Most of the time I book my flights online. However, I decided to use a travel agent at the AAA office to book my flights on Icelandair for this summer's trip to Europe. My AAA card provides me with free travel agent service, and besides, one of the agents is a very personable young lady with whom I enjoy chatting. I am quite glad now that I did! Her assistance turned out to be invaluable.
I wrote a few days ago that Icelandair had suddenly canceled their direct flights from Cleveland. The direct flight was the main reason that I had decided to include Iceland on my European itinerary. According to media reports, those with reservations would be rescheduled by way of Boston, or they could receive a refund. I decided that I would cancel my flight reservations, skip Iceland, and fly to Switzerland.
As of yesterday the Icelandair website had still not been updated, and I had still not received any notification of my cancelled flight from the airline. I decided to go back to AAA and have my agent deal with the situation. She called Icelandair and was put on hold. While waiting, we looked at flights on other airlines to Switzerland. Someone finally answered, and he said flatly that the booking was nonrefundable! My agent asked what the new schedule would be. Not only would I have to fly through Boston, but my direct flight from Iceland to Zurich had been cancelled also! She could tell that I was not very happy, and she insisted that since the airline had been the one to cancel the originally booked flights, a refund should be offered. The guy said that he would talk to his manager... and after a considerable amount of time, he came back and said that, yes, I could cancel and receive a refund. Hurray! I guess the fellow on the phone had not received the memo that Cleveland passengers could be reimbursed.
We than made new airline reservations. I will fly to Chicago on United, and from there take an overnight flight to Zurich on Swiss International Airlines. After spending time with my Swiss cousins, I shall travel by train to Vienna and Munich. (The train tickets cannot be purchased this far ahead of time). Coming home, I will fly on Lufthansa from Munich to Chicago, and United from Chicago to Cleveland.
I already have my hotel reservations booked for Vienna and Munich. Fortunately, the Airbnb apartment that I reserved for Reykjavik had free cancelation. I cancelled that as soon as I got home from the travel agent.
So, after much ado, my plans for Europe are pretty much set. Knock on wood, there will be no more monkey wrenches!