Coronavirus and my Germany Trip

Santorini, Greece

Everyone knows about the state of the world and Coronavirus.  It has had an effect on what we do in many ways.  Some things will be changed forever.

I spent January and February of 2020 in Tarpon Springs, Florida.  This had been arranged months in advance.  I had a lovely condo on a lake, almost like a small townhouse.  Although I call it small, it is actually larger than my permanent home in Canada.  Towards the end, information about the virus was just beginning to filter through.

I drove back to Canada slowly, stopping to see the Tuskegee Airmen NHS in Alabama, and spent a night in the elegant Hotel Finial in Anniston.  I was home two days later.

All things were fine until 12 March, when the hammer came down.  All stores and non-essential services were forced to close.  No explanation for why weed shops were considered essential.

Hamburg Travel Poster
Hamburg Travel Poster

Here’s where the fun begins!

I had a wonderful trip booked, departing 21 March, to Hamburg and Bremen, Germany.  I already have full knowledge that I won’t be going, so I begin the cancellation process.  Flixbus was easy, issuing full credit for future use.  It was a small amount, so if I never use it there’s no real loss.

The Hotel Novem was also not an issue, and neither was the Best Western in Hamburg.  Both reservations cancelled without question.

I was flying with Iceland Air.  YYZ-KEF-HAM and return.  Their first offer was to rebook, but I would be limited to booking the exact same trip.  Easy enough, but to rebook I’d have to invest another $500 for the flight – throwing good money after bad.

On 19 March they sent me the “you’re flight has changed” letter.  I’m now departing a day early, flying Air Canada to Zurich and then Swissair to Hamburg.  Not acceptable.   Although they again offered a credit, I explained that under Canadian law, because they have changed my flights, I am entitled to a full refund.  No exceptions.

It has been promised, but I’m still waiting six weeks later.

I had booked two nights at the Best Western Bremen City Centre, and decided to save a few dollars by booking the advance pay rate.  No reason to expect I wouldn’t be going.

Most of the major hotel chains were offering full refunds, even on advance paid reservations by now.  Not so Best Western.  Their offer did not apply to international hotels.

Their first missive was a flat no refund. Policy.

Their second missive was a request for a doctor’s note!

Their third missive was that I could cancel if I was travelling on business, but not for pleasure.

Finally, the caved, but not fully.  They kept $80 as a “cancellation fee”, which given the current world conditions was despicable.  Someday, if I book this trip a second time, this hotel will not be under consideration.

 

Next, I’ll tell my story about Swoop Air – another despicable company.

 

 

 

 

 

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