Icelandair: Refund for medical reasons

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May 24, 2018
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Is there a history of Icelandair refunding cost of airline tickets for documented medical reasons?

I am trying to obtain a refund for Icelandair tickets my wife and I purchased through Travelocity in Dec 2017 and cancelled in May 2018 due to orders by her medical doctor "not to travel internationally".

My wife was unexpectedly diagnosed in May 2018 with AL Amyloidosis at Mayo Clinic, Rochester MN and has begun chemotherapy and eventually stem cell transplant treatment. Amyliodosis is a rare and deadly disease attacking primarily, kidney and heart organs and effecting about 2500 US residents/year. Recovery from treatment, including the immune system, can take anywhere from one to two years; depending on how a body responds. For this reason, it is impossible to know if and when we will be able to reschedule our trip and therefore have requested a complete refund.

Travelocity agents have indicated Icelandair will refund the cost of airline tickets for medical reasons when validated by a letter from diagnosis/treating doctor; however, to date Icelandair refuses to refund cost of tickets and we are told by Travelocity Icelandair agents refuse to acknowledge policy of refunding ticket cost with medical documentation. In either case, these are such extenuating circumstance that I’m sure Icelandair can be accommodative.

We recently emailed and sent letters to senior Icelandair management; so far with no responses. We purchased other international air tickets from Jet Blue with an identical cancellation policy. However, they were customer focused, understood the gravity of the situation and granted us a complete refund. In a world were corporate profit is all consuming, it’s reassuring to see some corporations are able to maintain a balance.
 

Neil Maley

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#2
Did you have Travel insurance? This is what it’s for. Travelocity is incorrect in telling you that the airline will refund - they will tell you that’s why they sell insurance.

What I suggest you do is call the credit card you used to buy your tickets and see if they by some odd chance offer Travel insurance on purchases. If they do, you should put a claim in with the insurance.

Airlines get hundreds of requests like this every day from people who didn’t think to buy insurance. They cannot possibly provide a refund on nonrefundable tickets for everyone that developed an illness and didn’t buy insurance.

You can try to contact Iceland air on your own using our company contacts but they haven’t been too receptive to cases like this. But we never say never. They might be willing to offer you a credit good for a year from the day you bought the tickets less a cancelation fee.

I’m sorry this happened to your wife- it’s a tragedy but this is exactly what insurance is for.

Good luck and let us know how your letter writing goes.
 
Likes: jsn55
Sep 19, 2015
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Visionatsea I am very sorry to hear about your wife’s diagnosis.

The customer service people at Travelocity are flat out wrong. Here is the policy of Icelandair.

“Refunds are only possible if the fare rules of the ticket purchased allow a refund and/or if your booking included cancellation insurance that meets the relevant conditions. Please note that different regulations apply for different kinds of tickets.”

Icelandair offers a cancellation protection for $27 per person when the ticket is bought from the airline. This protection allows refunds for medical issues.

And further from the website:

“Documentation in the form of a Medical Certificate signed by a doctor will be required. A Medical Certificate does not entitle a repayment if the Cancellation Protection was not purchased.”

So Travelocity is completely wrong in saying that there is a policy to give a refund.

Many Europeans buy travel insurance. Icelandair offers an inexpensive product just for this, and from their corporate stand it is wondered why someone would not pay $27 per person to have the protection.

Do check with your credit card and follow Neil’s advice.
 
May 24, 2018
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#4
Did you have Travel insurance? This is what it’s for. Travelocity is incorrect in telling you that the airline will refund - they will tell you that’s why they sell insurance.

What I suggest you do is call the credit card you used to buy your tickets and see if they by some odd chance offer Travel insurance on purchases. If they do, you should put a claim in with the insurance.

Airlines get hundreds of requests like this every day from people who didn’t think to buy insurance. They cannot possibly provide a refund on nonrefundable tickets for everyone that developed an illness and didn’t buy insurance.

You can try to contact Iceland air on your own using our company contacts but they haven’t been too receptive to cases like this. But we never say never. They might be willing to offer you a credit good for a year from the day you bought the tickets less a cancelation fee.

I’m sorry this happened to your wife- it’s a tragedy but this is exactly what insurance is for.

Good luck and let us know how your letter writing goes.
We didn't purchase travel insurance. At the time, there was absolutely no reason to purchase travel insurance.
 
Jan 30, 2018
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#5
I am in a similar situation - recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma and will start chemo next week with a stem cell transplant to follow in a few months, so, believe me, I feel your pain.

We had a big trip planned; a transatlantic crossing followed by a week or so in London then returning by boat. Hotel cancellation no problem as we had not prepaid. Cunard immediately refunded what we had paid (even though we thought the deposit was non-refundable. This may be because we had bought the Cunard insurance, - but they did not require us to make a claim through the insurance). We had to jump through hoops just to get proof from Princess that our deposit would not be refunded - 3 calls to Princess and at least 3 emails to travel agent) - so that we could file a claim through our credit card company. Just sent it off yesterday and hope the claim will be successful.

So, check your credit card!
 
Likes: jsn55

mmb

Verified Member
Jan 20, 2015
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#6
We didn't purchase travel insurance. At the time, there was absolutely no reason to purchase travel insurance.
@visionatsea -I’m so sorry to hear of your wife’s diagnosis. I was diagnosed with a life-altering medical condition last year. It’s a good thing I had health insurance as the costs of treatments has been very high.
I’m curious as to why you thought there was no reason to buy travel insurance. Do you also not purchase auto/home/life/health insurance as there is no reason to do so at the time? I have never heard of that thought process with regard to purchasing any kind of insurance.
 

Neil Maley

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#7
We didn't purchase travel insurance. At the time, there was absolutely no reason to purchase travel insurance.
There is always a reason to purchase travel insurance- for unexpected circumstances like this.

The general rule of thumb- if you can’t afford (or don’t want to) to lose every penny you have paid for your trip - you need to consider travel insurance. If you don’t- you end up in this situation if the insurance would have covered your cancellation reason.

I not sure why people who are healthy think they don’t need insurance- this is exactly what it is for. Plus many US health insurance plans don’t provide medical coverage outside the US. If yours doesn’t and you fell ill while traveling- how would you pay a hospital bill?

This is important and should be considered whenever you travel:

http://forum.elliott.org/threads/the-right-travel-insurance.1283/

Our only recommendation is for you to write directly to Iceland Air using our company contacts and hope someone will make an exception for you. Read the information in the company contacts telling you exactly how to write and follow the instructions.

We’ve seen a letter hitting the right Executives desk and exceptions made so give it a try and let us know what happens.

Good luck.
 
May 24, 2018
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#8
I am in a similar situation - recently diagnosed with multiple myeloma and will start chemo next week with a stem cell transplant to follow in a few months, so, believe me, I feel your pain.

We had a big trip planned; a transatlantic crossing followed by a week or so in London then returning by boat. Hotel cancellation no problem as we had not prepaid. Cunard immediately refunded what we had paid (even though we thought the deposit was non-refundable. This may be because we had bought the Cunard insurance, - but they did not require us to make a claim through the insurance). We had to jump through hoops just to get proof from Princess that our deposit would not be refunded - 3 calls to Princess and at least 3 emails to travel agent) - so that we could file a claim through our credit card company. Just sent it off yesterday and hope the claim will be successful.

So, check your credit card!
It's amazing the hassle one goes through with airlines and travel agents to get refunds for seats, beds etc they can readily resell. That hassle plus the anxiety associated with your disease and that of my wife's can be overwhelming at times. Nonetheless, thank you and the site administrators for the suggestion of contacting our credit card for a dispute resolution. A dispute has been filed and a provisional credit refund for the purchase of future services to be rendered but cancelled for medical reasons. This is, of course, subject to credit card company obtaining more information. I hope your treatment goes well. My wife will be starting same in mid July.
 
Feb 3, 2017
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#9
Definitely do check with your credit card as many people don't realize they may have coverage through it.

And, yes, none of us has a clue what could happen even in the next hour - an accident, suddenly struck ill, etc - The first thing I do the second after I have bought my airline ticket or made any payment of any kind for a trip is buy the travel insurance.

I do hope your credit card provides some coverage....
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#10
Visionatsea and LDVinVA I sorry to hear about both of the medical issues you face. Having had family that had these diseases I know these are difficult and frightening. And these are diseases that are silent for the early stages.

In my 20s and 30s I chose to self insure— I thought statistically I would likely not to need to cancel completely and need a refund for health reasons. But even in my 20s I chose to pay for renters insurance in case of theft or losses, as it would be a financial strain to replace everything if there was a complete loss like a fire.

Now that those days of being younger are behind me I have to really think about the travel insurance issue.

When I have rented a car in Italy I always got full coverage insurance with zero deductible even though I have never had a car accident and have a lot of experience driving there, because of the costs if there is a problem. But I never got medical evacuation or hospital insurance in case of an accident— which is a bizarre way of thinking I admit. I think I have not wanted to entertain the possibility of having a serious car accident that endangers my life versus a fender bender. I now realize how foolish my thought process was on that— the rental cars have had better coverage than me.....
 
Likes: krisseye
Apr 10, 2017
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#11
It's amazing the hassle one goes through with airlines and travel agents to get refunds for seats, beds etc they can readily resell. That hassle plus the anxiety associated with your disease and that of my wife's can be overwhelming at times. Nonetheless, thank you and the site administrators for the suggestion of contacting our credit card for a dispute resolution. A dispute has been filed and a provisional credit refund for the purchase of future services to be rendered but cancelled for medical reasons. This is, of course, subject to credit card company obtaining more information. I hope your treatment goes well. My wife will be starting same in mid July.
I hope you haven't misunderstood what everyone is suggesting. You do not want to do a dispute. You see if there is any type of travel insurance associated with the card. These are two very different things and please don't confuse them.

I am very sorry about your wife and I hope the treatment goes well.
 
Likes: jsn55

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#12
It's amazing the hassle one goes through with airlines and travel agents to get refunds for seats, beds etc they can readily resell. That hassle plus the anxiety associated with your disease and that of my wife's can be overwhelming at times. Nonetheless, thank you and the site administrators for the suggestion of contacting our credit card for a dispute resolution. A dispute has been filed and a provisional credit refund for the purchase of future services to be rendered but cancelled for medical reasons. This is, of course, subject to credit card company obtaining more information. I hope your treatment goes well. My wife will be starting same in mid July.
We did not advise you to do a dispute. Filing a dispute in this case can be considered "friendly fraud" - the airline did nothing wrong, you chose to not buy insurance. You may not win the case.

We advised you to ask your credit card if they offered travel insurance that you could have used to file a claim for the illness.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#13
No one suggested a dispute. You will lose the dispute unless the airline fails to respond. You may also have destroyed any possible goodwill.

We do not advocate for friendly fraud on this site, and neither does Christopher Elliott,

http://www.elliott.org/the-troubles...redit-card-charge-as-fraudulent-when-it-isnt/

You willfully chose not to insure the trip. Icelandair has a policy of no refunds for medical reasons unless the $27 dollar per person insurance is paid or it is a refundable fare, What the airline will do with the empty seats is irrelevant. Maybe they lost out on a large group booking because you held those seats, But again, that does not matter. You chose an inexpensive fare and chose not to get insurance.
 
May 24, 2018
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#14
I hope you haven't misunderstood what everyone is suggesting. You do not want to do a dispute. You see if there is any type of travel insurance associated with the card. These are two very different things and please don't confuse them.

I am very sorry about your wife and I hope the treatment goes well.
Already checked on Travel Insurance associated with my CC and I don't have it. According to Travelocity, the cancelation policy they have on file with Icelandair says they will refund ticket price if a medically confirmed issue exists. According to Travelocity this is common among airlines, and if fact, I experienced the same with Jet Blue that I described earlier. Travelocity has tried and tried to find out why Icelandair will not honor their policy, to no avail. So, from my perspective this is not fraud but a valid dispute.
 

Neil Maley

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Dec 27, 2014
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#15
Already checked on Travel Insurance associated with my CC and I don't have it. According to Travelocity, the cancelation policy they have on file with Icelandair says they will refund ticket price if a medically confirmed issue exists. According to Travelocity this is common among airlines, and if fact, I experienced the same with Jet Blue that I described earlier. Travelocity has tried and tried to find out why Icelandair will not honor their policy, to no avail. So, from my perspective this is not fraud but a valid dispute.
What they may have on file and what Iceland air honors are apparently two different things.

You bought a nonrefundable ticket that according to Iceland Airs ticket is nonrefundable and you chose not to buy insurance. There is nothing in Iceland Air OR Travelocity’s written policies that say the airline will refund for medical conditions. So you are falsely filing a dispute. Please read the article posted about friendly fraud. You also likely have forced Travelocity to stop communicating by doing what you did.

Here is what Iceland Air says about cancellations and refunds.

To cancel a booking you need to contact us*. In situations other than as described immediately above, refunds are only possible if the fare rules of the ticket purchased allow a refund and/or if you’re booking included cancellation insurance that meets the relevant conditions. Please note that different regulations apply for different kinds of tickets.

Please note - it says IF the fare rules of the ticket allow a refund. If you bought a non refundable ticket- that doesn’t allow refunds.

This is what Travelocity says about cancellations:

If you cancel a non-refundable flight reservation, the airline may issue you a flight credit for a future booking instead of a refund. For more information, please read Use your flight credit. Some flight reservations are not eligible for a flight credit after cancellation. If you cancel one of these reservations, you will lose the value of your ticket.
Before you cancel your flight, review the Airline Rules & Regulations portion of your itinerary for any airline cancellation fees. Any applicable fees are always charged by the airline, not us.


Here is a suggestion- if the Travelocity reps. are assuring you that Iceland Air refunds for medical conditions, I would suggest you use our company contacts for Travelocity and start writing to the Executives. Read the info on how to write and instead of starting at Customer Service, start with the first executive and follow the directions about moving up weekly.

If their agents are telling you that the Travelocity agreement is different than the airline policy- they need to expedite and get this done. It’s time to reach out to the Executives.

Let us know what the Executives say. But whatever you do- don’t tell them we suggested doing a credit card dispute because that is not what we advised and it may actually hurt your case.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#16
As Neil says what Travelocity has on file is not relevant. That is their fault for not updating their rules — Icelandair is very clear on when they will give a refund.

If Icelandair responds to the dispute you will likely lose.

Follow Neil’s advice and contact Travelocity. They may do nothing if there is a dispute.
 
May 24, 2018
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#18
What the my have on file and what Iceland air honors are apparently two different things.

Here is what Iceland Air says about cancellations and refunds.

To cancel a booking you need to contact us*. In situations other than as described immediately above, refunds are only possible if the fare rules of the ticket purchased allow a refund and/or if you’re booking included cancellation insurance that meets the relevant conditions. Please note that different regulations apply for different kinds of tickets.

Please note - it says IF the fare rules of the ticket allow a refund. If you bought a non refundable ticket- that doesn’t allow refunds.

This is what Travelocity says about cancellations:

If you cancel a non-refundable flight reservation, the airline may issue you a flight credit for a future booking instead of a refund. For more information, please read Use your flight credit. Some flight reservations are not eligible for a flight credit after cancellation. If you cancel one of these reservations, you will lose the value of your ticket.
Before you cancel your flight, review the Airline Rules & Regulations portion of your itinerary for any airline cancellation fees. Any applicable fees are always charged by the airline, not us.


Here is a suggestion- if the Travelocity reps. are assuring you that Iceland Air refunds for medical conditions, I would suggest you use our company contacts for Travelocity and start writing to the Executives. Read the info on how to write and instead of starting at Customer Service, start with the first executive and follow the directions about moving up weekly.

If their agents are telling you that the Travelocity agreement is different than the airline policy- they need to expedite and get this done. It’s time to reach out to the Executives.

Let us know what the Executives say. But whatever you do- don’t tell them we suggested doing a credit card dispute because that is not what we advised and it may actually hurt your case.
Travelocity has gone to Icelandair "agents"; not executive management, 3 times and been told no refund. Icelandair agents has never provided a reason for their no refund response. Because of the policy on file, Travelocity continues to go back to Icelandair. They have now reached out to a Sr. VP. Independently, I sent emails and letters to Chairman of Icelandair Group, Icelandair CEO, Icelandair Sr. VP Marketing and Sales, Director of Customer Experience, Director of Services all in Reykjavik and Customer Service at North American Headquarters in Quincy MA. To date I have not received a response. I don't know if this is symptomatic of decision making by committee or what is going on. If I get any response in the next few days I can stop the CC action; however all this has been going on since the beginning of May. Much more time than is needed for a courteous response, at least.
 
Sep 19, 2015
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#19
Travelocity has gone to Icelandair "agents"; not executive management, 3 times and been told no refund. Icelandair agents has never provided a reason for their no refund response. Because of the policy on file, Travelocity continues to go back to Icelandair. They have now reached out to a Sr. VP. Independently, I sent emails and letters to Chairman of Icelandair Group, Icelandair CEO, Icelandair Sr. VP Marketing and Sales, Director of Customer Experience, Director of Services all in Reykjavik and Customer Service at North American Headquarters in Quincy MA. To date I have not received a response. I don't know if this is symptomatic of decision making by committee or what is going on. If I get any response in the next few days I can stop the CC action; however all this has been going on since the beginning of May. Much more time than is needed for a courteous response, at least.
What is your ticket fare class? What does your confirmation say?

They may not be answering if the question has been asked and answered.

The reason for no refund is that you did not buy a refundable fare. That is one of those self evident truths.
 

Carrie Livingston

Moderator
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Advocate
Jan 6, 2015
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#20
Travelocity has gone to Icelandair "agents"; not executive management, 3 times and been told no refund. Icelandair agents has never provided a reason for their no refund response. Because of the policy on file, Travelocity continues to go back to Icelandair. They have now reached out to a Sr. VP. Independently, I sent emails and letters to Chairman of Icelandair Group, Icelandair CEO, Icelandair Sr. VP Marketing and Sales, Director of Customer Experience, Director of Services all in Reykjavik and Customer Service at North American Headquarters in Quincy MA. To date I have not received a response. I don't know if this is symptomatic of decision making by committee or what is going on. If I get any response in the next few days I can stop the CC action; however all this has been going on since the beginning of May. Much more time than is needed for a courteous response, at least.
There are several reasons for no response - you went against our recommendations and carpet bombed the execs. We suggest waiting at least a week between correspondence. You also bought a non-refundable ticket and choose not to insure the ticket for a mere $27. Those two things are likely what will kill your request. You can't badger people and get the desired response. Have you heard the old saying - you get more flies with honey?
 
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