Trapped in Thailand - Help Becca Get Home

I am alone in Bangkok, trying to get home to Canada during this time of panic and uncertainty.

I have been in Thailand for the past 4 months. When the Covid-19 outbreak began, I, like many others, thought this would blow over quickly, and we’d all carry on - business as usual. However, as days/weeks went on, I realized this was more than just hysteria cause by the media. I, along with the one person out here with me, decided it was time to come home. I booked a flight through a booking agent, with flights operating with Air Canada. I have booked with this company multiple times and never had any issues. I thought this process would be as smooth as always. (I won’t name them because I’m not trying to deter anyone from using them in the future - no one could have predicted what is happening). My flight was booked for March 28. I thought this would be plenty of time to get home. I was wrong.

Things just kept getting worse. Canada’s infection rate jumped from 0 to 5, then 20, then before we knew it, hundreds, maybe even thousands by this point. Canada was urging their citizens to come home, so I tried to rebook my flight to get home ASAP. I checked the booking agent’s website and found they would be honouring Air Canada’s Covid-19 refund policy, so I thought I would be able to change my flight! I confirmed this with my friend who was here with me, so he rebooked his flight online (he booked through Air Canada directly). Little did I know, my booking agent would be unresponsive. Their phone lines were down, their live chat had 1,200+ people waiting in the queue. I waited on live chat for 9 hours on the first day, only to be kicked off 3 times and be pushed to the end of the queue. I did not speak to a live chat representative that day, or any day. Additionally, Air Canada couldn’t do anything for me because I booked through a 3rd party website. I tried to get a refund from my credit card company, but they said if my flight wasn’t cancelled then they wouldn’t be able to refund me.

Without any other options that I knew of, I felt defeated. There was no way I would be able to change my flight, and since I didn’t know if I’d ever get a refund if I booked a different flight, decided to wait it out, as I couldn’t afford losing that money. I checked Air Canada’s flight statuses every day, praying my flight wouldn’t be cancelled. Eventually, Air Canada issued a list of remaining flight routes available in March/April. Thankfully, my flight was one of them! I was on the home stretch. My friend got on his flight and made it back to Canada. I wouldn’t be out here too long by myself!

Then today (March 26) came. I woke up to an automated email from Air Canada, saying my flight had been rescheduled to today! Upon checking further, I realized they changed 2/3 of my flights, but did not change my first flight. They didn’t change it because it was physically impossible to get on and make my next flight. The flight I needed to get on would have had to have left 2 hours before they even rebooked my flight. For additional context, it takes 6 hours to fly from Bangkok to Tokyo, but I would have needed to be there in 4. Like I said, physically impossible.

Through tears, I called Air Canada to see what they could do for me (note I am calling collect from Thailand to Canada, since their toll free number wasn’t working when calling from Thailand). After waiting on hold for only 30 minutes, the agent told me there were no other flights operating by them and said I should call back in the morning to see if they add new flights. (I think it’s safe to say there is a slim chance they will be adding flights, seeing as they are cancelling flights every day.) Meanwhile, my booking still showed as confirmed, and my booking agent was still unresponsive, phone lines still down, but today they aren’t even offering live chat. There is literally no way to contact my booking agent and Air Canada can’t do anything for me.

All day, through tears and panic, I researched my available options. I looked at flights to my destination and surrounding airports like Montreal and Toronto. I calculated how much it would cost if I flew to an alternate airport and booked a separate flight to my desired airport or rented a car to get home from Montreal. Every flight on Air Canada is $3,500+, which is just not an option for me right now. I’m scared if I book through another booking agency, I will get zero assistance again. I’m scared if I don’t book now, the remaining flights will be cancelled or the prices will go up even higher.

I never thought I would be in a position to need to ask extended family, friends, or even strangers for money, but I am alone, scared, and just trying to get home. Please, anything you can give will help me immensely. Every penny will be so appreciated.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read my story.

Note: If there are any other options you think I could have used, I probably did, but just didn’t include them. I've really tried everything.

Donations

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Organizer

Rebecca Mallaley 
Organizer
Lorne, NB
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