Does A Bora Bora Hotel Owe This Honeymooning Couple Anything?

Reader Aleks emailed to ask for advice regarding an issue she faced on her honeymoon in Bora Bora. I feel horribly about this situation, and I’m not sure what to make of it. Here’s her email:

To make a long story short, my husband and I booked a honeymoon to Moorea and Bora Bora. On our way from Moorea to Bora Bora, we made a quick stop in the island of Huahine (this is one of those small shuttle flights that picks up/drops off passengers at various islands). The plane breaks down. We are told to vacate the plane and wait in the airport for further information. After 10 hours in this airport (4 walls, no food, no water), they finally tell us they are sending another plane for us.

After some more waiting, we are told the winds in Bora Bora are too strong and the plane cannot land. The airport employees scrambled to find us accommodations for the night. We called our travel agent who was able to contact our hotel in Bora Bora, the St. Regis, and explain we will be arriving the following day. I don’t want to make this a saga and go into every detail but this was a completely miserable experience, especially knowing how much we were spending to stay in the St. Regis, and instead, staying in what was equivalent to a hostel.

We explained to the travel agency that we think we deserve a refund, or at the very least, some type of goodwill adjustment from the St. Regis for the night we missed. They answered saying the hotel would not offer any type of refund and we have to eat the cost. I am a long time Platinum Marriott/Starwood customer and am extremely surprised at this refusal. The St. Regis also explained that the hotel was not at full capacity when we checked in, so it is not like we were causing a loss of revenue for them.  Is there anything else I can do to fight this?

St-Regis-Bora-Bora-1

I followed up with Aleks about how the flights were booked. She explained that they booked both the flights and the hotel through a travel agency.

I’m conflicted on this one, which is why I’m opening it up — I’m curious what you guys think.

I of course see Aleks’ side. They paid a ton for their honeymoon, and through no fault of their own, they missed a night at the St. Regis. Not only did they miss a night, but it sounds like they had a miserable day, being stuck in an airport for 10 hours without food or drinks. Usually when things go wrong people ask for advice about what they could have done differently, and in this case I don’t think there’s anything they could have done differently — it’s just an all around crappy situation.

At the same time, I sort of see the hotel’s side. It wasn’t their fault that the plane broke down. Should they give up a night worth of revenue because of something outside of their control?

But this isn’t really the same as if you’re flying to a major city and you have issues with your flight. The only practical way to get to Bora Bora is by plane, and there’s only a single airline flying there. The hotel’s business is contingent upon people being able to get there on that airline in a timely manner. It sounds like Aleks flew early in the day, so it’s not like she planned some crazy short connection, or booked the last flight of the night. She was being cautious.

So I guess my opinion is that the hotel should offer something, even if it’s just as a gesture. Is it reasonable to expect the hotel to refund the total cost of the night? No, I don’t think so, because like I said, this was outside of their control. At the same time, I think either a further room upgrade, some sort of food & beverage credit, some points, or a percentage of the rate for one night, would be a nice gesture to make.

What do you guys think — does the hotel owe Aleks anything, or at a minimum, is making some gesture the right thing to do? Or is this just a case of “tough luck?”

Comments

  1. Why isn’t she taking it up with the airline? The only one at fault here is the airline. They should pay.

  2. Unfortunately, regardless of the situation (work travel, honeymoon, regular weekend trip, etc.), it’s not unheard of for a flight delay or cancellation to cause one to arrive at their destination a day late, and I wouldn’t expect for a hotel to do anything about it. This is actually a time where travel insurance might have been a good idea, especially in light of the fact that they were spending a lot of money on the trip. Perhaps they should look into the credit card they used to pay for the trip and see if it comes with any coverage?

  3. Isn’t this what travel insurance is for? Why would anyone reasonably think that the St. Regis owes them anything?

  4. This can’t be the first time a flight has been cancelled to arrive in Bora Bora? I would want to know St. Regis’ policy when it’s weather related.

    I agree with Luis as well, St. Regis shouldn’t lose revenue because the airline screwed up.

  5. Exactly….Get some travel insurance! The hotel isn’t a charity. Spending tens of thousands on a holiday yet getting no travel insurance is just asking for trouble.

  6. Travel insurance is a good idea. I like your idea of providing a room upgrade and/or a food/beverage/spa credit, after all it’s their honeymoon. At least that is something the hotel can easily accommodate and maintain goodwill with a Diamond member. The last thing the hotel wants is to have guests tell this story for the next few decades. Turn lemons into lemonade.

  7. This is definitely where you need travel insurance. I would also ask the plane operation for a refund for the situation

  8. This Problem also happens often at the Maldives.
    When your resort is only reachable with a seaplane.

    If your flight to Male is delayed and its already dark outside,the waterplane are not allowed to fly.
    You then have to go to Male Island for the first night.

    Of course its not the Hotels problem, its out of their control.

  9. Travel insurance would not cover it. I was in a similar situation and had two separate coverages, and none covered it. Travel insurance would cover extra unforeseen expenses in case of flight delay or cancellation (like extra unplanned night, etc), but it would NOT cover a cost of lost night at a hotel.

  10. If it were a situation like in the Maldives, where the hotel books the airfare and the guests pay the hotel, then I can see the argument.

    In this case though, it seems like this should be covered by travel insurance, or the airline, or dealt with by the agency that booked the package. Not sure how the hotel is even involved, honestly.

  11. St. Regis should only pay if they planned the shuttle for her, which I doubt they did. It simply was not their fault she did not show up on time. She should check to see if her credit card has some form of travel protection.
    Somewhat related: I booked a ferry from Thailand to Malaysia with my Citi card. The ferry got cancelled due to bad weather and my wife and I had to stay an extra in Thailand. Our hotel in Malaysia we were supposed to be at would not refund us the first night. I called Citi when we got back home and they credited us the extra hotel night in Thailand and some meals. It wasn’t much, this was Thailand after all.

  12. If the plane was a transfer that was paid for through the hotel, then yes, I would expect the hotel to do something.

    Otherwise, like others have said, travel insurance should have covered this. I know this is something a Sapphire or equivalent would cover. The caveat is that I would think the St. Regis would do something, but are by no means required to.

  13. Hindsight is 20/20, so they should have had travel insurance. That’s not an option at this point in time, but the hotel doesn’t owe them anything. Sadly, I think they are out of luck…

    Make the most of a lousy situation and spin that into a story to regale your grandchildren with down the road…

  14. While the mechanical delay is within the airline’s control, the inability to land at Bora Bora is outside of anyone’s control. Even if the mechanical delay did not occur, there is no guarantee that the plane would have landed on-time at Bora Bora or whether it would have been able to land at all. The ultimate cause of the missed night in Bora Bora was due to weather. The St. Regis owes her nothing, though they certainly could have offered some sort of goodwill adjustment.

    The argument against the airline is weak, at best. She can certainly file a complaint with the airline, but it likely won’t get anywhere. Hidden in the fine print of the carrier’s Conditions of Contract is wording to the affect that schedules are not guaranteed and the carrier is not liable for any costs incurred for the carrier’s inability to operate as scheduled.

    It’s incidents like this that reaffirm the need to purchase travel insurance; especially for an expensive vacation like this.

  15. As a tour operator, is not St. Regis fault, any kind of compensation should be requested to your airline. Your experience, to the hotel maybe their point of view, is your night is under “no show”, no compesation, remember your situation, to the travel industry point of view, is daily bread or something they deal most of the time.

  16. Not the Hotels fault, expecting anything from them is unreasonable.

    Pursue the Airline or a claim through travel insurance….taking a trip like that without insurance would be a little crazy surely.

  17. Hotel has nothing to do with her issue. If they had to reimburse something this would create a huge problem where then any passenger can not show up at the hotel and blame it on a taxi driver, flat tire, sick relative, etc… Agree with Tiffany that this would be very different if the air transfer had been scheduled with the hotel. Sorry but unless she gets a compensation from the airline, a credit card used to book the trip or has travel insurance she will have to take the cost of a missed night.

  18. While I don’t think the hotel has a responsibility to credit them the one night, the hotel missed the mark on this. Hotels are in the “hospitality” industry and thrive on good reviews, customer feedback and long standing relationships with those customers (i.e. Lucky and Starwood & Hyatt). Starwood/St. Regis from a business/marketing standpoint should have realized this women’s business over her lifetime is worth way more to them than a $1,000/night room. Let alone the potential for negative reviews. No, they don’t owe her anything, but they could have kept her business for the next 40-50 years for the rather cheap price of one nights stay. Starwood/Marriott’s loss is Hyatt or Hiltons gain.

  19. I feel for them, but honestly, I don’t see this as the hotel’s problem. This should be taken up with the travel agency. Ideally, they had insurance, too, in which case they should file a claim.

    That said, this was a honeymoon and clearly out of their control. I think there’s justification for the hotel to provide some token of goodwill.

  20. Money grubbing hotel. Would not surprise one bit if Donald Trump is an investor in this hotel, because it fleeces people.

  21. Travel insurance?? As @echino said, most insurance policies wouldn’t cover anything!!

    The couple didn’t incur any additional expense (it appears that the lodging in Huahine was paid for by the airline), so there’s nothing cover. And even then the typical daily maximum is $150 per person for the reasonable additional expenses, a fraction of the cost.

    Life has risks. Those are yours. Nice try to pawn them on an innocent business, so we can all pay higher rates.

  22. Back when we were a bit more naive and didn’t plan for travel insurance, a similar thing happened.

    We flew KUL -> MLE and the Malaysian pilot no-showed. Ended up missing the connecting flight in Male to transfer to the PH Maldives. Given the choice of sleeping in the airport – for those of you that have been there, it’s only half air conditioned, we ended up paying ~$500 for a random hotel in Male (that was the cheapest I could find that was 3.5 stars reviewed and above on Tripadvisor).

    PH Maldives did charge us for the night that we missed, about the only thing not 5 star about the property.

  23. If I were the hotel I would have comp’d dinner or drinks, but that’s the extent of it.. Not their fault, but I’d still want to try and do something to help out.

    We’ve had good luck with hotels doing that stuff, we had a flight cancelled to Auckland on AA, couldn’t get us in for 2 days so we called trip and vain and let the hotels know.

    They both refunded prepaid reservations and now on our trip coming up back to Auckland we made sure to stay at those hotels.

  24. Hotel not at fault,its not a charity,spending all this money and having an insurance is quite stupid.

  25. I do get a sense of entitlement here – whether this is due to age or merely because it’s a honeymoon I don’t know. Anyway it has nothing to do with the hotel whatsoever. The “honeymooners” had a contract with the hotel which the hotel did not breach. Travel going completely smoothly can never be guaranteed, especially when adding in less mainstream options like small island flights etc. The out of the ordinary is part of the trip after all. Clearly the OP’s complaint was partially having to sleep in a hostel when they were paying for the St. Regis. I think anyone would feel aggrieved at their bad luck but I don’t see how this was the hotel’s responsibility in any way.

  26. Why do people say travel insurance wouldn’t cover anything? You can get a travel policy written to cover such things, you just have to go through an agent who knows how to do it. For a trip over $10,000, it is probably worth it.

  27. I guess they booked some kind of prepaid rate, or called after the stated cancellation time? I mean, it’s not the hotel’s fault, the booking terms are the terms. I have credit cards that offer travel insurance for a reason, which would’ve stepped in here.

    I’m always surprised by people who make travel plans without considering contingencies, I was thinking about this scenario when I went to Vieques in PR (only access is ferry and plane), and booking some activities. I risked it anyway, and booked a pre-paid biobay tour and some other things, but I’d not expect the vendors to refund me if I didn’t make it to the island on time.

  28. Hahaha
    You gotta laugh at the idiots for not having insurance especially a complex flight itinerary like that, island hoping.
    Anyway they deserve nothing purely for being stupid!
    American???

  29. Agreed with the others re: the hotel’s responsibility – none.

    But, out of curiosity, what would travel insurance cover in this case? Specifically, I’m thinking of the credit card insurances (Sapphire Preferred/Reserve, Amex Plat, Citi Prestige, etc.) rather than a separately purchased policy. Would it only cover additional expenses (which I’m guessing were zero, since the airline presumably paid for the hostel), or would it provide some reimbursement of the costs of the originally booked hotel?

  30. Your bad luck has nothing to do with the st. Regis. Look at it this way, would you have tried to get a refund from St. Regis if your initial flight to Haiti was cancelled? You’d likely complain to the airline, not your hotel that doesn’t control planes, mechanical issues or weather.

  31. I hat the notion that hotels have to give something away (even when not their fault) because they may get a bad review. Tripadvisor has ruined hotels bottom line. They are scared to get a bad review so they throw money at the problem. I prefer when a hotel GM writes a response with details about the interaction so I can make a decision based on both facts.

  32. If hotels issued refunds in these situations, there would be no point in getting travel insurance. Travel insurance exists for precisely this reason.
    Personally I never get travel insurance (for cancellations, I always have medical), since my hotels are never that expensive and I can afford to lose a night. But I won’t complain to the hotel when that happens.

  33. Oh, please.

    First, I don’t know that St. Regis owes them anything, but they might consider doing something for a platinum.

    But all of this Monday morning quarterbacking about travel insurance is inane. At bottom, if travel insurance is going to provide any decent coverages, it has to be expensive – carriers cannot operate otherwise. Don’t squander money on travel insurance. Rather, spend money on avoiding perils, not on recovering losses.

  34. Check to see if the card she paid with has trip delay reimbursement. That worked for me in a similar situation and my Sapphire Preferred card reimbusred me for hotel and food up to $500 per person.

  35. Definitely not a refund. This is definitely an opportunity for St Regis to provide a customer who had a bad experience a good one. Though its not the hotels fault they could offer a Spa credit or do something to make a Platinum customer happy for their troubles. Losing a 1000 sucks, but St Regis could of made it suck less. This person stays at a lot of SPG properties and SPG should of stepped in here to try and make the customer happier.

  36. Last time my flight got cancelled because of flight attendants going on strike. I was rebooked on a flight the next day and was able to get refund for the night I missed. For reference the hotel was Le Meridien QingDao (China).

  37. I dont see how the hotel is at fault here. Why is this any different than me missing a stay at the motel 6 in Cleveland because my flight was cancelled?

    Perhaps the St. Regis could be nice and make a gesture of a free bottle of champagne, room upgrade or something like that. But just because they’re a $1,000 a night hotel it doesnt mean they’re any more at fault.

    Also, while I rarely use trip insurance, i’d think a honeymoon trip that easily ran $10k+ is a time I’d consider it. (In fact, the only time i bought trip insurance was for my honeymoon to Argentina and Uruguay with lots of flights, a cruise and a couple very lux hotels)

  38. Simple. Was travel insurance purchased? Yes – contact insurance company. No – you’re out of luck.

  39. It’s the airline that owes them. Saying, “Oh, why didn’t they have travel insurance?” is easy on hindsight, but I’ve never known anyone who’s bought it. It’s too damn expensive and rarely used.
    This is 100% the fault of the airline.

  40. Hey Ben:

    This post inspired me to make a suggestion on expanding the variety of your posts, employing your knowledge and experience of the travel industry, and leveraging your large following. How about offering up a regular ‘ombudsman’ column. I know Conde Nast Traveler used to have one, and it was fascinating. They took traveler issues (like the one you shared here), and contacted the travel service provider on behalf of the reader who shared their negatively eventful travel experiences. Most often, due to the influence and audience of Conde Nast (I’m guessing), and to avoid negative PR, some accommodation is typically found.

    I think you’d be great in this role. Help people, and create new content (the travel service vendor also gets PR – assuming they resolve the issue well).

    Just an idea, one I’d love to see regularly.

    Seattle Eric

  41. Certainly feel for the distressed travel situation, but as said before, travel has risks. People act as though it doesn’t. Why don’t people buy additional travel insurance? Because they don’t think anything will go wrong, and they don’t want to spend the money. Why don’t people, when buying a used car, spend $100-$200 on an inspection? Because they hope nothing is wrong (with a car someone else no longer wants), and don’t want to spend the money. And then when something does go wrong, everyone tries to find a culpable party. Bottom line? Travel is not going to be an activity where you can extract 100% of the value out of the money spent. Wonderful beach vacations sometimes have rainy weather. Oh well. Ski vacations sometimes have little snow. Too bad. Nobody is at fault, but accepting you get MOST of your vacation/value, and not 100%, usually has most folks less upset.

    If I were the hotel, and I knew that my guest had a bad start to their vacation, I’d offer something of value to the guest that had little to no cost to my hotel as a sign of good faith. Hotel not full? If possible, upgrade the room. Costs nothing. Spa not busy? Offer free treatments if practical. Simply showing that you empathize with the situation is always a great first step.

  42. Why would a hotel compensate for an unrelated cancelled flight?? Their standard no-show policies would apply. The reasons for it are irrelevant.
    If you dont have travel insurance for an expensive honeymoon to an exotic location you are insane.

  43. FYI: Most travel cards provide trip insurance automatically, so check the card you used to book the flights/hotels and see if it’s covered. To the guy above that said not to waste your money on trip insurance, a) that may work for you but it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea for others to skip and b) most of us on this blog have free trip insurance through our CCs, so having coverage doesn’t mean you had to pay for coverage.

  44. Are we so sure that a credit card’s travel insurance coverage would not cover this situation?

    For example, the Chase Sapphire Reserve’s coverage seems to cover:

    “Severe weather that prevents the start or continuation a covered trip”

    Couldn’t the argument be made that winds strong enough to prevent a plane from landing counts as severe weather?

    And the coverage seems like it would reimburse:

    “Reimbursement can be provided for pre-paid, non-refundable travel expenses including passenger fares, tours and hotels.”

  45. I agree with the others that it’s not the hotel’s fault and the hotel doesn’t owe them anything.
    I’ve been to Tahiti and I definitely know there are nonstop flights on Air Tahiti from Moorea and Bora Bora so I’m not sure why the honeymoon couple didn’t take that one. If there’s a lesson to be learned here, perhaps they should have taken the nonstop flight instead of the one that had to stop at Huahine.

    Given St Regis is a 5* hotel, they perhaps could have handled this better by advising her to check her travel insurance policy or perhaps ensuring the remainder of her stay is enjoyable via a spa credit or buffet credit.

    Hindsight is also 20/20. After all, perhaps they should be thanking the airline that it took the proper safety precautions to fix the plane and not fly due to the winds in Bora Bora. Had that plane flown, who knows what would have happened..

  46. More surprising is why they chose the Air Tahiti flight that makes a stop in Huahine. There are two nonstop flights from Moorea to Bora Bora every day, and the pricing is almost exactly the same.

  47. they cant expect everything goes by their plan in travel or in life. they choose a far away place from their home, have to endure whatever their decision is. sorry about their experience, but life is not a story book. if they are taught to expect that it’s an awakening now, I dont think St Regis need to do anything at all.

  48. I see both sides, I think the hotel should offer some type of gesture of goodwill for what sounds like a long term customer.

    But I also agree this is what travel insurance is for. Our standard plan is if we’re spending over $1000 dollars in the US on a trip or traveling any place outside of the US we get travel insurance. The $50 to $150 bucks it costs is well worth it. Especially going to a place like French Polynesia. What if you have to be medically evacuated from a place like that? You’re looking at 10s of thousands of dollars. It’s not worth the risk.

  49. I think it depends how the holiday was sold to them. Had they purchased the flights and hotel separately, whether direct or through a travel agency, they would have no recourse on anyone other than their travel insurance if such an incident was covered. However, if they purchased a package holiday from a travel agent which was all inclusive of flights and hotel, I believe the travel agency may be liable as they did not provide the level of accommodation that was promised.

  50. Definitely “no” regarding the hotel owing the guest a refund. I don’t see how they did anything wrong, unless as Tiffany noted this was an air package booked through the hotel. I do think this still qualifies as a service failure, though, in the sense that the hotel could have offered something like a food & beverage credit, spa credit, etc.

    All this being said, for everyone suggesting travel insurance, while I agree a trip of this magnitude should be insured, I don’t know that it would have actually helped here. Looking at my Citi Prestige benefits as an example, trip “interruption” coverage includes severe weather which causes a delay in reaching the intended destination by more than 24 hours. That coverage includes no-show fees or prepaid deposits, to a max of $5,000. Trip “delay” includes common carrier delays of most kinds of more than 3 hours, but is limited to $500, and includes “lodging” (not further defined), “ground transportation”, “meals”, and “personal or business necessities”. I could see the insurance company claiming that this situation falls in a no-man’s land. It’s not an “interruption” because the weather itself didn’t delay the trip by more than 24 hours. Therefore, it’s a “delay”, but “lodging” doesn’t specifically include forfeited deposits. The traveler may ultimately end up winning, but it’s not a slam dunk, and may entail a lot of time spent in arguing the interpretation of the T&Cs.

  51. Lucky,

    If you could answer the travel insurance question, that would be great. I was reading through the CC travel insurance section and I’d be very curious to hear what exactly would be covered and how difficult it was to get reimbursed. For those above talking about a custom travel insurance policy – what are the costs and caveats to that?

    As for the hotel, dinner and drinks would be a good way to take the sting out. The risk for the hotel is that too many people have such a rough time getting there they start to badmouth the experience.

  52. Definitely not the hotel’s responsibility. And in this case they are not likely to get anything from Air Tahiti as they are a pretty rinky-dink intra-island airline. Travel insurance is probably their only alternative.

    I too lost a day and a half in an overwater bungalow in Bora Bora due to a misconnect in Los Angeles. Had to pay out of pocket for an overnight at a sketchy hotel near the airport in Tahiti and fly standby the next day for the intra-island. None of the airports in French Polynesia are fun places to hang out!

    Did not ask the hotel for compensation. We were just happy they didn’t completely cancel our reservation!

    Fortunately for me, the misconnect was caused by AA who issued an apology in the form of money towards future AA flights. I still would have rather had that extra day and a half in Bora Bora!

  53. It sounds like she’s just trying to milk the hotel for as much as she can. Why should the hotel offer her compensation because another companies plane was unable to take her to the island. It’s not the hotels fault at all. She should be taking this up with the airline. And did she seriously travel to a random island in the middle of nowhere without insurance. Doesn’t seem like the smartest thing to do

  54. You feel horrible, not horribly. Feeling horribly would mean that you have a diminished sense of touch. I knew someone with scar tissue on her fingertips due to burns, and we often said she could never go blind because she wouldn’t have the sensitivity in her fingers needed to read braille. She was an example of someone who felt horribly.

  55. I could see the insurance company claiming that this situation falls in a no-man’s land.

    I could also see that. The only time I’ve ever used any sort of CC insurance was on extended warranty protection and it turned out the outsourced insurance/claims processor makes it so difficult and time consuming it’s just not worth pursing.

  56. Back in Nov 2013 my wife and I were in Thailand and because of the system that the Typhoon Haiyan created also in the Andaman see region the ferry we caught from Ao Nang to Phi Phi literally almost sunk – there were dozen of longtails that sunk and even a ferry sunk with no people inside. It returned to the Pier in Ao Nang and all ferries to and from Phi Phi got canceller that day. Our plans at that time were to spend a night in a sleepaboard at the Maya Bay and than 3 nights at the Zeavola, but soon after returning to the pier in Ao Nang I received an email from the sleepaboard that it was cancelled. I called hotels.com saying we were really traumatized and because of the people stranded we reasoned that the next day it would be a complete mess getting to and from Phi Phi and that we decided to go to Singapore instead and after waiting for 15 minutes they told me that I’d receive at least 1 night back.
    A few days later when we were still in Singapore I received an email both from Hotels.com and from the Zeavola resort that they would pay us back all 3 nights. Both could have play the card that it was not their fault and that I would have to “eat the cost”; however, people could not get into or out of Phi Phi, and I kind of see the same situation here in the Bora Bora situation, St Regis definitely had people who could not leave the Island that day.
    Our result with Phi Phi is that later in Feb 2015 we returned to Thailand and stayed 4 nights at Zeavola and highly praise it for whoever asks me about Thailand or other destinations!

  57. I had pre-paid a 3 (consecutive) night stay at St-Regis in Rome a few years ago.
    For reasons outside of the discussion, I could not reach Rome on the expected night of arrival.
    St-Regis did not refund me the ‘unused’ night but they provided me the equivalent amount in ‘credit’ to use during my stay for room service, diner etc…

    In the case of the honeymooners, St Regis Bora-Bora could have made a similar gesture.

  58. The hotel doesn’t owe them, but that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t make some effort to show some compassion. What level that compassion is, is not easy to define, but doing nothing is pretty cold.

    Last year, I had weather delays that left me stranded in BWI for a night, so I was unable to reach the Doubletree I had reserved on points in PWM. I tried to call the hotel, but it was already well after the cancellation time and it seems they were having telephone issues so I could not get thru. The next day, I PM’d HHonors and explained the problem. They advised it was up to the hotel and forwarded the message to them. The hotel refunded all my points.

    They didn’t have to. They did not owe me. It wasn’t their fault.

    But I can tell you I think they did the right thing and it will affect my choices in the future. They don’t know that I go to PWM at least once a year. But they did the right thing and by doing the right thing, they will more than recoup the lost, one night revenue.

    Moral of the story………….don’t do it because you have to………….do it because it is right. Usually you come out ahead. True for individuals. True for business.

  59. The hotel is not at fault but as a platinum member they definitely should have reached out and offered something as a token gesture.That’s just customer service to a great customer.
    As far as the airline is concerned I think it’s crazy that they only had one flight. Couldn’t they have dispatched another plane? That’s just horrible customer service. They need some competition. In addition to that, after a few hours shouldn’t you accommodate people in some way with water or food at least? That’s totally inexcusable and makes me think twice about going to Tahiti again.
    Hopefully the rest of their trip went well.

  60. It seems as the verdict is in.
    The vast majority of commentators feel that the hotel owes this couple nothing. I agree. Though I don’t buy trip insurance typically, this is what it is for.

  61. IMO, The hotel should have offered something (room upgrade, resort credit, etc). Totally agree that they should refund the full night but something to help their guests offset a terrible night. Especially for a long time top tier elite.

  62. Given their Platinum Status (SPG?) the hotel could easily have come up with some sort of recognition of their failure to show being absolutely no fault of their own. A “Loyalty Program” should, after all, be a two way street, no? Correct, the hotel lost a night of revenue. But if the customer had a way to foretell they would need to shorten their stay by one night and had so informed the hotel in advance, the net impact on the hotel would have been exactly the same whether they’d had advance notice or not. Clincher is that the hotel was not full and, therefore, suffered no loss of revenue based on not being able to re-rent their room.

    Enlightened management would have commiserated with the unfortunate couple instead of turning a deaf ear.

  63. I’ve been delayed a day or more several times going and coming from Europe in the past 13 years. I’ve never been covered by travel insurance (due to many exclusions) but have had some luck collecting from the airlines. And I’ve never had a hotel refund the missed night. I would love to hear the details of the insurance or card(s) which would cover everything, without all the exclusions.

  64. We had a situation over Christmas a few years ago when going to stay at Reid’s (Belmond) Hotel in Madeira our Easyjet flight from Gatwick to Funchal was cancelled because of strong winds in
    Madeira (not an unusual experience at that airport). I called the hotel to advise them we would be a day
    late and when I checked out I was delighted to see that we had not been charged for the first night even
    though I know because of the Christmas holidays the hotel was at full capacity.
    Guess Belmond is more generous than St Regis !

  65. There is one assumption continually made in the posts, Aleks didn’t have travel insurance. At no point in Lucky’s post does he say Aleks didn’t have travel insurance.

    I agree that the hotel could have made some sort of goodwill gesture, an upgrade of room if it was available, a meal, some drinks – but something.

    The airline is the one at fault, not the hotel. What, other than some accommodation that was much downgraded to what Aleks had paid for did the airline do for Aleks. They are the one that needs to make due recompense.

  66. UUUGGGHGHHHHH People like this should never leave their home. Ever. Because when things go off plan it is everyone’s fault and when you point out 1. you could have gotten insurance 2. things happen and, most importantly, 3. you are acting like an entitled whining witch. Nothing moves people less to help you than pointing out how ‘important’ you are because of your status. Snowflake – get over it, you had shelter and were safe. Your poor spouse though, omg, imagine listening to this for the rest of your life?

    There is a site for travel issues that I used to read until I got sick of the person running it (Elliott) always taking these whiner’s side and never understanding that people are responsible to take care of themselves. You don’t want to deal with consequences that happen with travel, then stay home.

  67. The key word here is “owe”. All the hotel “owes” is what was paid for. If you miss a Broadway show, they don’t refund your ticket because your flight was delayed. Why should the hotel be different? The airline should be making restitution, and perhaps insurance would have helped. Could the hotel do something nice for her? Absolutely! But it doesn’t “owe” her anything.

  68. Over twenty years ago we were going for the first time to Curtain Bluff in Antigua for my husband’s 40th birthday. A winter storm in NYC caused us to miss our connection in San Juan and we spent his actual birthday at a horrible hotel in Puerto Rico. We called Curtain Bluff and let them know we would be a day late. They said, “don’t worry; the room is yours.” We were not sure how the missed night would be handled, but when we checked out, we were not charged for our first (missed) night. We have been back to Curtain Bluff over 25 times now, and that first generous stay gets a lot of credit for our continued loyalty.

  69. It’s about unanimous that they evidently DECLINED to purchase insurance acknowledging they would be responsible for issues related to the travel delays, missing luggage, medical issues while out-of-the country. If they had arrived at the hotel and there had been no room available, then the hotel would certainly be responsible for (their) mistake. Travel insurance—–DON”T leave home without it

    Lastly, It took me a few minutes to stop laughing at the silliness of the writer who took opportunity to make it the “Donald’s” fault. Had it been Donald Trump’s hotel, he probably would have paid their hotel bill!

  70. The fault is with the airline and the couple plain and simple. This couple chose to stop in Huahine, they were not forced at gunpoint to go there. A mechanical problem and weather is not the responsibility of hotel. Unless….. the airline was under direct contract of the hotel but, as I read this it does not appear to be the case, nor does the St. Regis have a contract with Mother Nature and the weather commitments for fair weather during that time period, thus putting Mother Nature in Breach of Contract. @Chris I agree, the term “owe” with regard to the St. Regis is only for what was paid for, nothing more, nothing less. The fact that this couple feel they are “owed” by the hotel is so millennial it is a bit cliché. They deviated from a direct flight so it is their fault, not the hotel, Platinum Status or not – how does being a Platinum even come into play here? While the St. Regis has the loins share of the revenue/outlay of cash for this trip they should bear no brunt of the burden here. Given the weather and the mechanical nature of this interruption the responsibility goes to the airline and the couple and that is the end of it.

  71. 1. The situation sucks for her, no doubt about it. Unfortunately, these things happen. Everyone’s got a bad luck travel story, and this is hers.

    2. To all the people saying “travel insurance won’t cover this” – wrong. The free insurance you get with your credit card may not cover it, but you can get better insurance that will cover this (as Ari pointed out). The problem is it costs more, and most people aren’t willing to pay for it.

    3. My own experience – Amex Gold and Platinum insurance is great, both for travel and purchases. I put travel on my Amex even if I value their points less because I know their customer service will help me out in a pinch.

    4. To all the people saying “the hotel should have refunded her because she’s an elite member” – why? This is the St. Regis Bora Bora. Their guests come in two types – those wealthy enough not to care about the lost night, and those coming for a once-in-a-lifetime trip. She’s in the latter group. As the owner/manager of the St. Regis, why would I give up $1,000 worth of revenue to make sure someone I’ll never see again stays brand-loyal and chooses the Courtyard instead of the Garden Inn when she’s in Tulsa? The interests of the property and the interests of the brand are in conflict here. Sure, toss her a free meal or an upgrade if it’s available, but no way is she getting a refund.

    5. @Scott – LOL.

    6. I agree with John and others. This would have been a much more useful post if Lucky had taken the opportunity to talk about insurance coverage/options instead of just posting one random person’s bad luck story. Lost opportunity to slip in some credit card referral links too!

  72. As a former travel agency owner, the agency may have some responsibility. The hotel clearly is not liability although some goodwill token would make good business sense. The airline contract absolves them of financial responsibility. The travel agency should have offered or encouraged travel insurance which if the correct policy is purchased would mitigated some of the loss. If the agency did not at least suggest insurance they must accept some responsibility as the packager of the vacation, depending on the terms and conditions of their services. In the agency I owed we always offered travel insurance specifically to relieve us of any real or perceived liability for situations like this. If the agency offered insurance and it was declined then the traveler must accept the consequences of their decision.

  73. I’m guessing this is not a widespread problem otherwise this would have happened often enough for the hotel to intervene in some way. I think it sucks when your travel plan is jacked up but traveler’s can’t expect someone else to pay for other businesses’ mistakes. The travelers sound like they went through a travel agency to handle it all and is assuming that it all falls into one package. But it sounds like the St. Regis was booked separately from the air transport. If this was a St. Regis package of some form then I think the hotel should do something about it. But if it’s separate then they shouldn’t have to do anything. However, if I was the hotel and I recognize that you have spent a lot of money at my hotels then I would do something for you. Its not clear if this is the case besides the fact that she is a platinum member which doesn’t automatically mean she spent a lot of money at the hotel. If I was her and I were to fight this in a court I would go after the airline and the travel agency. But ultimately I don’t think anyone beyond the airline is at fault because they delayed this by 10 hours with mechanical issue which is their own fault. The second plane not being able to fly because of weather is just unfortunate that could have been avoided if another plane was on hand earlier.

  74. Actually, it is simple. This is exactly why one buys comprehensive travel insurance. And, should one not want to pay the premium, one becomes the insurance company and assumes the risks.

    Sorry, life is unfair, but compensation is the reason one buys insurance; blaming others, and trying to shift the financial burden onto them because you failed to buy coverage is not remotely reasonable.

  75. I agree with all the posters saying Travel Insurance! Or pursue compensation from airline or cc used to book flight. I get travel insurance for all trips AND use a cc that has travel ins benefits, to cover all my bases. Peace of mind. Even paid $75 in ins for a trip that’s costing me nothing: award flights and award hotel. Because stuff happens. I was caught in the DL computer “glitch” in August and had travel ins, along with additional ins via cc. Got hotel, meals, change of clothes for 2 all covered and reimbursed. Worth the $68 I paid for the insurance.

  76. I agree with others here, while sympathetic to the distress suffered, that unless the hotel has organised the flights, the hotel bears no responsibility nor liability for delays suffered.

    As others have mentioned, given the disproportionately small cost of travel insurance, to what was a big ticket honeymoon, it was a false economy and a bad decision not to take a policy out (and remember, different policies have different definitions of what is a compensatory delay, so check the fine print and compare policies).

    I can understand the argument “well the room would have been empty otherwise, so be nice and don’t make us pay for a room we didn’t use” but that’s not the standard practice for no-shows, and regardless of status, you can’t expect the hotel to waive the charges.

    If you don’t take out travel insurance, you carry a much greater risk if things go wrong, than if you do. Even with travel insurance, it’s only limited coverage, so sometimes you just be sh*t outta luck (and sometimes it takes a fair bit of effort to get a payout on valid claims even when you are covered).

  77. My wife and I will be staying at Anantara’s Qasr Al-Sarab resort in the UAE next month. I happened to check out trip advisor just for fun again on the hotel, and found 12+ one star reviews (for a property with an average well over 4.5). All these guests had their reservations cancelled, many of them were en route when they found out. Turns out some UAE government ministry basically took over the resort for a week with little notice. These people received little ( if any) compensation; I’d never seen anything like it.

  78. The fact that Aleks didn’t “want to make this a saga and go into every detail” doesn’t help. It also doesn’t seem to reflect your blog, which is almost always a kind of saga and in detail, which is what I like about it.

  79. For those that want the airline to pay, they will never pay consequential damages. What if instead of a $1000 hotel room, it was the presidential suite for $25000? Or a passenger misses an important meeting and loses a $500,000,000 deal. Should the airline be on the hook for a half billion?
    No, this is just bad luck, happens to everyone eventually.
    I was on a 17 hour delayed flight (including about 6 hours on the tarmac) from Hong Kong to Shanghai with my family. We missed a night at the WA Shanghai in 2 Waldorf suites, about a $1600 touch, but that is life.

  80. Why TF would the hotel have to offer anything??? The airline operating the broken down plane is at fault here. HELLO this is what travel insurance is for! Jesus, what a stupid post.

  81. I’d have a lot more confidence in the travel insurance commenters if they were able to relate similar instances where their insurance paid the claim quickly and with a minimum of hassle.

  82. I wonder how she appoached the hotel. Did she ask nicell or demand it? If she had paid with a good credit card it would cover trip delays. Ask the airline too but bad things happen just go with the flow. It doesn’t sound she got bad service from the hotel just not what she wanted.

  83. In situations like this the hotel does not owe the guest anything. And if she had booked directly with the hotel, they would have been more inclined to offer something. And I am pretty sure in this case it was both the hotel and the travel agent who were not willing to refund the night.

  84. If I had to guess the insurance would have been $500 the room is $900 and the insurance company would have made the OP jump through $400 worth of hoops to get her money.

  85. When I lived in NYC we called these Westchester Problems — as in Westchester County, as in inconvenienced First World citizens complaining about Third World inconveniences.

    This after large numbers of refugees from war-torn countries and others were denied entry into the United States by a whimsical autocrat?

    Free advice on this one: check your insurance and be quietly grateful.

  86. I once booked at a starwood property in the Middle East on points. My airline stopped flying to that city unexpectedly and I didn’t remember to cancel the reservation within the cancellation period. That was my fault. I am just a Gold member and even so SPG customer service credited back the points with no issue.

  87. Definitely a crappy situation for the honeymooners! I think Aleks is asking for advice on any remedies to fight the rejection by the hotel (specifically compensation of some type from St. Regis). I agree the hotel is not obligated to give them any refunds. However, I think it would be a smart business practice to show some type of good gesture (be it food, points, an upgrade or anything. A small sympathetic gesture goes a long way, especially for honeymooners).

  88. With or without insurance it seems like the airline should shoulder some or all of the cost. A great travel agency would also give some credit or form of compensation as a matter of customer service.

    I seldom buy travel insurance but it is telling that I ALWAYS do it when flying to most of the South Pacific, most islands off the coast of Africa, or jumping between islands in the Caribbean (really any non major island hopping).

    A high percentage of flights I have taken in those circumstances have had issues. The airlines are often far more casual, less reliable, less accountable, and the conditions, labor issues, or even supplies can vary and cause massive delays.

  89. EU261/2004 !!
    French Polynesia is part of the French overseas territories.
    EU261 should apply in this case.
    The Flight Delay Compensation Regulation (EC) No 261/2004 is a regulation establishing common rules on compensation and assistance to passengers in the event of denied boarding, flight cancellations, or long delays of flights. It repealed Regulation (EEC) No 295/91, and went into effect on 18 February 2005. It sets out the entitlements of air passengers when a flight that they intend to travel on is delayed or cancelled, or when they are denied boarding to such a flight due to overbooking, or when the airline is unable to accommodate them in the class they had booked.” It applies to Member States and includes French overseas territories.

  90. @Lucky, well played with this click bait article. I assume you were just playing Devil’s Advocate by suggesting the Hotel should offer anything up! :/

  91. The French overseas collectivities (French: collectivité d’outre-mer or COM), like the French regions, are first-order administrative divisions of France. The COMs include some former French overseas territories and other French overseas entities with a particular status, all of which became COMs by constitutional reform on 28 March 2003. The COMs should not be confused with the overseas regions and overseas departments which have no particular status. As integral parts of France, overseas collectivities are represented in the National Assembly, Senate and Economic and Social Council. Only one COM, Saint Martin, is part of the European Union and can vote to elect members of the European Parliament (MEP). The Pacific COMs use the CFP franc, a currency pegged to the euro, whereas the Atlantic COMs use the euro directly. As of 31 March 2011, there were five COMs:

    French Polynesia became a COM in 2003. Its statutory law of 27 February 2004 gives it the designation of overseas country inside the Republic (French: pays d’outre-mer au sein de la République, or POM), but without legal modification of its status. French Polynesia has a great degree of autonomy, two symbolic manifestations of which are the title of the President of French Polynesia (Le président de la Polynésie française) and its additional designation as a pays d’outre-mer. Legislature: Assembly of French Polynesia since 2004.

  92. Did you know? Often named by the acronym DROM-COM, the ‘Overseas Departments and Regions – Overseas Collectivities’ refer collectively to all land under French sovereignty outside mainland France: The Islands of Guadeloupe, Martinique, Saint-Martin, Saint-Barthélemy, Saint Pierre and Miquelon (Atlantic Ocean) Reunion island, Mayotte, the French Southern and Antarctic Lands (Indian Ocean) French Polynesia, New Caledonia, Wallis and Futuna (Pacific Ocean) The French Overseas Territories cover almost 120 000 km² and are home to more than 2.6 million people.

  93. I think it’s less a matter of what St. Regis is obligated to do – i.e., nothing – and more a matter of providing good customer service. If a guest has paid a lot of money for a week or so stay and misses out on one day due to travel complications, they’re potentially earning a customer for life and word-of-mouth recommendations by doing their guests a solid and helping out in some way, big or small. Do nothing and that’s the story that this couple comes home with.

    It’s about the long game.

  94. Air Tahiti ATR 42/72’s have French registrations beginning with F-XXXX.
    They are registered in France, France is part of the EU, French Polynesia is a French overseas collective/territory.
    Google “file eu261/2004 claim” submit it – wait for your payment of approx. $500-$750 / up to 600 EUR (per person) payment to arrive in your bank account. Their 10 hour delay qualifies for payment.

  95. Not the Hotel’s fault? Airlines and this is one case where Travel Insurance would be needed with only one carrier servicing, other option trying to fly in broken plane is not recommended rather live with less money than die???

  96. Unrelated to the question at hand here, just wanted to say that a 10-hour flight delay sounds extremely uncharacteristic of inter-island airline Air Tahiti. Grew up there, flew quite a bit, so have some experience to go off of. Wonder if this happened during the catastrophic rains that happened ~2 weeks ago and closed tbe main airport fpr a couple days / destroyed a few planes?

  97. The hotel owes her nothing. That said, as others have said, comping a nice dinner for them wouldn’t be unreasonable and would have been a nice gesture…but from her letter, that probably wouldn’t have been appreciated.

    Sounds like a case of DYKWIA (don’t you know who I am?)…flashing your platinum card and all is nice, but as others have said, what did the hotel do wrong?

    I would file a claim with the airline, they’re the only ones who dropped the ball.

  98. Why should the hotel make a gesture when an airline has goofed up? If your Uber driver errs, would you expect the restaurant to comp your dessert? I dont understand why people follow airline rules and regulations, yet expect hotels to lose revenue on their behalf. Ludicrous. The hotel owes nothing and should do nothing. There are always those threaten hotels with negative publicity for something the hotel wasnt responsible for.
    In addition, the lady says that the hotel wasnt sold out, hence it wasnt losing revenue. Im sorry, but if the hotel waives off the retention for the first night, they are losing revenue.
    Take out travel insurance, or follow any of the tips provided by @lucky and others and protect yourself.

  99. Good will gesture of hotel if they did – not entitled though (I am however surprised, as most understand things like this.)

    As said – TRAVEL INSURANCE. It sounds like a waste until you actually need it. Then it can be worth a ton. And yes, some cards have partial policies in place (though I’d still go with more.)

    Although not fair, she may want to ask SPG corporate (or have agent ask) – sometimes they’ll try to make amends (though not required to.)

  100. If shes booked through a TA, theres a good chance the TA would have convinced the hotel to waive off the night, yet is keeping that money for itself. Very common behaviour with TA generated bookings. If the payment was directly to the hotel, the TA might not want to get the charges waived off as that is one night less commission the TA makes

  101. This has nothing to do with the St. Regis and everything to do with the travel agent. If a client has spent upwards of $10K with me (worse case scenario netting me £1K in commission) I’d be bloody-well inclined to make sure they come back and use my services. It’s poor judgement on their behalf to at least not offer some sort of ‘pay-it-forward’ style gesture. The simplest option would be to forfeit their commission on that one night (circa 10% of the value), maybe throw in an extra gift card or voucher and attempt to show some good will.

    Having insurance would not have covered the scenario with the airline. As weather conditions fall under force majeur, the airline would refuse to pay up on the basis of it being an ‘act of God’ versus their inability/unwillingness to provide a replacement aircraft.

    Aleks, I realise this must be disappointing on every level, but it sounds like this one’s a shit-sandwich you’re just gonna have to eat.

  102. Looks like a consensus here, but will be adding my 2c.
    I had similar things happen to me before. Sometimes an airline issue, more often than not, my own fault (booking the right dates in the wrong month. Argh!)
    The hotel doesn’t owe you anything. I did find that they would sometime make a gesture of good will, especially if you’re nice, if you admit it’s 100% not their fault and if you ask, rather than demand.
    A hotel will never refund you im response to a demand, because by doing so they accept at least some responsibility.
    Specifically, knowing the property, I am guessing they found a way to mAke the guys feel a little better. Maybe a bottle of champagne sent to their room, with some nice French strawberries.

  103. This is a case of a frustrated contract: a contract for the provision of accommodation that was in this case partially voided by an extraneous event over which neither party had any control. As long as the guest did everything in her power to mitigate any loss, she does have an entitlement to a refund of the voided part of the contract. St Regis also had an obligation once the situation was known to them to offset any loss they were suffering from the situation by attempting to resell the room for the night. If they weren’t able to and she had told them as soon as it became known, that’s not the guest’s fault. I think the fairest way that this should have been resolved is for a 50% refund of the price of the unused night to the guest. This situation was neither party’s fault and the hotel should not receive the full price for services it wasn’t able to provide. These are standard contract law principles. It would be good if some of the commenters on here could look at the situation objectively rather than being ranty corporate apologists.

  104. there must be something offered by the travel insurance or by the agency that booked it? after that, it’s an issue for the airline to deal with, but really the insurance policy must be ideal… either what was on the CC used to book, or additional cover as purchased… this is surely some sort of trip interruption?

  105. The airline may be at fault but in accordance with their terms and conditions they have exclusions and limitations of liability. They are never liable for consequential loss as Farnorthtrader correctly pointed out. If the do compensate it is usually as a gesture of goodwill. With regards to Flight Delay Compensation Regulation (EC) 261/2004, if this particular airline is subject to it, some airlines are still successfully getting out of paying compensation by claiming that mechanical breakdowns are beyond their control. However they would definitely get out of paying out because the cause of the overnight delay was weather related which is always considered to be out of their control.

  106. Dear Just Saying—-
    Your intolerant rascist writing about somehow blaming Trump for this is typical
    for this recent generation. You, like Hillary and others had to as she said “step into it” with her deplorable remarks.
    Nobody owes you anything. And for that matter St. Regis is not to blame for some airline’s problem or the honeymooners not planning ahead. Man up.
    And since you HAD TO mention our President.
    Obama created ISIS and he and his Russian bomber buddies have starved, murdered and displaced hundreds of thousands of Muslims from Syria. Tell me who has been against the Muslim people. Really?

  107. This happens to me from time to time (not going to Bora Bora, but other places a bit more boring like Detroit, Chicago or Seattle.) Hotel check-in scheduled for Sunday night, with a policy of 24 hours prior to arrival cancellation. In 100% of the cases, when I’ve had a flight issue that prevented me from getting in on the original day of arrival, the hotel has just pushed my reservation out a day, and not charged me for the night that I didn’t sleep there.

    Agree with others that this hotel should have taken the opportunity to really amaze these travelers instead of leaving a bad taste in their mouth. No, it’s certainly not their responsibility, but negative feedback probably isn’t worth the $1000.

  108. Legally the hotel owes nothing. Morally… shame on them! Actually after reading this I wouldn’t even stay there. On many occasions as I travel I’ve encountered many travel delays , missed connections , forced overnights. In every single occasion when the hotel heard about my plight (they usually ask to email the flight number ) it’s an instant refund. The Sheraton McKinney in TX refunded my night for the previous night and when I showed up at 7am they treated me to breakfast and let me check in early ! Taking care of customers during these situations is part of what hospitality is and it will never hurt their business in the long run, in fact quite the opposite. Shame on the St Regis. This should have been a no brainer. A refund and a special welcome sorry you made it late amenity !! If I owned the hotel I would refund the money and when they did arrive comp a short couples massage. Sounds crazy to everyone here but I’ve been in the service industry my whole life and the best in the business take great care of people when they’ve been through a mess, cost doesn’t matter at that point. They are on their honeymoon and will be spending a ton !

  109. I’ve personally never had a hotel deny moving my reservation around when I can prove there was a flight cancellation (and often they don’t even ask for proof). As some others have said, the goodwill generated from granting you an exception would have been far greater than the one night’s cost even though they are not technically obligated to grant it.

    I would talk to the hotel manager directly rather than trust the agency to deal with it. The agency probably doesn’t want you to get a refund since they made a hefty commission on that night.

  110. @Ryan – you would be out of business in weeks if you refunded them AND offered a comp massage. Hotel’s aren’t charity, they are a business.
    Could they have offered her something, of course but giving the full refund makes no sense. This is no longer a “gesture of goodwill” when someone is demanding compensation.

  111. @patrick – My 17 years of success would prove you wrong 🙂 Less than .05% of customers experience what that couple went through . Yes a refund and a special gesture of goodwill to a couple on their honeymoon who had to spend a night at a hostel instead of the St Regis is on order.

  112. @patrick – In the service industry … rule #1 Treat all your guests how you would like to be treated. IF that rule is not followed, you go out of business.

  113. Let me cut through the travel insurance issues here! I actually phoned Travelex (the travel protection plan that we exclusively offer clients), and here is the scoop.

    (1) There are two kinds of protections involved here, (a) Trip Delay and (b) Trip Interruption.

    (2) The situation described WOULD qualify as a Covered Reason under Travelex plans. The policy’s language is: “Common Carrier delays resulting from inclement weather, or mechanical breakdown or organized labor strikes that affect public transportation.”

    (3) Trip Delay protection only reimburses actual expenses incurred due to the delay (meals, alternate accommodations, etc) up to $500 for Travel Basic, $750 for Travel Select, and $1000 for Travel Max. Trip Delay would NOT reimburse the lost night at St. Regis.

    (4) Trip Cancellation protection would reimburse the couple for their missed night IF THEY PURCHASED AN AMOUNT OF CANCELLATION INSURANCE. Travel Basic = 100% of amount purchased. Travel Basic and Travel Max = 150% of amount purchased.

    Some lessons to be learned.

    (1) All insurance policies are not created equal, and just comparing premiums online and purchasing the absolutely cheapest policy — without also comparing the terms of the policy is foolish.

    (2) My agency (Brownell Travel) uses Travelex nearly exclusively due to our great experiences with them over many years. If there’s ever any issue, our Rep is there to jump in and assist.

    (3) The “free” policy the couple may have gotten with their credit card company may or may not provide trip interruption coverage applicable to their loss, but they should definitely check with their credit card company.

    (4) cover-my-ass legal legalese: you should rely only on how a Travelex agent represents its coverage, not on me. (However, this is my understanding of what the agent told me!)

  114. While the hotel is not at fault, I’m astonished they didn’t waive the first night’s charges. Sadly, I’ve been stranded overnight by American four times just this year. In every case, the hotel (three Hilton brands and one Marriott brand) waived the first room night. In one case, when I arrived the next day at the Hilton San Francisco Financial District I found a bottle of sparkling wine, a nice food amenity and a note signed by a bunch of the staff saying how sorry they were that I’d had a bad experience and how they hoped this would help make my trip better! That hotel is an exception and I love it… but still in all my years traveling, I’ve never had a hotel not understand when I’ve come in a day late due to travel disruptions.

  115. Why should the hotel pay anything in this case, or waive first night charges?
    If they had reserved the room with such a condition that it can be modified even at the very last minute, than their travel agent, with whom they were in touch, should have modified the reservation.

    As others said: they should check their insurance and / or airline that’s airplane went wrong.

    And most importantly: focus on the bright side of their honeymoon / memories now 🙂

  116. Everyone expects a guarantee that their life will be perfect. Boo-hoo, so sorry, that is not reality. It’s a miracle that ANY flight gets you to your destination on time and in one piece. You book complex trips to remote locations in parts of “the developing world” and sometimes things go sideways a bit. It’s part of life. Deal with it.

  117. I am in the travel industry and a specialist for the destination of Tahiti. I would say in most cases these days, travel insurance is imperative but especially for a destination like this: expensive, prone to possible issues and when it comes to the airlines (which you can read in the very, very fine print in their contract of carriage) they do not accept responsibility for much. Other entities (like hotels) are not responsible in cases of ‘force majeure’, which translates to ‘acts of god’…something outside the control of anyone. Travel insurance is the way to go. Only travel insurance would cover this. I would have gone to bat for the client to see if I could get the hotel to offer something to make up for it, such as a credit for the spa or a comp dinner. There are things the hotel can and will do, especially when they have an existing relationship with a TA who brings them business. Sometimes it takes some diligence (as in you wear them down…which I’ve been known to do when I feel there is a worthy case). But, insurance is the way operative word in travel these days. There are too many variables not to get it. And somebody erroneously said that travel insurance would not cover this, but that is not the case in the insurance I sell clients. It will cover them for the lost hotel night, any other expenses incurred because of the issue. I’ve even had the insurance cover the cost of new flights when a client had to purchase for an emergency return AND cover the cost of the original return flight as well. GOOD insurance is what makes the difference.

    The St Regis is not a ‘money grubbing’ hotel. They’re a small (all the hotels in Tahiti are small) hotel in the middle of the South Pacific. Almost everything has to be flown in and the costs are high to operate there. The management of this hotel is made up of good people who attempt to do an excellent job for their guests. This hotel is in a far away location, not a city hotel with very different operating circumstances. The details as far as something in the way of compensation (not a refund) should have been handled by their agent.

    The planes that fly to the outer islands are small (66 pax max) and the nonstop are often booked, which is when people are put on the flights that include a stop over.

    Finally, not sure why people feel so compelled to nasty/ angry responses? Why all the snide remarks? Is this the only way some people have to relate to others? That’s pretty sad. And you’d think for the people lucky enough to get to travel they might have a more magnanimous perspective. I certainly have. And I’ve learned from all my years in this business, just because I know the things I do that is no reason to believe everyone knows it all. In fact, isn’t that why we exist and isn’t our purpose to help people navigate all the serpentine possibilities that might come up? Give the anger a rest. Compassion feels a lot better.

  118. Seems everyone agrees the situation sucks, and suggests travel insurance.

    It sucks for all parties. The hotel is under no obligation to do anything — the events leading to the couple missing the flights is completely out of their control, and the hotel shouldn’t suffer the economic consequences. Any generosity from the hotel would be a bonus — and can build goodwill. I have a couple instances where I got lucky, and was able to have the hotel make an exception — so it never hurts to ask. We have to realize that the workers at the hotels are people too, and can show compassion — but sometimes are at the whim their superiors. Below are two instances that I can think of where hotels granted exceptions for me:

    1) Sheraton in Macau — I was traveling with my wife in China. Before our visit to Macau, my father suffered a stroke back at home. We had to cut our trip short. The reservation was made on SPG website, and was the non-refundable rate. The hotel was under no obligation to do anything for us as it was not their fault for my father’s illness or our cancellation. They initially offered credit for a future stay within 90 days. After stating that it wouldn’t be possible for us to return in short a time, and seeing of they could make an exception, one was made — they offered a full refund. They did require documents from physicians stating my father’s condition, which we submitted. We were very grateful — this incident certainly built goodwill, and we will certainly be back to that hotel on our next trip back. This saved us about $750! Not sure if my Platinum status @ SPG had anything to do with their generosity. SPG support could only request on our behalf, but it was up to the individual hotel to make that decision.

    2) We were planning to travel to Seoul. A few days after making the non-refundable hotel reservation @ Hotels.com, news struck of an outbreak of some disease (I think it was MERS?). Airlines were not offering any travel advisories, and CDC did not post any notice either. We contacted Hotels.com, and asked them if they could talk to the hotel about making an exception, as we were genuinely concerned about traveling into an area.. They did, and the hotel made an exception.

    Certainly those are more extreme circumstances than what this couple experienced (as plane/weather issues are fairly common in travel). All I’m saying is that it doesn’t hurt to ask. The most they can say is no.

  119. Whn one of us couldn’t get there on a pre-paid reservation for three rooms, they let the rest of us have a credit of the entire forfeited amount to use in the restaurant.

  120. I think the hotel should give them a good will refund on their mark up of the room (probably 50%). Also, they should check their credit card they paid with…my Chase Sapphire would pay for this.

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