Cancer survivor upset by airline’s ‘lack of humanity’

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A CANCER survivor has criticised the ‘inhumanity’ of an airline’s policies after she had to cancel her flights so she could recover.

June Hutchinson, 53, a teacher from Tangmere, was diagnosed with cancer on her birthday last May.

Thankfully she was treated and recovered well so when her doctor told her she should be well enough to fly in August, she and her husband Peter booked £620 flights to the South of France for late August.

They planned to stay at their friends’ farmhouse for a couple of weeks as they thought this would aid her recovery.

But by mid-August they realised she would not be well enough and had to cancel.

“They told us they don’t refund but under the circumstances we could book more flights with our money if we re-booked and flew within a year.”

The couple thought this was fair but they received a shock on Saturday when 
they tried to book more flights to the same destination, 
for this Easter.

June said: “The flights we found in Easter are about £360 so our assumption was that they would keep the difference and we would be able to book another time within the year, but we 
were told ‘no’.

“However if our flights had cost more than the original price, we would have to pay the difference.

“So you have to find flights that are the same price or more or you are losing out.

“There doesn’t seem to be any kind of humanity in this at all. If the circumstances are bereavement or severe illness, surely humanity should prevail.

“They should change their policy, it’s about all those other people who might not be up for the fight..”

The couple could not claim from their travel insurance either because of the fact they can re-book flights.

Peter said he was disappointed by the company’s policy when it came to bereavement.

“We are lucky June made a miraculous recovery,” 
he said.

“If June had died, they would have charged me £40 a leg for a name change.”

A Flybe spokesperson said it had agreed to increase the couple’s deadline by three weeks so that they had until the end of the summer holiday, to fly.

They said: “Along with 
the majority of other UK airlines, Flybe is a 
non-refundable airline.

“It is, however, Flybe’s policy to offer a re-use of tickets to customers in the unfortunate event of an illness or bereavement.

“Mrs Hutchinson has been offered the opportunity to 
re-use her tickets to a value of the original booking price. Should the new booking price exceed that of the original one, the difference would be charged.

“Passengers normally have 12 months to re-use the tickets but as a gesture of goodwill, Flybe has extended this offer until the end of this summer.”