Bad Weather Cancels Trip, Couple Struggles for Hotel Refund

NBC 6's Alina Machado reports for NBC 6 Responds.

(Published Tuesday, March 6, 2018)

What to Know

  • Weather canceled the flight of a couple's trip to visit Connecticut for a funeral.

  • Though the airline issued a refund, the hotel did not issue a refund due to "specific policies."

Jean Augustin knew he needed to be with his family after his sister-in-law, Ana's, mother died just two days after Christmas.

“When my dad passed in 2016, Ana and my brother, of course, they came down right away,” Augustin said. “I wanted to be there for them, too.”

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That’s why Jean and his wife, Marie, went online to search for flights to head up to Connecticut for the funeral. They booked a flight out of Ft. Lauderdale and found their hotel on Travelocity. They were supposed to leave January 4.

“On the day of, we received a text message telling us that the flight was delayed,” Augustin said. “Then we received, we’re outside Ft. Lauderdale airport, we received another text that the flight was cancelled.”

The reason: a major winter storm had dumped several inches of snow, bringing the Northeast to a standstill and cancelling flights all over the country.

“We were offered a flight through Detroit that would arrive in New York Saturday afternoon,” Augustin said.

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But because that would be too late for them to make it for the funeral, Augustin said they called the airline, explained the situation and received a full refund. Then Augustin said they called the hotel directly, that same day, to cancel their stay.

“The hotel said that has nothing to do with them, they don’t offer refunds,” Augustin said he was told.

Global Luxury Suites told NBC 6 Responds they weren’t notified of the flight cancellation until a day after the couple’s scheduled arrival and that they kept the room on hold until then. As a courtesy, they offered to issue a one-night credit toward a future stay – an offer the couple declined.

“I didn’t think that it was fair that they would be making money off of a natural disaster when they couldn’t rent the room to anyone,” Augustin said.

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Travelocity, the site where they made the reservation, told NBC 6 they, too, contacted the property on Augustin’s behalf but the request was denied because of the hotel’s “…specific policies.”

Still, Travelocity decided to step in and issue a full refund in the amount of $820.40 because they “…are committed to helping … customers travel better” and the couple’s plans were interrupted due to no fault of their own.

Augustin, meanwhile, never made it to the funeral but he was thankful to at least have his money back.

“I was very happy …that I got the results that we needed,” he said.

His wife purchased insurance when she booked the hotel, but that policy did not cover the circumstances that caused them to cancel their trip. Augustin said he wishes they had taken the time to read the fine print of the policy before paying the extra cash, so they would have known exactly what was covered.

The couple also booked the reservation using their bank card instead of a credit card. If they had used a credit card, they may have found some additional protections there.