No Refund: British Soldier Burned On Duty Denied By Travel Agency

Travel News — By Carlo Alcos on June 10, 2010 at 10:13 am

Rules are rules, but sometimes they need to be broken. British soldier Lance Sergeant David Hesketh was injured last month when a canister of insecticide exploded on his Army base in Afghanistan – he spent two weeks in the hospital recovering. He was burned badly, his injuries so severe that he cannot expose them to UV light for a year. He was set to return home on a two week leave where his wife, Heather, had planned a surprise 4-day getaway to Majorca on June 20.

Because of David’s injuries they had to cancel the trip. Problem is, the agency they booked through — Fleetway Travel — is refusing to refund them the money. The agency was contacted two days after the event and explained the situation; they did offer a partial refund as a goodwill gesture on the condition that an email was sent to them. By the time the couple sent the email, too much time had elapsed and Fleetway Travel withdrew their offer.

A company spokesman had this to say:

Whilst we genuinely sympathise with Mr Hesketh’s situation, we do encourage clients to take out travel insurance to cover any eventualities that may occur which prevents them from travelling. In line with our terms and conditions at this stage the cancellation fee is 100%. We would be happy to assist with the appropriate documentation if Mr Hesketh wishes to initiate a claim to recover his money through travel insurance. Finally, we wish Mr Hesketh a speedy and full recovery.

The article sparked a lot of debate in the comments section. While most seemed sympathetic to David’s situation, they agreed with the company (“that’s what insurance is for”). But many also called for boycotts of Fleetway Travel. Some pointed out how easy it would have been to just refund the 700 quid and avoid bad publicity.

What do you think?

[Image: Unlisted Sightings / Flickr]

Tags: army, Britain, majorca, refund, soldier, UK, vacation

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