Hurricane Sandy, now meeting up with some weather event friends along the U.S. East Coast, will cause travel delays that can quickly turn into an unplanned, extended stay, costing thousands of dollars per traveler. Mike Kelly, CEO of leading travel assistance company On Call International, shared his top tips for travelers trapped by a serious travel delay.
Stay Informed – Airlines begin preparing days in advance for hurricanes and large storms. If you are scheduled to fly before or after a storm, it is a good idea to check in with the airline carrier (either by phone or the web) a few days before departure for any changes in the itinerary; signing up for email notifications when booking flights are extremely helpful too. If a delay occurs when you are at the airport, stay in the vicinity of the departure kiosk as this is where flight updates are likely to be found. “I recommend turning to social media for up-to-date news and information. Twitter is a great resource for breaking news. Travelers can follow their airlines (@UnitedAirlines, etc.) as well as On Call International, at @OnCallIntl and other resources like CNN (@cnnbrk), the Weather Channel (@weatherchannel), and The New York Times (@nytimes)” states Kelly.
We recommend some additional sources for information that affects cruise travelers. Checking the cruise line websites is a good idea. CruiseCritic‘s Hurricane Zone continues to be the most up-to-date source of what each cruise line is doing when a storm threatens. CruiseRadio.net offers a nice mix of current information combined with on-air interviews with those who know about such matters
Stay Prepared – “Remaining “in the know” is the key to navigating any disaster,” says Kelly. “With On Call’s pre-trip destination and health information services, available for travelers, On Call is prepared to evacuate members to safety or to appropriate medical care. On Call also offers support to members who find themselves trapped due to delays and will assist in switching flights and locating accommodations. Additional services include: translation assistance, lost luggage assistance, and travel document replacement.”
Stay A Step Ahead – “Emergencies are far too common these days. With travel, medical and security assistance services, travelers’ trips can be cut short instantly,” warns Kelly. ” When a disaster strikes, travelers are already a step ahead – they can simply call On Call’s Global Response Center, where On Call’s 24/7/365 team of Assistance Coordinators can help coordinate any arrangements – from new hotel accommodations and flight arrangements to medical assistance and much more.”
Another way to stay a step ahead is to have booked that cruise through a travel agent or the cruise line directly. Online cruise brokers offer little, if any, assistance in case of an emergency.
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