This Dutch proverb really sums up my latest travel experience, He who is outside his door has the hardest part of his journey behind him.
Due to Lufthansa’s pilots’ strike on 24 and 25 November, I did not even get to set my foot outside the front door.
I usually book my trips online, but this time I wanted to give a travel agent friend my business. This cost me dearly. Where one can usually cancel online hotel bookings within a certain time frame without a charge, or a reduced charge, going through a travel agency is very different.
The travel agency uses a tour operator to do the hotel booking. We paid € 452 for three nights. We were informed of a refund of € 46 for the prepaid € 452 (billed in February). Hence, a letter had been sent to TUI, the tour operator. We lost € 406 on the hotel booking.
TUI’s response was predictable. There is no additional reimbursement.
The travel agent also neglected to tell me she would process our flight ticket refund. Only after some prompting, and so-called miscommunication, I was informed that the ticket seller would be sending her our refund. Of the initial € 564 for two tickets, we got € 452,32 refunded.
I also rechecked on our ferry tickets we had purchased for the route Tallinn – Helsinki. These were non-refundable tickets at € 52.
Needless to say, we not only lost this travel opportunity, but I also have to spend a considerable amount of time on research of how to get any money back. In money value alone, my travel companion and I have lost € 599, 68.
My letter to Lufthansa, with a detailed explanation of losses incurred, was sent off today.
I had also booked ‘additional services’ with Lufthansa online, such as a checked-in suitcase. This is another item I have to see when I get my money back. My letter to Lufthansa, requesting a refund for this separate online booking, was sent off on 12 December and to date, 6 January, I have had no reply.
On a more pleasant note, I was home alone for four days and did not get into trouble. My husband was in Paris with his brother during that time, and both children are away at university in Shanghai and the U.K.