doctors would prefer the shocks not be needed. So Art's meds have been changed and his doctor here at home has recommended we not travel internationally until Art has been on the new meds longer. That's fine with us, as we're engaged in trying to figure out what the heck is causing the problem. We suspect an electrolyte imbalance, as does every medical professional we know except the doctors.

So I'm canceling our trip, and I have a couple of issues already:
  • I called Viking and they told me there are no credits available for future trips. "That's why we recommend travel insurance, which you declined." What are they going to do with that $8,500?
  • I called the travel insurance company we did buy from. For cancellation, we're covered for half of our expenses. Filing a claim requires I send them a copy of the brochure with a statement they don't issue credits; a copy of the e-ticket for the airline (British Airways) with their cancellation policy; and a statement from the doctor advising against travel. It's almost as complicated as buying a house.
  • British Airways charges a $275 rebooking fee for each passenger, and rebooked travel has to be taken by January of next year. We paid 80,000 air miles plus $170 for each ticket ($1,170 each). What if we don't plan another trip for this year?
Seems like everyone is happy to sell you something, but not much interested in letting you return it. This pushes my unfairness button. 

The best way for the Bag Lady to handle this situation is to tell herself that she spent the same amount of money not going to Eastern Europe as she would have if she were going. The only difference is that she didn't have the  experience of the trip. The money would be gone in either case.

For some reason, this makes sense.


Linda Reeder said...

I'm glad that rationalization is working for you. :-)
Bummer on the loss of the adventure and the money, though.

DJan said...

I think it's a good idea not to travel at this point but gosh, you should be able to recoup some of that money, IMHO. Sheesh!

Anonymous said...

That is a lot of money. I guess that's the reason we don't travel.

Olga said...

Another case of insurance being little more than a racket. Still, I think you are wise not to fret about it. It is Art's health after all.
Oh, deduct it as a medical expense on your tax return! (not the advise of a professional tax accountant)

Madeline Kasian said...

Since Ken's parents became elderly and infirm and live far away, we have always purchased travel insurance for every trip. And,One year,I got sick and had to cancel a trip.I had no problem getting a full refund for the airfare and the tour. I don't like the additional expense of the insurance AT ALL but it is now a necessity. One of our credit cards also adds on travel insurance for free,I believe, but I usually just buy a policy for each trip. So sorry you will miss out-- and I'm hoping that a simple electrolyte adjustment can solve Art's issue!!!!! We're taking a cruise next week.Who knows..Ken's Mom could take a turn, and we'd have to interrupt or cancel and fly back to New Jersey.I hope not, but I suppose at this stage of the game it is an inevitable call. And WE'RE not getting any younger either!! Hang in there..

Pam said...

Your attitude about your financial loss is admirable, and your priorities are definitely in order. Here's hoping your husband gets a clear bill of health very soon! I also hope you'll have the chance to take that cruise!!

Heidrun Khokhar, KleinsteMotte said...

I do think you are wise not to fret but you did have cancellation insurance though they seem a rip off!!
Let's hope the heart issue gets sorted and some of the travel refund may be used in the fall time?
I do not like cruises. Train works better for me in Europe, though I do take day boat trips.

Tom said...

Sorry to hear abt. your financial trouble; but the more important thing is your husband's health, and so I hope that settles down and turns out to be okay.

Janette said...

Hope Art's heart gets its act together!
Next year another cruise. Maybe we will see you on it!

Mango Coffee and Me said...

I am sad you and Art cannot do your trip and likewise disgusted by the lack of refundableness (is that even a word?) of your expenditures. I sort of like your rational for accepting that which is a sensible decision. Hopefully Art stabilizes and more trips are in your future. In the meantime enjoy the beautiful PNW spring. XX Jo

Sally Wessely said...

Wow. Like Linda, I'm glad that realization is working for you. That is a lot of money. Thanks for giving us a heads up on travel insurance. Who knew?