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China Southern full refund due to medical condition

N S
Sydney, Australia
2 posts
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China Southern full refund due to medical condition

Hi all,

I am making this post with a hope to find some answers on how to get a full refund from China Southern airlines.

I had two tickets booked and fully paid and we were scheduled to fly out to Nepal from Sydney on January 18, 2013. Unfortunately due to medical condition of my wife and the diagnosis of something contagious that requires long term medical treatment, she was deemed unsafe for traveling and so we had to cancel our flights.

Our travel agent was notified to cancel the ticket for us and to process fora a refund in full. Medical certificate prepared by the medical professional was submitted which explained the nature of illness.

Tickets were cancelled no problem, but China Southern tells us that there is not going to be a full refund whatsoever because the illness is not terminal. They also say that the airlines has the right to decided if the medical condition is critical or not despite the submission of medical certificate which clearly states the nature of illness.

Someone please advice how to tackle this situation because I find the response from China Southern to be very unreasonable and unethical.

Thanks.

N S

Bangkok
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for Bangkok, Air Travel, Thailand
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1. Re: China Southern full refund due to medical condition

Hi,

First, I think you've taken the right actions regarding travel.. And you deserve recognition to that end.

On the notion of CZs actions being unethical, unfeasonable or otherwise.. Unless there is a government regulation to the contrary, in most cases it falls to what does the carriers T&Cs say about these cases... They don't have to be ethical or reaosnable -- they only need to be legal in the place where it will be judged.

I think again, unless your travel falls under some national regulations, you're stuck going thru CZ and their ruling on the matter.

If also get your medical provider to help you "make your case" for what you want.

I would take a very close read of the carriers terms and conditions as well as your tickets specific fare rules as this will, in most likelihood, be what CZ uses to make their determination.

Travel Safe,

Edited: 15 April 2013, 04:22
Paris, France
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17,222 posts
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2. Re: China Southern full refund due to medical condition

I thought this is what travel insurance is for. Unless you purchased a refundable ticket, the airline has no obligation to refund your money.

Sunshine Coast...
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3. Re: China Southern full refund due to medical condition

I'm sorry that your wife is ill and hope she recovers quickly.

Unless you purchased flexible tickets from China Southern that would allow you to cancel and receive a refund there is no reason for them to refund you.

Presumably you purchased your insurance from the travel agent at the same time as your flight tickets but it is not China Southern who will refund you as it is actually the insurance policy that would refund you when you need to cancel due to illness.

Every travel agent in Australia recommends travel insurance for overseas travel (and they sell expensive policies too!) so I think you need to check exactly what it is that you have purchased and then after carefully reading the terms and conditions of both your airline tickets and your travel insurance you will have a better idea of what refund if any you should be receiving.

Of course your travel agent should be assisting you with this - what do they have to say?

Melbourne
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1,410 posts
7 reviews
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4. Re: China Southern full refund due to medical condition

It is a horrible thing to have happen to anyone but unfortunately, unless you purchase a fully flexible ticket, the airline will almost never cover refunds for cancellation due to medical reasons. As said above, that's what travel insurance is for.

Seattle, Washington
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5. Re: China Southern full refund due to medical condition

Someone please advice how to tackle this situation because I find the response from China Southern to be very unreasonable and unethical

<<<<<<<<<<

Unfortunately, what we think doesn't matter. You agreed to the Terms and Conditions of your ticket when you purchased them. Next time, consider purchasing travel insurance. It's usually cheap, compared to the price of losing all the money you paid out for your trip. I hope your wife has a full recovery, but you really cannot blame China Southern.

Edited: 15 April 2013, 05:40
N S
Sydney, Australia
2 posts
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6. Re: China Southern full refund due to medical condition

Thank you all for your responses. Appreciated very much. My wife is recovering well. Thanks for your wishes too.

I'd never come across situation like this so I did not think of travel insurance at all. Another lesson learned in life I guess. I'll definitely think of that next time.

Under 'Refund and Change' available at China Southern website there is a FAQ relating to sick passenger, which is as below:

" How to refund if the passenger is sick?

You should ask for the refund at lease before the take-off, and with the original medical report (original medical certificate, medical record,The original payment bill of the medical fee of more than RMB 100 Yuan or its copy and relating certificate) issued by hospital or medical treatment institutions of county level or above, the refund fees could be exempted. For the exemption of refund fees, the escort should ask for the refund together with the sick. Please call 40066-95539 for any questions."

Reading this I was hopeful that they'd refund in full long as all the medical documents were submitted. But I've been told they'll deduct cancellation fees no matter what. Its in their Terms and Conditions so I guess I'll have to bite the bullet and get on with it.

Again, thanks for the responses. Have a nice day.

Fortaleza, CE
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9,183 posts
375 reviews
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7. Re: China Southern full refund due to medical condition

So, "not a full refund whatsoever" doesn't mean "no refund whatsoever," but a full refund less cancellation fees. That sounds pretty good. I'd take it, unless your have specific reasons to believe that you are due a full refund. People run into the same situations with cruises. Travelers often learn the hard way the difference between what they are legally due and what they feel they "should" get (using their definition of ethics). Airlines could be more generous, but would, of course, pass the costs on to all of their customers.

Edited: 16 April 2013, 14:27
Fortaleza, CE
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8. Re: China Southern full refund due to medical condition

I think some credit cards have travel insurance provisions. Read the fine print in all cases.

Cala d'Or, Spain
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9. Re: China Southern full refund due to medical condition

So you were going to travel from Australia to Nepal without any form of travel insurance. You admit that you 'did not even think about insurance'.

Travel insurance should be the first thing to think of when travelling to a country like Nepal.

Italy
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39,510 posts
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10. Re: China Southern full refund due to medical condition

It's a shame your travel agent didn't enquire about whether you had insurance or not as they usually try to sell it to you, anyway let us know how much they do refund.