As airlines cancelled thousands of flights this week due to Hurricane Sandy, it’s a good reminder that natural disasters can strike at any time. That being said, we’ve put together the Top 4 things you can do in the future, to avoid situations that stranded travellers often face:
1. Stay Informed
If you think your flight may be affected by the weather, check your airline’s website directly for travel alerts and advisories. If you booked your trip through a Flight Centre travel agent, your best bet is contact them (our agents are available 24/7 to assist you). Other websites like FlightStats offer interactive North American maps with details on which airports are experiencing delays and cancellations. iPad apps like Airport Zoom provide easy access to essential information like flight status, interactive terminal maps, weather conditions and emergency messages. If you’re dealing with a tropical storm or Hurricane, The National Hurricane Center website also offers detailed maps which track particular Hurricanes/tropical storms.
2. Buy the Right Travel Insurance
You can buy a travel insurance policy that will cover you for money lost if your flight is cancelled because of bad weather and that provides 24/7 emergency travel services. Ask one of our Travel Consultants about finding the right travel insurance package for you or check out our travel insurance section on our website to view our various plans or get a quote for your next trip. An illness or accident can happen at any time, whether you’re only traveling for a few days, or a few months. The cost of U.S. health care for example is very expensive and very little is covered by your government health insurance plan. The cost of travel insurance for short trips is minimal, and it will give you peace of mind. Also remember that medical coverage is provincial so you may not be covered for certain things even travelling domestically.
3. Use a Travel Agent
Whether it’s a natural disaster, an airline/airport strike, or civil unrest affecting your travel plans, our agents work furiously around the clock to re-book travellers with cancelled flights and are often the quickest way to do it. During these high traffic times, calling the airline directly can often be an impossible task.
Travel agents have direct access to airline booking classes and can give you up-t0-the-minute information on what is available. They are also well aware of an airline’s re-scheduling and cancellations policies, and can assist you with your needs in a quick manner.
4. Stay in Touch
Plan to stay in touch with family and friends back home. Nothing is scarier than not knowing if your loved one is okay when a disaster hits. Leave a detailed copy of your itinerary at home, with information on where and how to reach you. Take a list of emergency phone numbers with you, including your embassy, your travel agent, your insurance company, and local authorities.
Looking for more information on travel insurance or booking your next trip? Contact one of our travel consultants at 1-877-967-5302 or contact your closest store.