My father (age 90), sister,
and I purchased tickets from St. Louis to Canada on US Airways. A
month later, my father fell, fractured his hip, and ended up
having a total hip replacement. He is now in California with me.
He does not feel that he can make such a long trip. Is there any
way to receive a refund for the tickets? We were told at the time
of purchase that we had two years to travel. Thanks in advance for
any assistance in this matter.
I am very sorry to hear of your
father's dilemma, and I wish him a speedy recovery. I contacted US Airways
on your behalf to see what they had to say regarding your situation.
A US Airways representative stated the following:
"Although non-refundable fares are not eligible for a refund, we do
recognize that unexpected events may occur that are beyond the control of
the passenger. Our policy allows exceptions in the event of the death of
the passenger or spouse, a change in military orders, jury or a court
subpoena. Tickets are valid for two years from the original intended date
of travel. The value of the tickets, less a service charge, can be applied
toward new tickets during the validity period."
It is a bad news/good news scenario. Unfortunately, you cannot receive a
refund. However, your tickets are valid for two years.
There used to be a time when airlines did accommodate passengers who could
not fly due to an illness. All that the airlines requested was a doctor's
note noting the illness. Airlines would then change flight plans at no
cost, or would issue a refund.
According to several travel agents, continual abuse of the system by
customers forced the airlines to change this policy. One travel agent said
that a particular client (whose brother was a dentist) claimed to have the
same tooth pulled three years in a row to change flight plans. She says,
"I don't blame the airlines one bit—it was so blatantly abused by
One option for elderly travelers, or for someone with a pre-existing
health condition, is to purchase travel insurance. A ninety-year-old can
purchase travel insurance for around $70, and for a $500 ticket, that's a
good investment. However, you need to balance out the costs. If an airline
ticket is under $200, it is probably best to just spend the airline
service charge/fee versus buying the insurance policy. Depending upon the
airline, this charge/fee runs between $75 and $100.
I hope I've been helpful. Happy travels!
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