I am a disabled veteran, battling cancer with many ongoing tests and procedures, following radical surgery to save my life. As I live out of the country, I have to travel to the US at least twice a month for my VA appointments and deal with major dental problems other times.
My mother fell and broke her back about two months ago and her health began failing while at a rehabilitation center. After becoming unresponsive she was transferred to a hospital.
I frantically canceled appointments, borrowed money, booked a flight and arrived a mere three days before she passed away. In the rush to get my mother's side, I accidentally booked my return flight nearly a month from my arrival which will cause me to cancel even more cancer screening appointments, follow up procedures and a root canal.
I contacted the airline to try to change my flight, not expecting anything free, just the respect of a bereavement rate. My first call was answered by a gentleman in Manila and he was very difficult to understand. He informed me the bereavement rate is $150.00, the same as a normal change on the US Airways website.
My second call was answered by a woman in Manila who was equally difficult to understand. She told me to change my flight it would be $175 plus an additional $60. This is higher than the normal or bereavement rate. I asked to speak with a supervisor in the United States who spoke English. She complied and transferred me.
I spoke with the supervisor, Tony B., in Phoenix, AZ. She told me the change would cost me $398.75 but that after I file my paperwork and get approval I will be reimbursed $150 within the next six months. That would be an additional net cost to me of $248.75 if they approve the bereavement request. Any way you look at it the price is more than a normal ticket change and not a bereavement rate. Additionally, each person I talked to kept raising the price with it continually skyrocketing above their normal rates.
As a disabled veteran with ongoing medical problems, I do not have money to squander. I didn't ask for a handout, only respect for my loss in the form of a bereavement rate which is normal for major airlines.
Instead, I was bounced around the world, handled by personnel who were obviously reading from a screen and who could barely speak English.
Since I declined their "wonderful" offers, I now have to cancel another appointment and hope it won't take so long that my cancer will have returned or spread, if still present.
The only way I can afford to live off of my pension is to live in an underdeveloped country instead of the country I love so much and served honorably.