Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Thank you CSA Travel Protection

Thank you CSA Travel Protection. Usually when I book a flight I’m way to cheap to bother with travel insurance. Something like $30 extra dollars. But this last time, flying overseas with my bicycle and cycling the length of the UK (see JOGLE) I decided to splurge. Just in case I 1.) got into an accident. I could imagine flying downhill and hitting a small rock or nut in the road and skidding out, getting hit by a car, forgetting to ride on the left and getting hit by a car, hitting pea-size scree and skating over asphalt on my butt—I could imagine ANY number of scenarios—and did. 2.) Just in case my bike got stolen, lost, or damaged. I imagined this too. My trip was fraught with imagined difficulties.

My expectations were met immediately—before leaving Chicago. Air Canada was late, thus I missed my international connection in Montreal. Why is it that staff never seemed panicked or concerned over individual passenger’s itineraries? I had train reservations made months in advance so that I could get the best price. I made them even with the idea that my plane might be delayed with a 13-hour buffer between landing and train departure.

Alas those plans went by the wayside as I spent an extra day in Montreal playing tourist. I was assured at the time that Air Canada would reimburse me for the lost reservations (they were already putting me up in a hotel, so I believed them). I began my trip spending an extra $221 on new train tickets and the imposition of finding a hotel at the last minute by the train station as I didn’t realize the Caledonia Sleeper doesn’t run on Saturdays—thus an extra day in London playing tourist. My trip officially began 3 days later than scheduled.

I made it safely home and once back began the work of reparations. Air Canada was a complete fail—though they generously offered 25% off the base airfare of my next flight—within a year of booking. But after 5 weeks of back and forth quibbling by e-mail, I then turned to my CSA travel insurance. I provided them with supporting documents and before Christmas I received a check TOTALLY refunding me the cost of buying new tickets PLUS about $70 extra, which paid for my hotel for the night in London, even though I didn’t submit a claim for that. (Long story: they wouldn’t give me a receipt because I talked them down on the rate, thanks Albany Hotel in Bloomsbury, London.)

So as an update to my JOGLE report: buy travel insurance. That little bit extra will go a long way in peace of mind for your trip and also in reclaiming lost funds. Thank you CSA Travel Protection!

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