Traveler Cancels Flight Due to Cancer Diagnosis, Fights Rebooking Fees

A local traveler said her vacation plans were put on hold because of a medical emergency. But instead of a smooth rescheduling process, she said she had to spend hundreds of dollars in rebooking fees before finally getting the resolution she was seeking.

Laura Voss said she cancelled a flight last summer due to a cancer diagnosis. She needed surgery to remove a kidney, which was scheduled several days before her flight.

Voss received a travel voucher to use at a later time.

“Since I have recovered, my son and I made new vacation plans and was charged a $200 rebooking fee for each ticket,” Voss wrote to NBC 5 Responds.

Voss said she and her son did make it to North Carolina this month, almost a year after their original planned vacation. However, she said she spent months trying to get United Airlines and Expedia to remove the rebooking fees.

“So that is when my husband suggested I contact NBC 5 for help,” Voss wrote.

NBC 5 Responds contacted United regarding Voss’ rebooking fees. The airline responded by saying it would look into the matter.

Voss said she was told she would have to wait until all of her travel plans were completed before the refund process could continue.

Later, the airline later told us it was processing a refund to Expedia.

And Voss told us what followed was more waiting.

“More phone calls, sitting on hold for 90 minutes, being told that I had to call United back numerous times,” Voss wrote.

Finally, Voss said her family received a $400 credit.

“Nobody should have to go through such an ordeal to get a refund, especially for a medical emergency and since all my documentation was in order,” Voss wrote. 

Expedia issued a statement to NBC 5 Responds. 

“We appreciate NBC 5 Chicago reaching out to us on behalf of Ms. Voss and regret the inconvenience and this experience has caused her,” the statement read. “Ms. Voss has been refunded for the change fees in full.”

Expedia said it offers travel insurance “so travelers an best prepare for unexpected circumstances ahead of travel.”

Travel experts also urge travelers to consider travel insurance, which they say may protect against rebooking fees.

AAA said it’s a good idea to purchase the insurance as soon as possible.

“If you wait too long, sometimes that length of time will cost you in the end,” said AAA spokesperson Beth Mosher.

Mosher also said travelers need to check the policies of different airlines and look what happens should they need to cancel or rebook their flight.

“Some airlines have much more forgiving policies than others,” Mosher said.

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