Some very expensive phone calls: TPG reader mistake story

Mar 1, 2020

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We are continuing to share our TPG UK readers’ travel triumphs and (occasional!) failures to help everyone maximise their travel.

This week, Max wrote in to share how a recent experience with Turkish Airlines wasn’t fully covered by his comprehensive travel insurance:

“Last November, I was in Ukraine flying from Lviv (LWO) to Tel Aviv (TLV) via Istanbul (IST), with Turkish Airlines. The first leg of the flight was cancelled, but I had a flight leaving Tel Aviv the next day, so I needed another way to get there. I booked the trip with The Platinum Card from American Express U.K., but did not know exactly what the insurance covered, as I’d never had to claim before, and wasn’t sure if I could rebook and claim the money back. I called Amex U.K. twice, and they confirmed that I could rebook on another airline and claim the money back, which was a great option if Turkish wouldn’t rebook me.

After five hours queuing, I was the second-last person in line to see someone from Turkish Airlines. The representative didn’t tell me any of the rights I had, and they refused to book me on LOT Polish Airlines — also a member of Star Alliance — even though the gentlemen in front of me was book on a LOT flight to Amsterdam via Warsaw. As they refused, I decided to rebook myself on LOT directly.

I eventually caught a LOT flight from Lviv, eight hours later than intended.

When I arrived home a few days later, I successfully claimed a refund for the rebooked flight from American Express within two weeks, but I received a phone bill for £80 for the calls I made on that day, and then found out Turkish Airlines offer delayed customers two free international calls from its sales counter.

Moral of the story? Always know exactly what your travel insurance covers, and always know your rights when travelling, as your airline might not actually tell you what you are entitled to.”

Related: The ultimate guide to travel insurance

It is very important to understand exactly what your travel insurance does and does not cover. As you are selecting and relying on the policy, it’s a good idea to read the fine print before you travel so you’re not forced to do so either during a travel emergency or at a later date, as you dispute a claim payout.

Your policy may cover things like incidentals, which could include the cost of phone calls directly related to rebooking flights where your original plans are disrupted, but it may not and you could be in for a big phone bill if you are not aware of the costs of international calls outside the EU. The last thing you want to be doing as you are urgently trying to rebook a flight in a foreign country is getting lost in the fine print of your insurance policy to see if you can afford the phone call.

Featured image by Arif Hudaverdi Yaman/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images.

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