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Well, that didn’t take long. My parents’ Lufthansa flight did get cancelled, just as I expected it would. I never even got any email notification on it. I knew that calling Lufthansa would be pointless. I’ve heard some people were put on hold for 7 hours, and got disconnected in the end.
So, I have reached out to Lufthansa on Twitter, and that got me nowhere. On to Facebook. Bingo! I sent Lufthansa an instant message and got connected to a ChatBot. After I put in my reservation code, I got an offer to be connected to LiveChat. Yes please.
The agent offered me several options to rebook. I wanted Air Canada, and he said it would be no problem. Right before he was about to process the change, I thought of something. I vaguely remembered that Canada requires a transit visa for certain nationalities. Cue Google search. Turns out, yes, my parents would need a visa, so this option was a no go. Canada, oh Canada! Why are you doing this to me?
The agent offered to book a flight on United from Tampa to Newark, Newark to Frankfurt, Frankfurt to Minsk (the last leg operated by Lufthansa). I had no option but to take it. So, now I’m waiting for that flight to get canceled as well, which I’m sure will be any minute. It looks like Lufthansa will still be operating some flights from US, so that’s comforting. What a rigamarole. Stay tuned…
Wow, just wow. As many of you have probably heard, president Trump made an announcement last night that all travelers from Europe (minus UK) will be banned from US for thirty days, starting at midnight on Friday. See details here
I saw some ominous signs throughout the day, but I really didn’t think it would come to that. I figured there may be a Level 2 alert for EU or something along those lines. But we live in unprecedented times, so it probably shouldn’t be a surprise.
For me personally, there are some serious ramifications I will need to consider. You see, right now my parents are here in US, and they happen to live in Europe. Their flight back to Belarus is supposed to leave next Saturday. It’s operated by Lufthansa, a German airline located in EU.
I haven’t yet seen any official announcements on the dedicated section of Lufthansa website, but it stands to reason that many upcoming flights to Europe will be cancelled. Will my parents be able to leave US as planned? I seriously doubt it.
I’ve tried calling Lufthansa, with no luck. The call gets disconnected each and every time, and Twitter team points folks to the website. So, at this moment I have no choice but to watch the status of the flight and hope for the best. I know many travelers from Germany will want to get home in the upcoming days. We may even have to cut the visit short, but that’s OK.
It doesn’t help that Lufthansa isn’t currently offering any refunds. Instead, this is the policy:
Rebooking will do us no good. Even if they start offering refunds, I’m not sure how this will play out. I’ve booked their flights with Terps credit card points, and I would rather not be stuck with them if at all possible.
As I’ve mentioned earlier, flights to/from UK won’t be affected (for now). So, if there is a Lufthansa cancellation, I may be able to go that route instead. I’ve noticed some very good prices on one-way flights to Belarus via UK:
There are two problems, however. First, my parents will have to go through notoriously long immigration check in LGW airport, collect their bags etc. They don’t speak English, so that’s an issue. Also, Norwegian airline is in a shaky financial state at the moment.
Obviously, beggars can’t be choosers. But at this point I’m inclined to wait and see what happens to the Lufthansa flight. Worst case scenario: my parents will spend an extra three weeks at our house. Both of them are retired, and their visas won’t expire until June.
My husband has been a very good sport about the whole thing, and said he doesn’t have an issue with them sticking around a “bit” longer. Maybe it won’t come to that, but it helps to think through the worst case scenario and make your peace with it.
It’s been quite a rollercoaster, but I’m trying to stay positive. It may surprise you when I say that I’m not upset about the travel ban itself. Obviously, I’m upset about potential ramifications for our specific situation, but this issue is bigger than me.
Also, while timing stinks, I’m still glad my parents are here. It’s not that easy to change my husband’s vacation schedule, and who knows how their health situation will be down the road. Plus, getting new visas to USA is not a simple/cheap task. It is what it is. We’ll make the best of it, regardless. I just hope my kids don’t kill each other while sharing one room for an extra week (weeks?)
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Leana is the founder of Miles For Family. She enjoys beach vacations and visiting her family in Europe. Originally from Belarus, Leana resides in central Florida with her husband and two children.