Dear Mr. Constantinescu … that’s how I started my day on April 21, 2022. I was going to find out something that no traveler wants to know the day before going on vacation. The flight had been canceled. I was going to reconfirm that the financial couple made by unforeseen expenses &emergency fund is a match made in heaven.
Unexpected expenses can appear at any time, especially during the holidays, and it is good to be prepared. See below the series of misadventures I had over the Easter holiday, how much they cost me, how my emergency fund helped me overcome all, and how I managed to recover most of the expenses!
Thinking of vacation
In December, I purchased 3 plane tickets, with the destination Brussels, round trip, at the price of 180 euros. Departure was scheduled for April 22. Separately, another plane ticket was purchased, for the same flights, at a slightly higher price.
To get around easily, we rented a car from the destination airport.
Unforeseen expenses on the horizon
1 day before take-off, the airline notified me that the arrival flight was canceled due to a cabin crew strike. The cancellation came 1 day before the flight!
We looked at the options:
- I tap into the emergency fund to cover unforeseen expenses, look for another flight and continue the trip as originally planned.
- I’m canceling the whole trip and let’s stay home.
I chose the first option and started looking for a new flight to take us to our destination.
After extensive searching, I was able to find a same-day flight with another airline. The price for the 4 plane tickets was 700 euros, landing in the same area but at a different airport. I used the reserve fund to cover this expense.
After I sorted out the plane tickets, I turned my attention to changing the rental car reservation. In the reservation conditions, it was mentioned that canceling the reservation less than 48 hours before meant a penalty around 200 euros. I contacted the rental company and was able to change the reservation. This way the car was picked up at the new airport without paying any penalty.
The plane was scheduled to land at 21:00 and the rental car was expected to be picked up at 21:30. The plane took off 1 hour and 30 minutes late, landing at its destination at 22:20. When I arrived at the rental desk at the airport, I found out that it was closed at 22:00.
After an hour of talking with the car rental company’s customer support about the options we have to resolve the situation, the only viable option was to come back the next morning.
I was looking for a hotel near the airport that could accommodate 4 people (2 adults and 2 children). The cost of the hotel room was 145 euros per night, and the return taxi was 45 euros. Another 190 euros was paid from the reserve fund.
I returned, the following day, to the car rental office. We picked up the car and continued our trip as originally planned.
You thought our adventures were over? Not yet…
In the evening before the return flight, we started to check-in. I managed to check in for the 3 tickets originally purchased, the 4th ticket not being valid. What happened was that after receiving the original flight cancellation message and finding a new outbound flight, a refund was requested for the canceled ticket. This refund was made for both flights, both the outbound and the return.
In conclusion, a few hours before the return flight I found out that one of the tickets was no longer valid. I looked for a new plane ticket. The only options found were with a departure a day or two later, and the price was between 190 and 350 euros.
We didn’t take any of the options but decided to check the available options once more on the morning of departure. Fortunately I found a seat, on the same flight as the other 3 tickets, at the price of 95 euros.
After many adventures and almost 1,000 euros spent in addition, we returned to Romania.
Upon returning to the country, I began to take all steps to benefit from the compensation I was supposed to receive from the airline. According to EU Regulations EC 261, these compensations can reach up to 600 euros/ticket, depending on the distance of the canceled or delayed flight.
Because I didn’t refund the canceled plane tickets, the low-cost airline company through which I booked the tickets, offered the option directly on their website to request receiving compensation for the canceled flight. Thus, it was no longer necessary to call on an intermediary to help me recover the damage. He would have charged me up to 40% of the amount received as compensation.
The process of completing the form took maximum 5 minutes. To my surprise, after 3 days I received a message informing me that within 15 days of receiving that email, I would receive 1,200 euros (400 euros x 3 tickets) in the declared current account, which happened exactly within the mentioned deadline.
I recovered all the financial loss, win a little extra and I also have a story with a happy ending to tell!
All in all, it was a thrilling trip, with many beautiful experiences but also with some good lessons to learn from:
- The existence of a reserve fund, easily accessible, is necessary to cover unforeseen expenses;
- When requesting a refund for a flight, it is possible to cancel both flights – check before refunding;
- Check the schedule of the car rental office and, if the flight is delayed, notify the rental office about the delay. Don’t forget to check what the options are;
- Be prepared for unexpected expenses as well;
- Find out and try to get compensation in the event of a canceled flight. If this is the case, the first request should be made to the service provider and only then call an intermediary.
- Take the good part of every experience and be flexible!
Before making any kind of investment, collect money in the Reserve Fund! For any doubt contact me!