What do you do when a freak storm is bearing down on your travel destination, an archipelago of islands in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean? Well, for starters, don’t go. That’s the decision I made this morning in Lisbon, scrapping a planned trip to the Azores including a flight on the SATA A310. And it wasn’t that hard a decision to make. The bulk of the storm is passing west of Sao Miguel but forecasts called for Tropical Storm strength winds and rains for the 12+ hours after our scheduled arrival. Even if the plane got there that’s not the sort of weather I seek out. Plus there were some concerns about getting out of the islands on Saturday morning on my scheduled departure. Going was a bad idea, though that doesn’t mean I tried to avoid making it – I was looking forward to flying the A310 and the quick stop in Ponta Delgada – but not going was the smart move. So what to do about my ticket?
When I made the decision to bail the flight was still showing as on time. In theory that would make it harder to convince the airline to give me a refund. Eventually the flight posted a 3 hour delay making it much easier to request a refund. Except that meant speaking with someone from the airline and getting through to SATA on the phone proved most challenging. No surprise, given that a hurricane is bearing down on the island, but when the phone system offered me a call-back within 48 hours I was pretty sure it was a lost cause. So I turned to the credit card company instead.
Trip Cancellation coverage is a common feature from many credit cards, though the fine print varies. In my case I’m hoping that this clause covers it:
Severe weather, which prevents a reasonable and prudent person from beginning or continuing on a Covered Trip
Not that I frequently consider my travel decisions reasonable nor prudent, but in this case I think I should be okay.
And then, of course, there is plan C. Which is to just suck it up. I’d be out the $120 or so for the ticket but I saved $50+ on the rental car I won’t be getting so I’ve already recouped some of my losses. Plus I now get to try the Portuguese high-speed rail line from Lisbon to Porto. And it is pretty nice so far.
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