I just noticed the date. It is finally July 01, 2013. The day I was supposed to be leaving on a trip to Europe. Having been sick for so long, I was really looking forward to getting out of the country for a while. It all sort of came together fortuitously. Paula's kids will be living in France for the summer, so we had planned to see them and then go about on our own for a bit. I located an $800 check that was owed to me from a medical insurance mix up when I was younger and claimed it through the State Treasury. This was just enough to cover a plane ticket to and fro Paris. But then I got cancer. Or rather, then I found out I have cancer.
Rather than just say, "Oh, that guy has cancer; we should probably give him a refund since he can't fly because he'll be having chemotherapy." Finnair said, "Tough shit. You shoulda bought insurance." In my mind, flight insurance is for things like "my son ended up in the little league finals and now I can't fly." But I'm no expert and I'm obviously a Lefty so I believe in things like human decency over regulations and money and such.
I started reminding Finnair of the consequences of these policies by posting pictures and little updates on my illness on their company Facebook. Their tone took a change. They were suddenly very willing to help, as soon as I could produce a doctor's certificate (which I had already procured). It seems to me that maybe they don't realize the personal toll their strict rules take on individuals. What is the point of holding so rigidly to a policy? Is the possibility of losing $1500 too great for a company that profited 1000x that much last year? Are they afraid that if they let one person off the hook, suddenly anyone who wants to change a flight will show up with a fake letter from an oncologist?
They finally gave in and issued a refund. But by the time they had, it was too late to rearrange schedules or make alternate plans and now I'll be without my girlfriend for three weeks while undergoing chemotherapy. When she thought that we weren't going to get a refund, it wouldn't have made sense to cancel the trip. She would have lost out on the $738 ticket as well as some other money for advanced bookings we had made. Finnair waited until the last minute to give us a reprieve.
This is certainly a big ol' first world problem.