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Cancer Does Not Merit a Refund, Says Airline

British low cost carrier easyJet refuses to refund flyer’s ticket after breast cancer diagnosis, offering a travel voucher instead.

A British flyer is decrying easyJet as “insensitive” after the low-cost carrier refused to refund her fare when she was forced to cancel her flight due to a breast cancer diagnosis. In an interview with the Daily Mail, Helen Rowand, 53, claims the airline would not help her nor offer any sympathy to her situation, instead being very cold toward her and her condition.

Rowand was set to go on a 10-day vacation in Turkey with her partner when she began experiencing chest pains shortly before the trip. Her doctors diagnosed with a rare form of breast cancer and immediately scheduled a lumpectomy on top of her planned trip. When Rowand contacted easyJet to cancel her flight, however, the airline refused to refund the $605 airfare.

“I had been really excited for the holiday,” said Rowand. “I booked it because I felt like I really needed a rest and I thought I would just chill out and do nothing.”

Instead of being sympathetic to her situation, Rowand says that the woman she spoke to at easyJet didn’t react at all. After being put on hold, Rowand says that instead of giving back her money, the airline offered a voucher for around $192, which had to be redeemed within six months.

“I wasn’t expecting to get the whole [$605] back, but it was a bit of a slap in the face,” Rowand told the Daily Mail.

In response to reports regarding Rowand’s experience, easyJet says it will issue a travel voucher for the entire amount of Rowand’s trip, but cautioned travelers to consider travel insurance prior to their flights.

“We sympathize with Ms. Rowland’s situation which is why, although our tickets are usually non-refundable, we have offered to provide her with a flight voucher for the full value of the trip she is unable to take while she is undergoing treatment (excluding an administrative fee),” an easyJet representative told the Daily Mail.

[Photo: easyJet, DailyMail]

Comments are Closed.
Sydneyberlin October 30, 2015

I do feel for her with regards to her illness , I'm a cancer survivor myself and can half way understand what she must be going through. However, I would have never thought about claiming back a non-refundable ticket from a cheapy airline back when I was diagnosed. EasyJet is completely right here, if you want to be protected against things like this, then you get travel insurance. Which amazes me anyway how people could not have this. So cancer or not, she obviously was too stingy to pay the few pounds for proper insurance so now bad luck I say! Here in the UK, she will not even have to pay for treatment so it's not even a big financial burden.

Jane42 October 9, 2015

@jameswes - does your travel insurance cover pre-existing medical conditions?

jameswes October 8, 2015

@Jasatt - I have a really, really hard time believing that travel insurance was half the price of the trip, unless you're trying to have it cover "cancel for any purpose" and trying to refund the entire cost, and lots of other features. Or you're paying less than a few hundred dollars for the whole trip (in which case, sure, just eat the cost). I've used TravelGuard a number of times, and it usually ends up costing $100-300 for a family of 5 (total) to cover flight and lodging. I can't cancel for any reason, but if there's weather, work, sickness, death in the family, etc, then I'll get all of my prepaid expenses back. And it also covers other things like lost baggage, missed connections, etc.

mikeef October 8, 2015

@diver858, because, sadly, we keep clicking on them.

Boggie Dog October 8, 2015

I can accept non-refundable tickets but shouldn't that also mean that the airline can't sell that seat a second time or overbook any flights? Fair is Fair!