How to handle some of travelling's most annoying problems
Published Friday, January 29, 2016 6:30AM EST
Whether dealing with a minor inconvenience or a major issue, travel has its challenges. When things don't go quite your way, what can you do? Here are the answers to some of travels most annoying dilemmas.
1) You show up at your hotel and your room is gone...what should you do?
Hopefully you have a confirmation number that you can show to argue your case. If the hotel has a room available they should be able to assist.
If the hotel is sold out, but your reservation exists then they should be finding you alternative accommodation and paying for it (including transportation to and from the new hotel)....at least until they can bring you back and honour the existing reservation. If there is no record of it on their side or yours then you are likely out of luck.
2) We have all heard about or experienced being stuck on the tarmac at an airport. What are your rights? What can you do in this situation?
The short answer is, it depends on what country you're in. The rules are different in Canada as compared to the US, and even more so in the U.K./Europe.
For Canada, the domestic tariff states:
"If the passenger is already on the aircraft when a delay occurs and it is safe and practical and there is adequate time to do so the Carrier will:
1) Offer drinks and snacks and
2) If the delay exceeds 90 minutes the aircraft will return to the gate to provide passengers with the option to disembark.
In addition, Canadian airlines signed on to Flight Rights Canada in 2009 which also has some specified minimums:
The key line however is: and it is safe and practical and there is adequate time to do so.
One thing that's very important to remember is that getting the aircraft back to the gate can be problematic.
If the delay means the plane is sitting on the tarmac waiting in a long line to take off, there's really no way to turn all those planes around and send them back to the gate. For one thing, there may not be a free gate to return to.
Don't forget that all this time, other planes may have been landing and now they're taking up the gates. As well, if you're heading back to the gate when your turn to take off comes up, you'll miss your turn and the delay will be even longer.
The same is true of serving food and drinks. If you were to start serving food and suddenly you had to start moving, it would take time to put everything away and again, you don't want to miss your slot to take off because you weren't ready.
It's harder than people think it is to properly manage an extended delay.
The most important thing for people is to pack their patience. The delay is almost always related to something that's happened at the airport you're at, or the airport you're heading to. It's not usually within the airline's control, but since people are sitting on an airplane, they want to blame the airline.
3) What do you if you lose or have your passport stolen?
In Canada, call the Passport Program at 1-800-567-6868 to report the circumstances of the loss or theft.
Outside of Canada report the loss or theft to the nearest Government of Canada office abroad. If your plan is to head home to Canada directly, they can usually turn around a temp. document for you in a day or two. But if you are planning to continue travelling you are likely subjected to the usual passport process….and it could take a week or ten days and will require a full new passport before you can carry on.
A replacement passport may be authorized if all requirements are met. These include the submission of:
1. A completed application form, signed by the guarantor:
2. Two identical passport photos, one of which is signed by the guarantor;
5. The appropriate fee (passport fee and replacement fee);
Before the passport can be replaced, Canadian authorities will conduct an investigation into the circumstances of the loss or theft. This may lead to delays in processing the replacement passport.
4) What do you do if you are arrested when travelling?
If you end up in custody because you have broken (or are accused of breaking) the laws of another country, you are subject to their judicial system.
Get a lawyer! Consular Services can provide you with a list of local lawyers but won't intervene in private legal matters, provide legal advice, post bail or get you out of prison.
5) What do you do if someone dies when you are travelling?
If someone dies while travelling abroad, register the death according to local regulations and get a local death certificate.
You will likely need a local death certificate in order to register the death back in Canada. Call a qualified funeral home in both Canada and the country where the death occurred. Both must be involved in returning the remains of a Canadian home.
Consular Services will not pay for the burial, cremation or repatriation costs of a deceased Canadian although they can provide advice and contact relatives.
The related expenses are the responsibility of the client or insurance company but the Department of Justice Canada may sometimes provide financial assistance to Canadians who are victims of violent crimes abroad through its Victims Fund.
6) What precautions should you take before you travel?
Prepare for the "worst."
Get full insurance, get appropriate vaccinations, leave the bling at home and pack your camera or iPod in a case that doesn't look expensive.
Leave a photo copy of your passport and credit cards with friends or family at home. It wll help expedite things if you need to replace them.
Carry your travel documents, policy number and emergency contact number for your insurance provider with you at all times. In order to receive a full reimbursement, you may be required to call the emergency contact before going to the hospital.
If you are booking your holiday through a tour operator or travel agent, use through the insurance provider they recommend. If you have trouble making a claim, a good agent will advocate on your behalf.
Carry with you the address of the Canadian consulate or embassy where you are traveling. Also bring the number of the Foreign Affairs 24 hour emergency centre. 1-800-267-6788 or 613-944-6788.