Cancelled trip refund for medical emergency?

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Stuart
Stuart
5 posts
new member
Aug 22, 2017 - 12:35 PM

We arrived in Austria last Thursday ahead of our planned visit to Switzerland starting Sunday. Unfortunately, I suffered a heart attack shortly after arrival and I've spent the last 5 days in Vienna General Hospital. We will be flying back to the USA as soon as our travel insurer completes arrangements. Fortunately, the prognosis is excellent, but the Swiss visit isn't happening.

My questions:

1. We purchased Swiss Half Fare Cards and Bernese Oberland Passes. Is there an opportunity for refund for either?

2. We purchased reserved seats, but not tickets, for 2 Golden Pass trips. I assume these reservations are not refundable, but is it possible to cancel the reservations so that the seats are available to others, or will they just be made available when we don't show up?

Stuart

Lucas
Lucas
9868 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 22, 2017 - 3:04 PM in reply to Stuart

Hi Stuart,

I am very sorry to hear about your medical issue. Get better soon.

As far as refunds, every company has different policies but I would guess a partial refund would be possible at this stage.

I would first talk to your travel insurance as it was a medical emergency and they could get refunds for you. If that doesn't work you can contact the companies you bought the passes from directly and let them know about the situation. They may be amenable to refunding you but I wouldn't know how much myself.

I would contact MOB (http://www.mob.ch/en/h ome/contact/index) about canceling the seat reservations. It is definitely a nice gesture to others. :)

Lucas

Last modified on Aug 22, 2017 - 4:34 PM by Lucas
Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Aug 23, 2017 - 6:08 AM in reply to Stuart

Hi Stuart - hope you are recovering well :-)

>> is it possible to cancel the reservations so that the seats are available to others, or will they just be made available when we don't show up?

Reservations are indicated by an electronic display above the seat. About 20 minutes after departure from the station from which the seat was reserved, the light goes out. If the seat is not occupied at that point, it is free for anyone to sit in.

Alpenrose

Last modified on Aug 23, 2017 - 6:09 AM by Removed user
Lucas
Lucas
9868 posts
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Aug 23, 2017 - 6:32 AM in reply to Removed user

I always find that feature annoying...I've left my reserved seat for the restroom or restaurant car and someone took my seat once! I had to go to the trouble of showing tickets to get them to move.

Seemed odd to me..Is this just a Swiss thing? I'm sure in other countries the reserved sign stays on the while trip.

Lucas

Stuart
Stuart
5 posts
new member
Aug 23, 2017 - 4:03 PM

Half Fare Cards and BO Passes were purchased from SBB website. Cards were delivered electronically; Passes were mailed to our intended hotel in Zurich and are being held there for us until we get back to US and know what to do. I can't find information on SBB website about cancellation, but I'm doing all this on an iPad mini I have for travel.

Lucas
Lucas
9868 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 23, 2017 - 5:18 PM in reply to Stuart

Hi Stuart,

Yes, best to contact SBB directly and inform them about what happened. We have contact links on our web page here.

All the best!

Removed user
Removed user
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Aug 24, 2017 - 3:56 AM in reply to Lucas

Hi Lucas,

>> I always find that feature annoying...I've left my reserved seat for the restroom or restaurant car and someone took my seat once! I had to go to the trouble of showing tickets to get them to move.

Yes, that is a bit of a risk! I have developed a few tricks over the years of travelling on trains by myself in Europe! I time my visits to the loo and restaurant to avoid times when the train will be stopped at a station, and within the first 10 minutes or so after a stop. So that means I will be in my seat when people are boarding, or walking through the train looking for a seat. I also leave something of little value on my seat whenever I leave it, such as a bottle of drink, packet of tissues, snack bag etc - although that is just as much to help me recognise my seat again when I come back, as to discourage anyone else from sitting there!

There's another good reason for not being in the loo when a train pulls into a station, as I discovered earlier this year, when I was travelling with my son in Sweden. I came out of the loo, which was in the next carriage, just as the train stopped at a station. It turned out that the carriage where I had used the loo was uncoupled, and left behind at that station. Had I still been in the loo, I would have been left behind too, while my son and luggage proceeded on their way in the other half of the train!

I once experienced a little incident with reservations in the Bernina Express. An American couple boarded, stopped next to my seat, and asked me to move because I was sitting in their seat! I checked my reservation, and I had the correct seat. Theirs also had the same seat numbers, so at first I thought there must have been some sort of mix-up with the allocation of seats - but it turned out they were in the wrong carriage!

>> Seemed odd to me..Is this just a Swiss thing? I'm sure in other countries the reserved sign stays on the while trip.

On Deutsche Bahn it works the same way, but they only wait 15 minutes before releasing the seat! I'm not sure about Austria. The only time I ever tried to reserve a seat there (because I was travelling with luggage from Vienna to Innsbruck or Zürich), the ticket office staff in Vienna talked me out of it, saying it was unnecessary!

Something about reservations I used to wonder about was how you can make a reservation right up until just before the train leaves, without having to turf someone out of the seat, who might already have sat there before it was reserved. Then I discovered they keep some seats aside for last-minute reservations. These seats have "ggf freigeben" on the electronic display above the seat that shows reservation details. This is short for "Gegebenenfalls freigeben" (vacate if need be), which means that the seat will need to be surrendered if anyone turns up with a reservation for it.

Alpenrose

Lucas
Lucas
9868 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 24, 2017 - 8:06 AM in reply to Removed user

Yes, I've learned to stay in the seat when we are due to arrive in a station!

I swear the reserved seat light stays on on German trains but I could be wrong! I'll look for it next time.

That is a funny bathroom story - you really lucked out!

Removed user
Removed user
0 posts
new member
Aug 24, 2017 - 9:10 AM in reply to Lucas

>> I swear the reserved seat light stays on on German trains but I could be wrong! I'll look for it next time.

Yes, let us know! I have seen a lot of empty seats with lit electronic displays above them, for sectors the train hasn't arrived at yet. I've sometimes sat in those myself, if I was getting off before the station from which the reservation was due to take effect.

Alpenrose

Lucas
Lucas
9868 posts
expert &
moderator
Aug 24, 2017 - 1:19 PM in reply to Removed user

Yes I got wise to that "trick"! Many tourists (I did for sure at the beginning too) assume it is a no go if there is a light on above the seat but don't read the towns that the reservation it is for. :)

Last modified on Aug 24, 2017 - 1:19 PM by Lucas

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