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Korean Airlines Need extension of reschedule

Jan 10, 2020
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-Our family of 3 was to fly LAX to Bangkok business class on 12/18/19; return 1/3/20; I did not buy travel insurance (my error; never to be repeated)
-On 12/12/19 my husband was unexpectedly admitted to the ICU and was gravely ill; they told me he might not live
-I called Korean Airlines while husband in ICU to say we would not be on the flight so I would not incur No-show fee
-I called Korean Airlines on/about 12/17/19 and once since then; explained critical medical issue; both times they told me I had one year from date of purchase to complete the travel (must complete travel by 6/21/20); plus $450/person for rebooking ($1350)
-Husband released from hospital on 12/18/19; going to live; but long recovery; no flights soon---will need surgery next
-Other flights (Vietnam Air) and all tours and hotels refunded our money--some wanted a letter; others just trusted my story
-I wrote one email and addressed to the three names on Elliott website for Korean Airlines (jjackson@koreanair.com; SRamesh@koreanair.com; WontaeCho@koreanair.com). The email was returned with an auto-reply from each of the addresses saying: Your message wasn't delivered to [each of their addresses was here] because the address couldn't be found, or is unable to receive mail.
-Not sure if relevant but I charged the flights on my AmEx Platinum
-Not sure if relevant but I am Gold Medallion (with close to 600K miles) on their Sky Partner, Delta
Please advise/help me. We want to take this dream trip but need more time to schedule due to husband's recovery. We need some good news.
 

justlisa

Feb 12, 2019
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Did you address them all in the same email? Some companies will bounce outside mail if it's addressed to more than one person.
 
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VoR61

Jan 6, 2015
3,430
4,171
113
the United States
I have located and "validated" the following contacts for Korean Air:

1st Contact​
Byeong Taek Cho​
Managing Director​
2nd Contact​
Su Geun Lee​
Vice President​
3rd Contact​
Gi Hong Woo​
Co-Chief Executive Officer, Director​
4th Contact​
Won Tae Cho​
President, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Director​

I would tell them the following:
  • Our family of 3 was to fly LAX to Bangkok business class on 12/18/19, returning 1/3/20
  • On 12/12/19 my husband was unexpectedly admitted to the ICU and was gravely ill; they told me he might not live
  • I called Korean Airlines while he was in ICU to say we would not be on the flight so we would not be "no-shows"
  • They have advised that we had one year from date of purchase to complete the travel (by 6/21/20); plus $450/person for rebooking ($1350)
  • With surgery pending and a long recovery, we will need much more time than that, and would appreciate a full refund.
Thank you for your time and attention​

Some do's and don'ts when writing
Do not use inflammatory language - be polite, as that increases the likelihood of success
Do not attach files - their email system may discard your email before anyone reads it
Do not start with the CEO - begin at the lowest level in the company contacts shown above
Present a brief summary (list) and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,590
2,899
113
Make sure when you write to them (one at a time waiting for a reply before moving to the next name on the list @VoR61 provided) that you acknowledge you are asking for an exception to the fare rules. It goes a long way when a customer admits that they should have purchased trip insurance to cover such scenarios as yours, that the refund is not obligatory on the airline's part.

I hope you husband is feeling much better and on the way to a full recovery.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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Sorry to hear about the health crisis. First check was Amex offers as travel insurance. From what is written online it does not appear that illness before travel is covered only illness while traveling -- but you need to check the entire policy for your card and what was covered at the time of purchase.

As Patina said you are asking for an exception. Most foreigners buy travel insurance as a force of habit -- especially those traveling to the US as they have heard about the medical costs. Many foreign airlines are very rules oriented as that is part of the culture. I have no recent experience with Korean so I cannot say how the request will be viewed but I would ask for an extension of the credit.

It is fortunate that the medical crises happened at home and not in the air or in some remote part of the world where there may have been hospitals with limited facilities and the additional problems of language.
 
Jan 10, 2020
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Sorry to hear about the health crisis. First check was Amex offers as travel insurance. From what is written online it does not appear that illness before travel is covered only illness while traveling -- but you need to check the entire policy for your card and what was covered at the time of purchase.

As Patina said you are asking for an exception. Most foreigners buy travel insurance as a force of habit -- especially those traveling to the US as they have heard about the medical costs. Many foreign airlines are very rules oriented as that is part of the culture. I have no recent experience with Korean so I cannot say how the request will be viewed but I would ask for an extension of the credit.

It is fortunate that the medical crises happened at home and not in the air or in some remote part of the world where there may have been hospitals with limited facilities and the additional problems of language.
yes, thank you. yes, we are so thankful we weren't on the 22 hour flights---he would not have made it since they had to do so much to save him. I'm just so thankful he's with me and I'm thankful for this forum's help. I'm going to do this step by step as instructed.
 
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Reactions: TropicalRichmond
Jan 10, 2020
8
7
3
51
I have located and "validated" the following contacts for Korean Air:

1st Contact​
Byeong Taek Cho​
Managing Director​
2nd Contact​
Su Geun Lee​
Vice President​
3rd Contact​
Gi Hong Woo​
Co-Chief Executive Officer, Director​
4th Contact​
Won Tae Cho​
President, Co-Chief Executive Officer, Director​

I would tell them the following:
  • Our family of 3 was to fly LAX to Bangkok business class on 12/18/19, returning 1/3/20
  • On 12/12/19 my husband was unexpectedly admitted to the ICU and was gravely ill; they told me he might not live
  • I called Korean Airlines while he was in ICU to say we would not be on the flight so we would not be "no-shows"
  • They have advised that we had one year from date of purchase to complete the travel (by 6/21/20); plus $450/person for rebooking ($1350)
  • With surgery pending and a long recovery, we will need much more time than that, and would appreciate a full refund.
Thank you for your time and attention​

Some do's and don'ts when writing
Do not use inflammatory language - be polite, as that increases the likelihood of success
Do not attach files - their email system may discard your email before anyone reads it
Do not start with the CEO - begin at the lowest level in the company contacts shown above
Present a brief summary (list) and give each contact one (1) week to respond before escalating to the next level
ok, here I go. Going to start with 1st contact, give them key bullets, and wait one week.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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yes, thank you. yes, we are so thankful we weren't on the 22 hour flights---he would not have made it since they had to do so much to save him. I'm just so thankful he's with me and I'm thankful for this forum's help. I'm going to do this step by step as instructed.
Behappy I hope there is something positive from he airline -- but if there is not; please keep the big picture in mind. Decades ago as I student I was on a flight that was diverted for medical emergency. It was awful for the passenger and the spouse. To this day I think about this and I do not know if the patient survived and I so hope that he did, but it was not easy for the pilot to find a quick place to land. We were not allowed off the plane (flight from Tel Aviv to New York and diverted to Ireland) and it was a 4 some hour delay. I did not care about the delay at all -- I cared about the passenger and the spouse. The airline did what they could and there were doctors on board, but it is not the same. I have missed connections, been delayed and stranded by weather, luggage delayed -- but none of that matters in the big picture. To keep perspective I think about the ambulance waiting on the tarmac and the sounds of the wife and the efforts of the crew -- the pilot originally wanted to land at Paris CDG, then London Heathrow but too much congestion and wait, so it was better to fly to Dublin-- more flying time but quicker landing time. I cannot imagine how much worse it would have been if the medical crises had happened over the Atlantic Ocean. And I can say from family experience that repatriating remains is not an easy process.

Sending best thoughts for your husband's recovery.
 
Last edited:

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,026
9,697
113
San Francisco
I sent the email to the first person. I will wait one week. Will let you know how it goes. Thank you everyone.
I feel so badly for you having to deal with the terror of a sudden life-threatening illness just before a wonderful trip. I applaud your good attitude. I agree with everything my colleagues have advised and I would add this: be humble, accept responsibility, be appreciative and be grateful. You cannot overdo this in a letter asking for such a big exception to their rules. It is possible your seats flew empty. If a full refund is not forthcoming, ask for a 12-month extension with which to use a credit. If they grant that, you can ask them to waive the cancellation fees before you book the next trip. Best of luck, and please let us know how it goes.
 
Jan 10, 2020
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Behappy I hope there is something positive from he airline -- but if there is not; please keep the big picture in mind. Decades ago as I student I was on a flight that was diverted for medical emergency. It was awful for the passenger and the spouse. To this day I think about this and I do not know if the patient survived and I so hope that he did, but it was not easy for the pilot to find a quick place to land. We were not allowed off the plane (flight from Tel Aviv to New York and diverted to Ireland) and it was a 4 some hour delay. I did not care about the delay at all -- I cared about the passenger and the spouse. The airline did what they could and there were doctors on board, but it is not the same. I have missed connections, been delayed and stranded by weather, luggage delayed -- but none of that matters in the big picture. To keep perspective I think about the ambulance waiting on the tarmac and the sounds of the wife and the efforts of the crew -- the pilot originally wanted to land at Paris CDG, then London Heathrow but too much congestion and wait, so it was better to fly to Dublin-- more flying time but quicker landing time. I cannot imagine how much worse it would have been if the medical crises had happened over the Atlantic Ocean. And I can say from family experience that repatriating remains is not an easy process.

Sending best thoughts for your husband's recovery.
Yes, yes, yes. Your post brought tears to my eyes. I'm happy just knowing my husband is in the other room and I can go talk to him. He's with me and that is the most important part of this saga.
 
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Jan 10, 2020
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Ok, I sent the letter to the second person on the list after no reply from #1. I added that if asking for a refund was too much we would appreciate a 1 year extension to use the tickets. Hubby getting stronger. Surgery in a couple months, but he definitely can't travel by June 2020. Fingers crossed we get a compassionate reply from #2.
 
Sep 23, 2019
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I am shocked that any business class tickets would be not fully - or very nearly fully - refundable.
 
Feb 21, 2018
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I am shocked that any business class tickets would be not fully - or very nearly fully - refundable.
It matters not a whit what the class of service is - what matters is whether the traveler chose 'refundable' or 'non-refundable'.

I was able to score a one-way first class ticket from San Juan PR to Philadelphia two years ago for only $319...just about $50 more than a coach seat. It was a no-brainer to choose that, but it was as non-refundable as the day is long. The same ticket would have cost me at least four times that if I wanted the option to get my money back.
 
Jan 10, 2020
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Ok, no reply from either 1st or 2nd contact. Just emailed 3rd contact. Getting nervous since I only have this and one more option (4th contact) to go. I really don't want to lose all this money ($14k). I really just want an extension to the time with which I can use the ticket. Husband will not be able to travel by June. Fingers crossed that someone at Korean Air takes some pity on me.