Israeli Alon Diamant was forced to cancel a trip to Prague due to the escalating situation with Gaza. What Airbnb did next made Diamant a lifelong customer
The recent rocket firing by Hamas into Israel has caused many people to change their plans. Both El Al and Delta Airlines have said they will allow travellers with flights leaving or arriving in Israel this week to change their itineraries for free, but when changing travel plans, the flight may be the least of your worries.
However, one Israeli who had to cancel his trip due to the escalating situation in Israel received a pleasant surprise from Airbnb, which was not only understanding of the canceling, but gave him a coupon so he could enjoy a vacation after the fighting ends.
“Thinking about the Israel situation breaks my heart, I’m very sorry for what’s happening and I really hope this complex situation can finally be over,” Elisabetta D. of Airbnb wrote in a message to Alon Diamant,a software engineer at EverythingMe, who had to cancel his trip due to Hamas’ fire.
Diamant had planned to go to Prague July 8 through July 13 with a group of friends that had not seen each other much lately. Diamant and his friends rented an apartment on Airbnb and got “psyched” to spend a weekend together for old times sake.
Change of plans
Unfortunately when the rockets started coming and Israel starting ratcheting up its response, some of Diamant’s friends got drafted and others wanted to stay to be with family during this difficult time. El Al refunded the tickets, but Diamant was not so optimistic about getting any money back from the international travel rental company.
“But then, there was Airbnb – an international company, which obviously doesn’t have much to do with the situation in Israel,” Diamant wrote on his Facebook page. “Our apartment had a rather strict cancellation policy, which meant we were going to lose most of the rental fees. We contacted the owner of the apartment and asked if she could possibly try and find someone else to rent it during the days planned for us, perhaps even offer us a partial refund. It obviously wasn’t her fault and we apologized profusely for having cancelled.”
Diamant continued: “And then – I got this surprising email. Not only did Airbnb offer us a complete refund due to the complex situation, they also wrote us a touching, hopeful message and gifted us us a 50$ coupon for future bookings!”
Airbnb has several different levels of cancellation policies that range from a full refund except for the Airbnb fee with a 24 hour cancellation notice to a 50% refund minus the Airbnb fee with a 30 day cancellation notice. Airbnb was not obligated to refund Diamant, but it did, giving him back the entire amount including the fees.
We want to thank Airbnb for their understanding and we will be booking future vacations with them.
Photo credit: Shutterstock, Prague at Twilight