Between weather delays, natural disasters, flight cancellations, lost luggage and much more, a lot can happen on vacation. Travel agents act as the traveler’s advocate in the event something goes wrong, helping navigate the challenge of making any necessary itinerary changes.
“As travel agents, we have seen it all,” Troy said. “While the traveler may have never had to deal with a weather delay, we have. We know the details and the best way to handle the situation. We can talk to the airlines, resorts, etc., to make sure you are fully taken care of in the best way possible. We will find the best possible solution for the given situation whether it means changing dates of the trip completely or just rebooking them on the next available flight.”
“My clients have my cellphone number and at times I have gotten a call in the middle of the night,” said Ashley Knebelsberger, a AAA Travel Agent in Dayton, Ohio. “When a couple was accidentally left behind while a tour bus went from Prague to Berlin, I was able to recommend train transfers to Berlin and secured a taxi ride to the appropriate hotel to rejoin the group.”
“If their flight is cancelled, I get them another flight out and secure it while there are 50 people waiting in line to talk to the customer service person,” Platero said. “I have had clients put off ships into the hospital and I have coordinated a hotel for the loved one and flights home when needed. (I) also helped clients cancel tours and hotels when they have been injured in the middle of their trip so they won’t be penalized.”
When clients of Landay’s on their honeymoon had their flight to Hawaii canceled, they were told the next flight wouldn’t leave until that evening, so they wouldn’t arrive until 10 p.m. Distraught, they called Landay.
“I looked up the flight schedules for that particular airline and saw that they actually had three other flights, all of which left earlier than 5 p.m.,” Landay said. “The reservation agent was simply pushing all passengers to later flights indiscriminately.”
Landay told her clients to get in line to speak to the reservation agent. When they reached the front of the line, they gave the agent their cell phone to speak to Landay.
“I told her that I could see two seats on their 1 p.m. flight in our live air system,” Landay said, “and I expected her to honor their tickets on that earlier flight instead. She did. And they got to Hawaii four hours earlier to start their honeymoon.”
When a group of clients on their way to Rome had their flight canceled, they were so discouraged they were ready to cancel their trip, but Teri Reilly, a AAA Travel Agent in Northfield, New Jersey, was able to get their trip back on track using her travel experience and contacts. She quickly found her clients a hotel near the airport with a free shuttle, then turned her attention to their Rome itinerary. Spotting another unpleasant surprise, she called a friend in Italy, where she has traveled numerous times.
“She is a tour guide in Rome and had always offered to help me and my clients if I ever needed her. Well, this time I really needed her,” Reilley said. “I found out that there was a transportation strike going on and I needed to get my clients to their hotel somehow.”
Reilly’s friend picked the clients up at the airport and even called their tour conductor at the hotel to say they would be late and find out when and where they would meet for their Vatican tour the following morning.
“My clients were so happy and raved about my friend and all that I was able to do to get them back on track,” Reilley said.