Travel is back in a big way … and so are delays due to staffing that hasn’t recovered as quickly as traveler interest.
Updated January 10, 2022
The airports are getting busy again, a sure sign of recovery for the travel industry. More and more people are getting back in the air and making up for lost time, and tourism is bouncing back faster than anticipated. This is great news for all of us … until you realize that airline staffing hasn’t come back at a proportionate rate to demand, especially since no industry has not been impacted by Omicron’s spread. Because as surely as travel is back, so are flight delays, and grumpy customers who are eager not to waste yet another minute after a too-long hiatus.
So what do you tell your customers when they’re at the airport facing unexpected delays? And what should you do, if anything at all? Here’s ALG Vacations’® best advice for this all-too-common situation.
Avoid worry—offer Travel Protection Plus from the get-go.
Cancel for Any Reason is often the primary reason people add Travel Protection Plus to their vacation package. Since the edict requiring a negative COVID-19 test was released, our expanded quarantine stay coverage, offered at the highest reimbursement levels of anyone in the industry, plus already generous medical care and evacuation plan has been a close second. But did you know Travel Protection Plus also offers up to $500 for missed connections due to flight delays, up to $300 on luggage delays of longer than 8 hours, and that the $3,000 travel delay cap also covers you for Common Carrier Delays?
Make sure to fill in customer contact info in your VAX booking.
If severe weather is on the horizon, you can be sure delays will follow. This is a given during the winter months, beginning in the fall, when hurricane squalls begin to build. Staying connected and on top of airline updates can help you get ahead of it, though, which is why we added a field for customer contact information in our VAX booking forms! This makes it so that if the option to change the flight at no charge due to weather pops up, they’ll get alerted to it. You and your customers can also check with the carrier on their websites, but it’s a nice convenience to have the notification proactively pop up.
Know your Fly Rights and carrier delay amenity policies.
There aren’t many, to be honest. U.S. airlines aren’t even held responsible for keeping to their own schedules; they are not guaranteed. And in the U.S., reasons you would think are under the pIf severe weather is on the horizon, you can be sure delays will follow. This is a given during the winter months, beginning in the fall, when hurricane squalls begin to build. Staying connected and on top of airline updates can help you get ahead of it, though, which is why we added a field for customer contact information in our VAX booking forms! This makes it so that if the option to change the flight at no charge due to weather pops up, they’ll get alerted to it. You and your customers can also check with the carrier on their websites, but it’s a nice convenience to have the notification proactively pop up.
Get acquainted with ALGV’s flight cancellation action plan.
There are a few if/then situations that you need to think about when airlines initiate cancellations. The good news is, for the majority of them, when you book through ALG Vacations®, you won’t even need to cancel the affected booking outright. For example, if it’s the day of travel and your customer is already at the airport, have them talk directly to the carrier representative, who should be able to go ahead and get them rebooked. If they’re successful in getting a same-day flight, your next step is to contact the hotel or Amstar DMC or whatever transfer company they’re using to notify them of the change. You can also email ALGV’s During Travel team. If the flight is shifted to the next day, well, now you have to call in. We don’t recommend that you email or chat, but we do make it easy to get in touch. Use our single call line 1.866.ALGDESK to make new arrangements.
If the departure dates are changing by two or more days, we advise that you create a new booking but again, do not cancel the original booking. Call that same number listed above and we’ll give you a travel credit to apply to the new reservation. And don’t worry about the amount—we already have a process in place to ensure that it’s correct. This can all be done on one call.
Keep an eye on other options.
Like we said, if a flight is outright canceled, most airlines will work with you to rebook you on their first flight out at no additional charge. If the delay between originally scheduled departure and the next one is significant, passengers can ask that their ticket be endorsed to another carrier, which they may do at their discretion. This is logistically more challenging for the airlines in question, so it’s not a common solution, but if you can present proof of availability with codeshare partners, you may have a better chance. And keep an open mind and broaden the geographic range—a nearby local airport may end up having a more amenable option, too.
If they’re not satisfied with any of these options, contact the ALGV During Travel team for resolution. Although we may not be able to book a new one-way, we can at least help you cancel the existing one, request a refund, and allow your customer to book a new flight directly with the carrier. We can also work on date shifts if the booking is not leaving that day or the next if you select the Pre-Travel or During Travel option on the call prompts on our 1.866.ALGDESK hotline.
The most important thing to remember, however, is that no airline is obligated to provide these considerations, which is why it pays to be nice and of course, to have a travel advisor on your side.
Being in the know and having tips like these in your back pocket are part of what differentiates the service and TLC a travel professional can provide a vacationer versus when they book on their own and are left to fend for themselves. ALG Vacations® is committed to continuing to provide references and resources that develop the expertise of travel advisors like yourself, including with our Know. Grow. GO! educational webinar series. Sign up for one of our many rotating topics or watch one on demand now!