Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: A heart patient chasing a flight extension
Simon Calder’s career in travel started at Gatwick Airport, where he cleaned aircraft for Laker Airways and later worked as a security officer. He became The Independent’s Travel Correspondent in 1994, and is known as “the Man Who Pays His Way” because he does not accept free travel facilities. He writes across the Independent titles, as well as for the Evening Standard.
Tuesday 19 February 2013
Q. Last July I booked a holiday to South Africa through Expedia, flying on KLM, in April. I then discovered I will need a heart operation at that time. I asked Expedia to contact KLM and ask for a one-year extension. KLM would only give a year's extension from date of purchase of tickets, ie until July 2013. Is there any way we could persuade KLM otherwise? I have sent a fax to KLM with a doctor's letter but had no reply. As we are pensioners, nearly £1,500 on flight tickets is a lot to lose.
Gordon Hamman, Kendal, Cumbria
A. First, I hope the heart operation goes well. Next, your question is intriguing - because I am surprised and impressed that Expedia was able to negotiate any kind of extension. The airline is perfectly entitled to say, approximately, recoup the cost from your travel insurance company. Hats off to Expedia and KLM for being cooperative, though I am afraid that they are unlikely to budge any further.
I agree it sounds most unfair, since you will give them plenty of time to re-sell the original seats. You are asking only to be allowed to take up the travel that you have paid for. But in these difficult days, airlines are inclined to stick firmly to their terms and conditions - and if you book a non-changeable, non-refundable ticket, they have every right to keep your money.
You can try to reclaim some of the charges bundled together as “ taxes”, but by the time various deductions are made there will be only a meagre amount. Sorry I can't be more optimistic.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 Autistic teenager beaten up by bullies makes them watch 20-minute video about autism
- 2 Greece debt crisis explained: A history of just how the country landed itself in such a mess
- 3 People all over the world are getting semicolon tattoos to draw attention to mental health
- 4 Greek debt crisis: Yanis Varoufakis's funniest (and most memorable) quotes
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Osborne to cap family benefits at £23,000 – announced ahead of his post-election Budget
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
Sickness and disability benefits could be reduced by £30 a week as part of £12bn welfare cuts
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...
£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...
£22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...