The “bomb cyclone” caused travel disruptions across the United States last week, and now Protravel International and Tzell Travel Group are sharing stories on how their travel agents swooped in to help stranded clients.
The storm caused airlines to cancel 9,794 flights and delay 46,487 more. During the two days after the storm, Travel Leaders Group's Airline Relations department handled more than 1,000 requests for assistance. Many of the requests resulted in successfully re-accommodating customers with the help of the agency's deep relationships with airlines, Travel Leaders said.
Here are a few of their stories from rescues last week:
"I had a mother and daughter who were being treated to an exciting trip to Tahiti and Australia, booked long ago. They just happened to be leaving the day of the storm and had the first leg of each of their flights cancelled, twice. I arranged a connection at 5:30 a.m. from Providence (30 minutes before the storm was supposed to hit the Boston area), to Detroit where there was no weather issue, on to Phoenix and from there to LAX in time for them to make their flight to Bora Bora. They were thrilled and grateful and are now enjoying their overwater bungalow at the Four Seasons Bora Bora." — Travel Advisor Marcella McGregor, Tzell Travel Group (New York, NY)
"My clients texted me at 10:30 p.m. the night before the storm to say Air China just cancelled their return home from Beijing the next day and did not rebook them on anything. I was able to get them on flights one day later on another carrier and booked them a night at the Peninsula Beijing. Then I contacted the sales person at the Peninsula to let her know they had a rough morning and she assured me she would VIP their stay. After that, I checked them in for the new flight and emailed the new boarding passes." — Travel Advisor Laura Chapman, Tzell Travel Group (New York, NY)
"For a few days I've been monitoring a client's itinerary. She was in Cancun and worried her return flight to Philadelphia would be canceled the day after the storm. We booked a backup flight for the following day, monitored her original flight and let her know when it was on its way to Cancun. We continued monitoring the flight and the traveler until we received a report that it was off the ground. At that point we canceled the backup. Our client was thrilled that we were able to assist and track her travel from start to finish." — Travel Advisor Liz Tippit, Protravel International (Chicago, IL)
"I had a family of four scheduled to leave for the Bahamas the day after the storm. We knew their flight would be cancelled so I automatically booked them another flight one day later, and reserved them a backup flight in case the new flight was cancelled, too. They didn't have travel insurance so their hotel could have charged them for the night they missed, but I called and arranged for a credit. I also rescheduled their airport transfer, dinner reservations and golf tee times. They didn't have to lift a finger, or travel to the airport and wait around to rebook. So, aside from the trip starting a day later, my clients didn't notice any other disruption to their plans." — Travel Advisor Josh Alexander, Protravel International (New York, NY)