Cancelling A Trip–What I Learned in the Process

First, I know that I promised this post almost three weeks ago when we cancelled our three week trip to Europe. I really was going to write it fairly quickly after that, but I got so depressed about not going, the state of the world and the pandemic, that I just kept putting it off. But since I know that many of you may have to do some cancelling of your own someday I wanted to show you how, as of today we have cancelled four flights, one cruise, three tours, lots of land transport and event tickets. In all cases we have either received refunds or vouchers for another trip at another time within a certain time frame so I feel I really have a handle on this. That means we had already paid for this and they had our money. If it says No then we had not paid anything but they had our credit card they could charge if we didn’t cancel.

Things to CancelAt RiskAmount at RiskOutcome
Viking Christmas Market River CruiseYes$15,000Cancelled and voucher/rebooked 2023
Car Service to SEANo$0.00 paid in advanceCancelled
British Air Flight to Lisbon, PortugalYes$1,500 plus 120K milesCancelled and Refunded
British Air seat reservationsYes$785Cancelled and Refunded
Talixo Limo Airport to Hotel in LisbonNo$0.00 paid in advanceCancelled
Hotel Portugal, LisbonNo$0.00 paid in advanceCancelled
Lisbon Food Tour with Eating EuropeYes$150Cancelled and Refunded
Sintra TourYes$200Cancelled and Refunded
TAPP flight Lisbon to AMSYes$325Cancelled and voucher
Talixo Limo Airport to Banks MansionNo$0.00 paid in advanceCancelled
Banks Mansion hotel in AMSNo$0.00 paid in advanceCancelled
Reservation at Pantry RestaurantYes$100Cancelled and Refunded
Reservations at Restaurant ZazaYes$100Cancelled and Refunded
Boom Chicago TicketsYes$75Cancelled and Refunded
Tour with Tours by Locals around AMSYes$420Cancelled and Refunded
Van Gogh museum ticketsYes$80Cancelled and Refunded
KLM flight from AMS to PragueYes$720Cancelled and voucher
Delta flight from Budapest to SEAYes$3782Cancelled and voucher
Car Service home from SEANo$0.00 paid in advanceCancelled

As you can see we were not able to get all our money refunded but we were able to get vouchers that we could use on future travel. Some of that future travel has expiration dates but as much as we travel we have been or will be able to use it.

For instance, we have already rebooked the Viking River Christmas Market Cruise. We really do want to go on this cruise but we had to push it off to 2023 because we will already be in Europe in fall of 2022 and we really can’t afford to get home in September and then go back in November.

I also need to point out that we got really lucky with the British Air seats. Normally we would have had more of a problem with them. They were for a one-way ticket from Seattle to Lisbon, Portugal via London Heathrow. Our original flight left here at 6:45 pm, arrived at Heathrow at noon the next day and then we had a 2.5 hour layover before our flight to Lisbon. About two weeks before we were scheduled to go we got a note from British Air (and Alaska Air—we booked the tickets through them using miles) that they had cancelled our Lisbon flight and moved us to one that didn’t leave Heathrow until almost 8:00 pm and did not arrive in Lisbon until close to midnight.

When they move you that much you can cancel and rebook elsewhere at no cost…so when we cancelled with them, we just cited the change of schedule as the reason and Alaska Air cheerfully handed us back the miles and the taxes (Heathrow taxes are outrageous—$750 each)and British finally (last week) refunded our seat reservations. We have hopefully taken our last flight on British Air. We love everything about them except for the high taxes at Heathrow and the fact that even though you have Business Class seats, you still have to pay $750 each to choose your seat prior to check in the day before the flight. That’s just wrong.

Some of the other expenses we were pleasantly surprised to get back were the Boom Chicago (an improv show in Amsterdam, done in English, where Jason Sudekis, Seth Myers and other US comedy folks got their start) and the Van Gogh museum. Both state on their websites that there will be “NO REFUNDS.” But when I wrote them both a nice e-mail explaining that we just had to cancel due to COVID, they both said they understood and gave us full refunds. It should be noted that both of those are in Amsterdam and Amsterdam is locked down today so there is a good chance we might not have been able to go to either anyway.

Other tours (Sintra and the food tour in Lisbon or the Tours by Local tour in Amsterdam) we knew in advance were refundable right up to a few days before the tour. The same with the restaurants. I should note that this was the first time I did restaurant reservations that I had to provide a credit card and they charged me a refundable (up to 24 hours before) deposit of $25 per guest. And this happened at all three places we were going to eat in AMS.

Almost everything was completely cancelled and refunded within…3 days. The only things that we waited on were the British Air seat reservations and the Boom Chicago and Van Gogh museum tickets. And I only had to make a single phone call. All of the rest were either cancelled with an e-mail or by filling out a web form, except for my calling Alaska Air—which was super easy.

All-in-all I am VERY pleased at how easy this was to do. But even saying that, I would NEVER want to do it again. When you are a travel freak like I am, there is no bigger downer than cancelling a major trip like this. It put me in such a rotten mood that we had to quickly (like within three days) get refunded and get something booked for January. Now if Omicron would just get over itself so that doesn’t get cancelled, we are all set. I promise to come back and tell you all about it soon.

One last note about a date I missed. Last Thursday, December 16, was the third anniversary of this travel blog. The post you are reading is my 199th so I think I have done just a “fair job” of writing an average of two posts a month. If we had been traveling like we normally do (damn you pandemic) then it would have been a lot more. With three major trips planned in 2022 I truly believe that there will be a lot more in the year to come. Stick with me.

Cancelled isn’t a bad word because it happens everyday.

Wayne Brady

5 thoughts on “Cancelling A Trip–What I Learned in the Process

  1. What! 3 year Anniversary for the blog! Really! It seems like it was just started a few months ago. I am pleased that you have been able to resolve all of the travel concerns. The tax at Heathrow is quite something, perhaps that is why West Jet is flying into Gatwick? Have a wonderful week!

  2. What you went through to cancel and reschedule all that you had spent so long planning! Anyone would be depressed, but for a travel guy like you, major depressed. I had no idea there was a tax at Heathrow, but I did know you had to pay to a seat assignment before the 24 hour window, even when you’ve purchased Business Class. Such a rip off. I am glad you feel a bit better these days. What a mess the world is in. Love your blog, so keep it up. Merry Christmas, Kathleen and Jim.

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