It took nearly 14 weeks to settle a dispute in our favor with the tour company that took us to Bohemia in mid-May.

It was for reimbursement for two tickets we had to purchase to continue our flight from Frankfurt to Prague on Mother’s Day.

We contended they scheduled only fifty minutes between landing at the international gate to walk what seemed like a mile or more to the commuter gate; deplaning had taken at least ten of those minutes as our seats were the third row from the back of the Airbus.

Then we had to dodge a crowd of others trying to catch their flights, while an agent on a bicycle literally herded us to the commuter gates.

Upon arriving at the the gate printed on our boarding pass, we learned it was changed to four gates back, so we hurried  there as fast  as our elderly legs could take us, but by then they had closed the gate and we were denied boarding. We later learned from a friend on the same tour who said they took our bags off as we hadn’t boarded, and that, too, later was a problem when we did connect to Prague. I think they could’ve waited a few minutes for  us, but then a schedule is a schedule to the orderly Germans, but that is another story.

WE were stuck and to continue had to go to the Service Desk about how to get new tickets. The unsympathetic agent rudely told us “you should’ve looked at the departure board for your flight, ” a nearly impossible situation when one is in a hurry and there are many airlines going out at different times/gates. She informed us our tickets were with a group tour that didn’t entitle us to continue without purchasing new tickets. It’d cost us 75 euros apiece, but didn’t tell us we were on Standby till we lined up to board on the later flight.

We werent’ worried about the cost of the new purchase, however, as we had travel insurance that had clearly outlined, “Missed Flights reimbursement up to $750 each.”

When we finally arrived at the Prague Airport, our baggage was missing, and were told they’d send them to us later  when another flight could deliver them.

In the meanwhile, we asked a friendly  German businessman who was also at “Lost Baggage” if he’d help  us call the Prague hotel for a shuttle, but despite three attempts, the number given us would not connect. WE later learned at the hotel the number was WRONG.

Not being able to get the free shuttle that was part of the tour price, we engaged a taxi and paid  $35 plus $2 tip to the driver who calculated what we owed in dollars as we had not had a chance to exchange our dollars.

We filed a claim with the travel insurance company and quickly denied; they had a detailed list of what they would not pay, such as our case because we had not been delayed for twelve or more hours! We also learned their claim to easy reimbursement advertised in the travel brochure was almost impossible to collect.

So we then turned to the tour company with a letter documenting purchase of the new tickets and the taxi company used to shuttle us. A few weeks later an agent of the tour company called to tell me they’d reimburse us via crediting the purchase to our credit card. He assured me they were acting in good faith because the insurance company, which was part of the tour company wouldn’t.

After receiving two statements from the credit card company without the credit for the tickets of 150  Euros or $210 plus change in dollars, I wrote a follow up letter ranting that their promise was “empty” and their insurance worthless. I also sent a copy to the company president.

A new agent whom I shall call “Jack” called me about ten days later  the case was now in his hands and he’d do a follow-up. He said the first agent who’d promised me refunds had “forgotten” but I was to be assured in “ten business days” we’d be credited.

Finally, my bulldog efforts  paid off;  on the August statement  the credit was noted . The company never apologized but instead the businesss  manager wrote us  a letter they were granting a reimbursement “because of a quality issue.”

A popular consumer advocate emphasizes, “You gotta FIGHT BACK! or will be brushed aside, probably hoping the consumer will forget and not pursue the matter further.

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