Simon Calder's Holiday Helpdesk: Was airline right to fly me out to New York City for a traumatic and expensive experience?
Every day our travel guru answers your travel questions
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.
Monday 12 November 2012
Q I flew to New York City on Sunday 28 October, just as Hurricane Sandy approached. When I arrived it was clear that the most of the city had been evacuated; the streets were empty and the shops were shut. Was the airline right to fly out that late? The holiday was a disaster: NYC was shut down with no public transport and all the tourist sites. It turned out to be a very traumatic and expensive experience.
Lygia Cross, Southampton
A You have been unfortunate in the extreme. You must have been on about the last flight out before the “superstorm” struck. Later departures were cancelled as the forecast storm approached. At about time you were in flight, airlines were announcing their “commercial policy” – ie what they would offer passengers booked on flights to and from the storm zone. Crucially this included the option to postpone a trip.
For you, however, it was too late. You found yourself in the unenviable position of taking delivery of what you had booked and paid for, ie a flight to New York and a Manhattan hotel, but in very different circumstances to those you had envisaged.
Was the airline was right to fly out that late? Well, evidently the carrier correctly concluded it was safe to operate and no doubt flew a lot of concerned Americans home to try to protect their property.
The airline and the agent you booked through has no further legal obligation, unless you had booked a specific “shopping holiday”. However, contact them to express your unhappiness, and they may possibly provide a voucher for future travel as a gesture of goodwill – but it will, I fear, not come close to the amount that this unhappy experience has cost.
Click HERE to email Simon.
You can also tweet him your questions @SimonCalderFollow @_SimonCalder
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 3 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 4 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
- 5 Swedish minister gives strongest case yet on why EU should stop turning away asylum seekers
Are plastic planes the future of flight? Heathrow expansion reopens debate over aviation's effects on the environment
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The most powerful passports in the world
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The 10 Best hiking boots
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
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
£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...