What to do when you're in Trouble

Unfortunately, holidays do not always tend to run as smoothly as we would ideally like. At some point in all our lives, the law of averages presupposes that something is likely to go wrong. These issues can be small, such as lost luggage, or something altogether more severe.

Here are a couple of the most common issues that people face when travelling abroad, along with a little advice as to how to solve them.

Flight delays, missed flights or cancellations

Unfortunately, flight problems are an inherent part of any kind of travel, especially when connecting flights are involved. If your flight is delayed or cancelled, the airline is obliged to find an alternative flight for you. The airline is, however, not obliged to ensure that the new flight in question is convenient for you, so this is where a little negotiation comes in. Airlines will often offer to put you on the next available flight, but if this flight is late at night, you may prefer a morning flight. In this situation, it is up to you and the airline to negotiate mutually acceptable terms regarding a hotel for the evening. Many airlines will offer a complementary room, but remember that they are not obliged to, so remain calm and polite at all times.

If you have missed a flight and it is due to a late connecting flight, roughly the same terms as above apply. If you miss your flight due to you own poor time keeping, however, things get a little more complicated. The first thing to do is visit the airlines counter, ensuring that you are honest and open with them. Accept fault for missing the flight and ask about your options. Many airlines will offer to put you onto the next available flight, for a fee. This fee is not always insignificant, but generally tends to pale into insignificance when compared to buying a new ticket there and then.

Lost or damaged luggage

Airlines handle thousands of bags of luggage each and every day. Even in an age of electronic tagging, therefore, it is still not uncommon for an airline to lose your bag or for your bag to incur some damage.

If your airline carrier puts your bag on the wrong flight, the first thing to do is to report the loss to an airline representative. Ensure that you fill in a lost luggage report and provide the representative with as much information about the lost luggage as possible, as well as an accurate forwarding address.

After the airline has found your luggage, they will generally deliver it to you, directly to your hotel door, at no cost. If the delivery takes more than 12 hours, your travel insurance should cover you for the purchasing of any necessities. Spend wisely, however, and always remember to check the small print, so that you do not end up out of pocket.

If your bag is damaged and you believe it to be the airlines fault, the same initial procedure should be followed. Report the damage to an airline representative in as much detail as possible, take pictures and report the damage to your insurance company. If the case is genuine, either your insurer or the airline will cover the costs of the damage, following an investigation. It may take a little time to resolve, but being patient in this scenario will help things proceed much more smoothly.

Stolen items

When you are on holiday, having items stolen is an occupational hazard. If your luggage, or a personal item, is stolen, it is important to act quickly.

Report the theft in question to the Police as soon as you possibly can, obtaining a written report from the authorities. You must then report the theft to your insurance company, along with giving them a reference number, provided by the Police.

In this scenario, providing the theft is legitimate, your insurance company will reimburse you for the replacement items that you are forced to purchase, up to an agreed limit. Remember that your insurance company are likely to want to see proof of ownership of the original stolen items, as well as records of purchase of the new items; be diligent and always keep your receipts.

Sustaining an injury

If the injury is severe, always proceed to the nearest hospital as quickly as possible to receive the required medical attention. Your insurance company will have an emergency telephone number that you, or one of your friends or family members, can call. The operator at the end of the telephone will handle your case by speaking to the doctors in the hospital to which you were admitted, your family and local doctor. This approach helps to ensure that you receive the appropriate and best medical care possible.

Urgent medical advice

If you have a pre-existing medical condition or fall ill while abroad, it can be a scary time. If you just need advice, or piece of mind, rather than urgent medical attention, your insurer will have an emergency number that you can call, to speak to a trained professional. The operator will be trained to deal with a wide range of scenarios and will be able to offer helpful advice or words of support, when you need it most.

Read more helpful travel tips in our travel advice!

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