x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 20 January 2018

Airlines, medical plans and a bank taken to task.

Have a problem? If so, e-mail Keren Bobker at onyourside@thenational.ae. Ms Bobker is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai.

Could Etihad Airways please explain why the cost of a return economy fare 'Abu Dhabi - Bangkok' in Jan 2009 is Dhs2,950 on their website yet the cost of a return ticket 'Manchester- Bangkok', via Abu Dhabi, on the same dates is the equivalent of Dhs2,390? This is twice the distance yet it is at a cheaper price. Exactly the same flights which originate and return to Manchester are used on the Abu Dhabi - Bangkok - Abu Dhabi sectors. Whilst the high cost of buying tickets in the UAE is by no means restricted to Etihad, this example does illustrate a glaring example of UAE customers paying a premium for their air travel. - RG Abu Dhabi

Etihad Airways spokesman said: "We've looked into Mr R.G.'s query and despite a thorough investigation have been unable to find any evidence of the fares he has quoted for these two journeys. A visit to our website will show that return economy fare from Abu Dhabi to Bangkok on the same dates in January 2009 costs less than the longer Manchester to Bangkok fare, via Abu Dhabi." You may also like to note that Etihad had advised that the reason connecting flights are often cheaper as it is a longer journey, logistically more complex and therefore less attractive to most air travellers than one that is direct. To encourage air travellers to consider connecting through Abu Dhabi, or indeed other airports, fares are sometimes priced accordingly, dependent upon demand, so if cost is a priority, savings can be made.

We have a medical insurance policy with Goodhealth that was set up several years ago. I am now pregnant, but the insurance company are telling me that I do not have maternity cover. I have spoken to them several times, but they are denying that it is included. My memory is that the agent we dealt with several years ago told me that maternity cover was included, so naturally I now wish to make a claim. Can you help please? R.M. Dubai

You have confirmed that you have the Foundation 002 plan from Goodhealth's International Healthcare Plan range. This company offers four levels of cover and the Foundation is the second lowest level of cover. Only the top level plan, which is significantly more expensive, includes standard maternity cover and even then with 20 per cent co-insurance, meaning the policy holder has to pay 20 per cent of the costs. The maximum benefit per pregnancy is US$10,000 (Dh36,730). This has always been the case with this policy.

What the plan does cover however, is 'New Born Cover'. I hope you won't need this, but it covers inpatient costs for acute medical conditions within 30 days of birth. It also includes 'Complications of Pregnancy' which is the treatment of a medical condition which arises during the antenatal stages, or during childbirth, and requires a recognised obstetric procedure. I regret that I cannot give you better news, but Goodhealth has provided you with the correct information. If you have been told that the plan has other benefits you need to take this up with whoever arranged the policy for you. Good luck with your pregnancy.

I would advise anyone who takes out private medical cover to seek qualified independent advice to ensure the plan meets their full requirements. My problem started when I took a British air flight from Heathrow to Abu Dhabi. On 5th September 2008 when I flew from London to Abu Dhabi International with British Airways and on arrival I was told that my luggage was missing. The staff gave me a form which is still with me and told me that I would be contacted soon. Over the last three and half months I have called BA in both Dubai and in Abu Dhabi many a times, but I just get asked to contact someone else. The London head office told me that a local office would contact me, but I have not heard from anyone, nor has any compensation been offered. M.A.K. Abu Dhabi

The BA Press Office in London has advised that they are now investigating this matter and have advised that their team in Abu Dhabi are handling the search for Mr K's bag. The Customer Relations has sent a notice to the Abu Dhabi team to get in contact and try to locate his bag as a matter of urgency. They state "We sincerely apologise to Mr K. for the delay to his baggage. We are doing everything we can to trace his bags and return them to him as soon as possible." As we went to press BA advised that the bag had yet to be located, but they are working on the matter. We hope to offer some better news in a later issue.

I have recently opened an account with RAK bank, but so far have been waiting over three weeks for an ATM card, despite having received the cheque book after one week. It is really not convenient to go to a branch every time I need some cash, but I seem to be getting nowhere with my telephone calls. The branch staff tell me it is 'on the way', but this doesn't help the situation any. What am I supposed to do now? S.C. Dubai

Having spoken to the bank, it appears that they had a query regarding your salary letter, but failed to communicate this to you. The issue was relatively simple however, and a telephone call to your employer has clarified the situation. Your ATM facility has been cleared and a card will be sent to you by courier within the next seven days. RAK admits that this was their error and has apologised for the inconvenience caused. Have a problem? If so, email Karen Bobker at onyourside@thenational.ae. Ms is an independent financial adviser with Holborn Assets in Dubai.