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Death and sickness is something we all are exposed to, and it is really a sad event particularly when one is far away or just ready to start a trip. The emotional stress is added to the potential money loss associated with non refundable portions of a trip. It is really important to stay calm, and to prepare a list of things to do.
If one is already on the road and the main priority is to get back home, call the airline and explain the situation. Most times travel companies are willing to help when it is a real serious problem.
Keep documentation and receipts of everything, and copies of e-mails, all these kind of documents are essential for claimings, reimbursements or waiving of fees. Try to get copies as soon as possible of death certificates or physcians certificates, these two documents are tremendously important and helpful.
Do you have travel insurance? Maybe the company you got the insurance policy from is the next one to call to see how you may be covered and to receive advice of the steps to follow. Sometimes these companies have a concierge service that may help you to reschedule your trip back home and will find hotels in case you need them.
Take a look and even give a call to the credit card companies you used to book the trip, now it is a common perk to have some kind of coverage for unforseen situations like death or sickenss of a family member, and most people are not even aware of such coverages. This is particularly true with premium credit cards.
Non refundable bookings may make an exception and refund you the money or issue some kind of credit for future use if you explain and show evidence of your situation.
Be honest with airlines, travel companies and hotels, explain to them the difficult moment you are going through and ask them to help you with reimbursements or waiving fees in a fast and painless manner.
The truth is that death and sickness is something that can affect anyone’s trip at any time, it is good to be prepared for that , but in general terms one should be able to recover whatever was already paid in such a particular circumstance.