Imagine a different world, one where there had been no Coronavirus pandemic and one where we were all still looking forward to and doing all those trips that we had previously booked. Crazy to think of it now isn’t it with the whole world turned upside down and our lives so completely different.
Just over six weeks ago we were looking forward to a well-deserved stay in Tenerife and our calendar was fully-booked right through until September with various trips, visits to friends and family, and several housesits. Now there is nothing booked, nothing planned, and no sign that the situation will change anytime soon. We have been unbelievably fortunate to have found somewhere to rent for a few months so have no complaints especially with the terrible loss of life and sickness all around.
Refunds and cancellations
As soon as we’d found our new ‘home’ we had another huge project to concentrate on. Attempting to cancel all of our bookings officially and get as many refunds as possible. We weren’t at all confident of success as the original official UK Gov warnings only covered up until mid April and the travel companies seemed to be avoiding making any refund/cancellation decisions. We had to start trying though as we’d booked a fair amount.
- Four sets of advance UK train tickets
- Two Premier Inn bookings
- Three Travelodge bookings
- Six Turkish Airlines flights
- Two Uzbekistan Airlines flights
- Two EasyJet flights
- Nine accommodation booking via Booking.com
- Two accommodation bookings via Expedia
- Two Airbnb bookings
- Four housesits
- Three overnight stays with friends
- Six get-togethers with family and friends
- A hospital appointment
- Two dental appointments
- Two doctors appointments
So just one or two to look into ……….. The perils of being over-organised I suppose but who could have foreseen something like the current crisis ever happening.
These almost cancelled themselves to be honest as the trips that the housesitting hosts were taking began to look as though they would be off so when we contacted them all it was a mass of joint decisions and reluctant acceptance that their trips and our sits would not happen. Very sad as a a couple were return sits with couples that we had become firm friends with. Let’s hope that sometime in the future we can get together again and get these housesits back on.
We preempted the medical and dental situation by contacting and cancelling before they made the decision. It was obvious that routine appointments would be off so we just tried to free up their time well in advance.
Get-togethers and overnight stays
These were the saddest things to cancel and the ones we were most reluctant to do as keeping in touch with friends and family is so very important to both of us. Because of our lifestyle we always have to plan seeing those closest to us a long time in advance and it’s sometimes a real juggling act to agree on a mutually acceptable date. So cancelling those arrangements was absolutely gutting. I know we can, and definitely will, re-organise but it could be a while until we see Jackie and Trevor, Caroline and Tim, Keith and Nicola, Trevor and Sharon, Leigh and Mandy, Paul and Rosemary, and of course our family again.
On to bookings that had cost money and suddenly not so easy. Every airline seemed to have different criteria and information on how to cancel and whether a refund was available. With worldwide travel news still unpredictable and changing by the hour it took an unbelievable amount of effort and time to cancel flights with differing results;
- EasyJet – No refunds but we were allowed to rebook the flights later in the year.
- Turkish Airlines – Refund eventually applied for and approved but with advice that it could take 60 days for us to receive the money back.
- Uzbekistan Airways – Really difficult to locate an online refund/cancellation form and then even harder to fill it in. Still waiting to hear anything back after 4 weeks.
Slightly more to do here but a little more straightforward as Jo had booked a lot of places with free cancellation included. Some places proved to be easier and much more prepared to cancel bookings than others. Obviously our Travelodge debacle as featured in Social Distancing across England was a lowpoint but almost every other company has come through with flying colours.
- Premier Inn – Absolutely fabulous to deal with, cancelling our bookings and offering full refunds with the minimum of fuss.
- Airbnb – No fee cancellations as the hosts wanted to call off the booking as much as we did.
- Expedia – Easy to contact the individual locations who both cancelled with no issues. Full refunds immediately.
- Booking.com – More complicated as there were so many bookings and we had to contact each property in turn and ask to cancel. The majority cancelled straight away and refunded but a couple took a few weeks to reply but eventually released our money.
- Travelodge – Very difficult to cancel or even get in touch with anyone. After multiple emails, being turned away at the door, online chats, escalating the complaint, and contacting managers we eventually got a refund plus our travel expenses (which was a nice surprise). Just left a bad taste as it was us chasing them constantly which obviously is not ‘customer focused’ at all and not the way things should be. Disappointing.
Everything has been cancelled now and the majority of refunds received. We’re just waiting on Turkish Airlines, Uzbekistan Airlines, and Train Split but that amounts to a considerable amount of money so fingers crossed it all comes through okay. Could be some more stroppy emails and escalation otherwise. We will let you know ……
Now we’re just sitting tight along with the rest of the country waiting until the day that we can start to look ahead and begin travelling once again. We may be waiting a little while though.