Bedford Park man unable to cancel flight to Northern Italy despite coronavirus outbreak

Posted: Updated:

A Bedford Park man is unable to cancel his flight to Northern Italy amid coronavirus concerns as his airline told him that the outbreak does not qualify for a refund.

Peter Reyes says he booked the flight last month to visit his family before certain regions in Italy were issued a level four warning to avoid travel.

“From the minute I was on the phone, they were telling me that ‘no, it was safe to fly’ and they were ‘gonna go through with the flight,’” Reyes said.

He planned on visiting his family in Reggio Emilia, which his mother says has essentially shut down. He also planned on attending his cousin’s sweet 16, which is at a venue that is temporarily closed due to the outbreak.

As Italian authorities say 29 people have died in the country from the virus, Reyes and his wife decided that it was in their best interest to avoid the risk of exposing themselves and their 1-year-old daughter to the virus and cancel the trip.

He received a full refund from his Airbnb, but not his flight from Alitalia, despite having flight insurance. Reyes argues that the airline is not taking the safety of its customers seriously.

“They were saying that the insurance that I had, that I had purchased was not insurance for that matter,” Reyes said. “It wouldn’t cover me under the circumstance.”

News 12 reached out to Alitalia and was told that they just changed the policy Saturday morning, saying in a statement, "The new travel policy offers change fee waiver for customers with an Alitalia ticket purchased in the international markets (such as the USA). Travelers with final travel destination in Northern Italy who have purchased Alitalia tickets on international markets within February 23, 2020, with travel dates between February 23 and March 8, 2020, are entitled for rebooking without penalty of the original booking with a new date of departure no later than March 31, 2020."

Reyes responded that March 31 is not enough time for the virus to take its course and to know will direction it will head.

He warns to be extra cautious when with booking details when planning international trips.

"They basically didn't see it from our eyes, where something this bad, especially with our daughter, can cause so much harm,” Reyes said. "They didn't care about our safety." 





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