In the wake of the announcement by Unite, the union that represents British Airways’ (BA) cabin crew, that it has voted to call a strike for a period of 12 days between December 22, 2009 and January 2, 2010, ASTA is reminding consumers about the need to be armed with the best and most up-to-date travel advice and information. ASTA notes that helpful information for travelers, such as advice for traveling during an airline strike, can be found on ASTA’s consumer website at www.TravelSense.org.
“Traveling during and around an airline strike, especially one during the holidays, 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 to use an ASTA travel agent—they are there for their clients before, during and after a trip,” said ASTA President and Chair Chris Russo. “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 Officially Called
Consumers holding tickets on an airline for travel during a potential strike 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 Find a Travel Agent directory at www.TravelSense.org.
* Constant contact: Check your flight status daily and make certain that your travel agent and the airline have your contact information (e-mail address and mobile phone number) in the event they need to contact you to reschedule a flight or alert you to an itinerary change.
* 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.
* 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, your 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 snacks may make all the difference. Remember that any water brought with you to the airport will have to be consumed before going through the TSA checkpoint.
* 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.