How we helped Mia with her predictament
Traveler County Of Residence: US
Age at time of claim: 29
Claim type: Emergency Assistance
US Traveler Mia has long had a love of travel which began when she visited South Africa as a student and she has since lived in Japan, Thailand, Myanmar, and Costa Rica.
In 2019, Mia moved to a town near Mae Tan in northern Thailand, along the Thai/Burma (Myanmar) border, where she worked teaching English to local Karen students at a boarding school.. As the only foreign teacher, it was a unique experience and Mia became very attached to and encouraged by her students, some of whom were refugees or stateless. Then COVID-19 hit bringing uncertainty. As an increasing number of expats left the region, planes and flights home became scarcer and with limited local resources to address the pandemic, Mia had to make some quick decisions.
“I’d been in Thailand for about a year at that point, working with students in a boarding school and building bonds similar to a close-knit family. Many of my students grew up in the nearby refugee camp, attending school away from their family for the first time. I was quite attached to them and many times my students would get sick from the drinking water or challenging living situations at our school. I was worried I would get sick from water-borne parasites and it was very comforting to know World Nomads was there to call and help me if I got sick, too.
“Then the pandemic hit, and I was trying to decide if I should stay longer, which I wanted to do because of the students I was working with. But given the alarming news of flights being canceled and the building fear of what was to come, I started to consider heading back to the US.
“A week and a half after the pandemic hit the news, most expats had left. Being in Chiang Mai was so different as streets which were normally bustling, were stark and empty. I even saw someone walking around in a Haz Mat suit, which was quite alarming. No one really knew the extent to which things would change or what was to come, but after seeing the sudden changes and empty streets, I realized it was time for me to return to the US.
“So, I had a flight booked (to the relief of my parents) and I went to the airport to head back to the US, but all flights across the board were cancelled including mine. I was not notified in advance. The lines were quite long and people were trying to get on the planes any way they could. I had to fly to Bangkok in the end with another airline to try and get a flight out.
“When I rang someone from World Nomads for help, the Emergency Assistance Team took the time to share with me some travel safety tips and what to do. I was comforted by someone on the phone who assured me things would work out. I really needed to hear that.
“At least two of my flights were canceled getting home, and there were a lot of things I didn’t foresee might happen, like flying to Bangkok, having a second flight canceled, and ending up on a different airline to make it home. I was lucky to have the resources to cover the cost of booking a new flight.
“I was beyond grateful to have made it home in the end and to have the support of World Nomads guiding me during this stressful time.”
World Nomads helped Mia with advice and information around her situation. She didn’t need to make a claim with World Nomads as she was able to claim directly with her airline for her changed fares.
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