Update: Sandy Spoils Travel Plans: How to Recover Quickly
Wednesday, October 31st, 2012
The air travel system in the northeast corridor is rebounding from the ravages of Hurricane Sandy, with all three NYC area airports returning to regular schedules.
Although weather is considered a “force majeure,” something out of the airlines’ control, most airlines’ policies are waiving change fees and fare differences within a certain time frame.
As I predicted in an earlier version of this post, many airlines have extended the deadlines for both rebooking and flying in order to accommodate the legions of travelers who need to shuffle plans.
If you are totally fed up, (and I don’t blame you) you are entitled to request a full refund if your flight was cancelled. So cut your losses and move on. It’s going to take at least a week to get flights back on schedule, so weigh whether you really need to take this trip now.
The prospect of calling an airline to make any changes can be daunting at best and close to fruitless at worst. Unless of course, you are comfortable with becoming completely annoyed by hanging on for hours.
You can try the Elite travel line if you are a frequent flier, or the international res number as a suggested trick. Neither of these tactics comes with guarantees of talking with a human.
Remember though, if you have a reservation for a flight, and you have given the airline your phone number and/or email, (note to self: always do this) they will usually contact you. So don’t panic.
Check your airline’s website for their rebooking policies so you know what your options are.
Follow flightaware.com to track flight cancellations.
Follow nycaviation.com for New York area airport and flight developments.
Airline passengers aren’t the only ones impacted by the weather. Cruise ships reserve the right to alter their itineraries, resulting in skipped ports of call and sometimes shortened voyages.
Compensation, mostly in the form of onboard credit, is issued at the discretion of the cruise line.
With a storm that has as wide a swath as Sandy, many ships can’t avoid some significant rocking and rolling. Some ships have to remain at sea before they can find safe harbor. All ships were ordered out of New York harbor as per the Coast Guard, so as not to become victim of Sandy’s wrath tied up to the pier.
For the future, here’s a few sure-fire ways to hurricane proof your next trip:
- Avoid travel in September and October, the height of the hurricane season. And as we now know, November can be a big risk also.
- Sign up for alerts from your airline and follow them on social media, where they generally give clues to their storm status.
- Vacationers should book a resort with a hurricane guarantee that spells out refund and credit conditions in the initial booking.
-If you are stranded, ask the hotel for a discount because of your circumstances. Some hotels readily market them.
- At this time of year, it pays not to get too attached to a specific cruise line itinerary.
Finally, weigh whether traveling during hurricane season might be worth the risk.
Many destinations offer their best deals when storm flags are flying.
No deal, however, is worth risking your life.
Consider buying hurricane travel insurance. However, it must be done before the storm is named. It’s the only way you will be covered.
Try a travel agent. It will cost you for their services to book your flight, because they no longer receive commissions from the airlines. But the fee could be worth its weight in gold when it comes time to maneuver through the storm clouds of rebooking.