Strangers Chip In To Fulfill Cheated Grandmother's Cruise Dream

There’s hope for humanity yet: the 78-year old pensioner who saved 10 years for a cruise, only to have Princess Cruises screw her out of her money after missed connections resulted in a missed embarkation? She will get to take that cruise. After her story hit the papers and the blogosphere, strangers stepped forward to fund her cruise ship dreams. This time, Almentia McKan will arrive a day in advance, fly non-stop, and purchase travel insurance. She probably won’t be sailing Princess Cruises either.

Dream? On. [Washington Post]
PREVIOUSLY: Pensioneer Saves For Cruise For 10 Years, Misses Flight, Princess Cruises Keeps All Her Money


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  1. sashazur says:

    Of course it sucks that she almost didn’t get to take her dream trip of a lifetime, but saying she was “cheated” out of it isn’t really fair. She knew she took a risk of missing the cruise because she couldn’t afford to buy travel insurance. Yes, of course it also sucks that she couldn’t afford the insurance, but once again, she wasn’t cheated, she just had really bad luck.

  2. uconn says:

    She better claim this as income to Uncle Sam.

  3. nidolke says:

    Good for her (:

  4. MingusSzabo says:

    @sashazur: you must be a heartless republican – SHE WAS CHEATED!!!!

  5. mcjake says:

    Glad to hear people are chipping in to hear. Another option is to book the air travel through the cruise line. Then they will literally hold the boat in port if your flights are late. It’s really the only way to do it and that extra assurance is worth the spare dough.

  6. chalicechick says:

    Right. But the airline had acted in as a travel agent in booking her plane fare as well. In the accompanying article that nobody read, she was very clear in stating that she accepted that she wasn’t getting her money back for the cruise. Her complaint was that the airline REFUNDED part of the plane fare to the cruise line and the cruise lines kept the refund.

    All she was asking for was the money for the plane fare back so she could take “some little trip somewhere.”

    That was the part that felt like her getting cheated, that Princess Cruises got paid for her plane fare twice, by her and by the airline and for some reason felt they were entitled to keep both payments. If they had simply given the refund to her, they wouldn’t have been out any money and they would have saved themselves a ton of bad PR.


  7. chalicechick says:


    If that were true, none of this would have been an issue.

  8. JustRunTheDamnBallBillick. says:

    @chalicechick: she refused to take a later flight, and therefor they wouldnt hold the boat, or catch her up. She wasnt cheated, she played the old lady card and demanded special treatment

  9. crackers says:

    @mcjake: Unfortunately, that’s exactly what she did the first time. Princess booked her flights, and she didn’t know until her tickets arrived that she had two lay overs – that included switching to different airlines – with very tight timing on the connections. While Princess DID offer to fly her to catch the boat the next day, she had already been traveling for something like 18 hours and wasn’t up to an additional day of traveling. Frankly, I wouldn’t have been, either.

  10. crackers says:

    @JustRunTheDamnBallBillick.: Tell me you wouldn’t cry foul if you spent 18 hours in one day shuffling from airport to airport, only to be told to come back the next morning and start it all again! This wouldn’t have been an issue if Princess hadn’t booked a mess of flights without ample time for connections. If they had even booked all of her flights on ONE airline there would have been a better chance of her catching her connections…

  11. marsneedsrabbits says:

    It isn’t reasonable for someone of that age to be moved around an airport over and over and over. At some point, the body just can’t take it anymore.
    Princess could have done the right thing for nothing, but didn’t. They can always say that they were within their legal right to take this lady’s hard-earned money and give her nothing in return, and maybe they were, but legal doesn’t make it right.

    Now they get to live with the terrible negative publicity for a very long time.

    This will always be archived on search engines for everyone to read.

    It isn’t as though there is only one cruise line going to Alaska or anywhere else, for that matter. If only a few people choose “other than Princess” because of this they lose big.

  12. crackers says:

    @marsneedsrabbits: I totally agree. I would even go so far as to say it’s unreasonable for someone of ANY age. And yes, perhaps it IS “legal,” but that doesn’t make it good business.

  13. Grrrrrrr, now with two buns made of bacon. says:

    Hooray! It’s great to hear about nice people helping somebody else out.

    At least there’s a shred of hope for humanity.

    Enjoy your cruise, Almentia!

  14. Phipps6505 says:

    I read the original posting, the story, the discussion on, and the followup story. No where did this lady say she got cheated. The only reason the story was even in the paper was that she hoped to get some money back from the airline. I don’t think she “played the old lady” card.

    I think Princess was probably silly, stupid, and short sighted not to try and arrive at some kind of agreement with her, particularly if all she was asking for was the airfare to be refunded. It speaks volumes about Princess’ corporate policies to see that after all this negative publicity that they haven’t budged.

    @JUSTRUNTHEDAMNBALLBILLICK where in the world does she say she was cheated?

  15. erratapage says:

    Anyone feel good about buying a cruise from Princess after this story? Bad business.

  16. ninjatales says:

    Some people here disgust me. How is it EVER OK to TAKE the money accumulated from a 10-year savings of a 78-year-old lady and not give her what she paid for?

    Maybe if the money involved wasn’t so large, it could be fine because of company policies.

    Here’s what’s wrong with Princess Cruise:
    1. Huge amount of money involved.
    2. Said money was made possible by saving for 10 years. Yes. ONE WHOLE DECADE!
    3. Customer involved was 78-years-old.
    4. Not allowing a provision for special cases.
    5. Calling itself “Princess” when a name like “IRS” would be more appropriate.

  17. sashazur says:

    Actually, I’m a heartless liberal! :-)

  18. ninjatales says:

    @sashazur: Quit lying dude.

  19. chalicechick says:

    @JustRunTheDamnBallBillick.: They weren’t holding the boat for her. They were going to catch her up to the boat AFTER the glaciers she had always wanted to see and she wasn’t going to get to see them.

  20. mac-phisto says:

    @chalicechick: that’s the part that i didn’t understand either. i’m sure it’s written somewhere in the contract, but i can’t even fathom why the cruise line would be entitled to that money.

    of course, most of these travel agent contracts are riddled with booby traps. one trip i took to the caribbean had a $200 refund fee (even with the trip insurance) if the trip was cancelled at any time, for any reason. the exception to that rule was within 7 days of travel – then the refund fee was 100% of trip cost (unless you had insurance – then it was still $200). i actually overpaid my trip (b/c a group discount kicked in once a dozen of us signed on), but b/c the amount i overpaid was less than $200, i never saw a dime. oh well, it was worth every penny.

  21. MeOhMy says:

    @ninjatales: So at what point does one qualify for a special case? Is it how long you’ve saved, how old you are, your gender? When you run a business you have to be careful about special dispensations because other people will expect the same special treatment.

    Fortunately Ms. McKan is not that unreasonable and was willing to take her lumps as far as the cruise goes in exchange for the cruise line reimbursing her for the airfare that they double-dipped when they pocketed the refund from the airline.

    It was really nice of people to come to her aid, although I fear that now the situation will be dropped and I don’t think the cruise line should get a pass on pocketing the refund. Maybe the elite Consumerist Commandos and keep bugging Princess?

  22. Phipps6505 says:

    Someone ought to edit Princess’ Wikipedia entry and note this problem.

  23. Coyote says:

    Something on the original post on CoGo that hasn’t been mentioned was that Northwestern (the airline that Princess took the flight charges from) Has offered to give the woman more than $500 for nothing more than good will and wanting to ease some of her suffering. Thats how you do good PR, as for Princess good luck.