We began planning our trip from Athens to New York in late June, three months in advance. After having browsed through what was available on Airbnb we booked a nice apartment that made complete sense for two couples with two small children, when compared with a Manhattan hotel. A week before the trip, the hosts cancels – just like that – claiming building safety reasons. At Airbnb’s prompting, though I was panicking, I searched for a replacement apartment and I found something nice at around the same price. I make and keep contact with the host, by phone and mail, throughout the week to reassure myself that this time it’s not going to fall through.
Well, I bet you know what comes next: the minute I turn on my cellphone at arrivals at JFK there is a cancellation message from Airbnb. This is followed up by a phone call by an assistant that says she is sorry and invites me to find something else or, alternatively, to have a full refund (as if there was ever a question about that!) Anyone can imagine my panic, with nowhere to go, at 7:00pm Friday evening, with two children dead tired after an 11-hour flight. We couldn’t find a single replacement listing in Manhattan. Airbnb simply didn’t care what was to happen to us. I asked that they put us up in a hotel; they said we were entitled to nothing, so I had to find a hotel on the Internet with available rooms, at exorbitant last-minute prices. We ended up paying double what we had budgeted, plus about one thousand Euros in roaming costs for telephones and data! Never again!