Fly Sick or Pay?
The outbreak of H1N1 flu has greatly increased the concern and awareness of the dangers of passengers traveling who are sick.
Have you ever taken a long flight and noticed that everyone seemed fine boarding the plane only to see many people coughing and blowing their noses by the time they deplaned? The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) recommends that passengers do not fly if they are sick and that they do not travel for at least 24 hours after fever symptoms are gone.
Unfortunately many sick travelers still fly. The number one reason they continue traveling is because many airlines charge change fees as much as $150 per ticket. If you pay full fare for your ticket, change fees are usually waived. However, since most cheap air tickets are available at prices up to two thirds below full fare tickets, few passengers buy such tickets.
The following are a few tips you should keep in mind if you want to minimize your expense in changing tickets due to illness:
1) Call the airline before you cancel your flight since airline policies concerning sickness vary significantly between airlines.
2) Get a Doctors note advising you in writing not to fly. This sometimes convinces an airline to waive its change fees.
3) Be aware that airlines reserve the right to deny boarding to a passenger it deems to have a communicable disease that can be transmitted to other fliers.
4) Some credit card companies and online travel companies offer insurance that will reimburse you for change fees charged for being unable to fly due to illness. Remember though you need to purchase this insurance prior the day of departure.
Finding cheap airfares is more important than ever these days. The challenge is figuring out how to keep those tickets cheap when dealing with illness.