A Southern Manitoba travel agent says it has been a very busy week dealing with clients who have had their travel plans disrupted by all of the flight cancellations being felt across the globe.
The week of Christmas is already an extremely busy time for the travel industry, not only because people are flying to see their loved ones, but also for those planning a Christmas vacation. When massive storms walloped North America over Christmas, thousands of flights were cancelled, resulting in travellers either being stranded at their destination or stuck at home.
Deborah Schroeder of South East Travel says she had clients impacted around the globe. Travellers were stranded in Canada, the United States, Africa, Europe, Asia, South America and the South Pacific.
"Simply because we couldn't get planes moving," she says.
Schroeder says for some of her clients it meant leaving a couple of days later than planned, for others, it meant extending their vacation at their destination by a couple of nights and for still others, it resulted in finding them new lodging during their travels. Whatever the case, Schroeder says representatives and airlines have been working around the clock to assist travellers and get everyone moving as quickly as possible.
Schroeder says this last week has taught travellers at least two important lessons. First of all, the importance of buying travel insurance. For those declining the proper coverage, Schroeder says they need to be prepared to absorb some, if not, all the expenses incurred from cancelled flights.
"Make medical, cancellation and interruption coverage part of your travel budget, they do go hand in hand," Schroeder urges. "Make sure that you purchase a coverage that covers you, not just selecting it by a price point. Make sure you read the inclusions and exclusions."
She notes the second lesson the last week has taught us is the convenience of booking through a travel agent. Schroeder says travel agents are equipped and trained to assist in events like this last week. Depending on the case, she notes using a travel agent can also prevent a guest from needing to visit the airport to have their ticket exchanged in the event of a cancelled flight.