With the White House announcement that President Bush is unlikely to interfere in the event of a strike by Northwest Airlines’ mechanics, the American Society of Travel Agents (ASTA) reminds consumers about the need to be armed with the best and most up-to-date travel advice and information.
“Traveling during and around an airline strike adds one more level of frustration for today’s travelers. One of the best ways to make the trip a little easier is to prepare carefully and arm yourself with the information you need to make good decisions. That’s one of the reasons we have so many consumer-friendly tips on TravelSense.org—so travelers can find all the background information they need in one place before embarking on their journey,” said ASTA President and CEO Kathryn W. Sudeikis, CTC. “Travelers looking for information on coping with potential airline strikes need look no further than TravelSense and their local ASTA travel agent.”
Before a Strike Is Called…
Consumers holding tickets on an airline for travel during the period immediately following the mandated 30-day cooling off period should:
* Review airline options. If you absolutely, positively have to be there overnight, talk to your ASTA travel agent. Travel agents can help consumers explore all the options, be it an alternative flight or departure from a different airport or on a different airline. To find the nearest ASTA member travel agency, visit the Travel Agent Directory at www.TravelSense.com.
* Consider your ticket. Consumers with a refundable ticket can simply purchase a ticket with another airline and request a refund for the original ticket. For those holding non-refundable tickets, options are more limited. Consumers may cancel their ticket for a future travel credit, however, hefty fees might come into play. Talk to a travel agent before making any decisions.
* Request a paper ticket. Except for partner airlines, most airlines that accept a ticket as part of a re-accommodation offer still need a paper ticket. By ordering a paper ticket in advance, consumers can avoid long lines at the airport to have their e-ticket converted to paper. Be aware, though, most airlines charge up to $50 to provide a paper ticket.
* Consider Insurance. Some policies cover strikes, but get all the details from the insurance company, such as whether any airlines are exempt or what amount is covered.
During a Strike…
* Carry that cell phone. If a flight is cancelled at the last moment, a travel agent is only a phone call away.
* Pack snacks. It might seem like one more thing to carry, but when faced with a long wait in line or waiting for a delayed flight, having your own supply of water and unsalted snacks may make all the difference.
* Need something special? Travelers who need any special services may do well to choose another carrier. [Pets, oxygen and stretchers count as special services]. Talk to an ASTA travel agent about what options are best for you.
For helpful consumer tips such as these or to find the nearest ASTA member travel agency, consumers should visit the Society’s Web site at www.TravelSense.org.