Furloughs cause flight delays and cancellations

Air travelers are experiencing delays the government warned us about a few months ago. The delays are reportedly caused by forced federal spending cuts. On Monday, New York City-area airports reported delays for all incoming flights because air traffic controllers were forced to take unpaid time off.

Overall, furloughs kicked in on Sunday for 47,000 Federal Aviation Administration workers, including 15,000 air traffic controllers.

“Throughout today, the FAA has put in place a series of traffic management initiatives around the country to manage both reduced staffing as a result of employee furloughs and weather related issues,” Department of Transportation Press Secretary Justin Nisly said in a statement.

The FAA said there were 400 furlough-related flight delays on Sunday alone. Examples of the flight delays occurred on two Alaska Airlines flights destined for Los Angeles International Airport. The flights were diverted 60 miles away to Ontario International Airport Sunday night due to furloughs and bad weather. Due to the delay, the airline had to bus passengers to LAX. However, the airline waived rebooking fees through Tuesday, citing furloughs.

These delays are the only beginning. FAA workers are required to take a total of 11 days off by the month of September. The workers must take off at least one day every two weeks which means 1,500 controllers could be off the job per day.

“The best indicator of what this is going to be like is (that) we ran delays on Sunday — not one of the busiest days of the week — … on a perfect weather day,” said Stephen Abraham, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association representative in JFK.

In addition to delays, there were another 400 flights canceled Monday and 50 flights canceled Tuesday cancelled as of 5 am ET.

So what is your best bet for dealing with the delays? Be sure to check your flight status before heading to the airport. Be sure to purchase travel insurance to make sure your travel investment is protected against delays, cancellations and many other unforeseeable events.

We’d like to hear your thoughts about the recent flight delays and cancellations. Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

Kindess shining through tragedy for Boston travelers

Here at TravelSafe, we continue to keep the Boston Marathon bombing victims and their families in our thoughts. In the midst of the pain and heartache, stories of heroism and kindness offer a glimmer a hope.

We wanted to take a moment and share some of these stories – inside and outside of the travel industry.

  • All of the major airlines and several hotel chains are waiving some fees and penalties for travelers looking to change their Boston travel plans after Monday’s bombings at the Boston Marathon.Here’s a summary of airline waivers as of early Tuesday:AirTran: Boston passengers with flights booked for April 15-17 may reschedule their flights up to three days after their original scheduled departure date.American: Boston passengers with flights booked for April 15-17 may reschedule their flights through April 20. The ticket reissue fee will be waived for one change.Delta: Boston passengers with flights booked for April 15-17 may reschedule their flights through April 20. Ticket reissue fees will be waived, but a fare difference may apply.JetBlue: Boston passengers with flight booked for April 15-17 may reschedule their flights through April 21. Both change fees and fare differences will be waived. For travel beyond April 21, the change fee will be waived, but a fare difference may apply.Southwest: Boston passengers with flights booked for April 15-17 may reschedule their flights to within 14 days of the original travel date. Southwest has a standard policy of not charging change fees.

    United: Boston passengers with flights booked for April 15-17 may reschedule their flights to within one year of the date of ticket issue. The change fee will be waived, but a fare difference may apply.

    US Airways: Boston passengers with flights booked for April 15-17 may reschedule their flights through April 21. The change fee will be waived, but a fare difference may apply.

    As always, check with your airline directly for any changes to the issued waivers.

  • Sandra Sukstorf had only recently watched her husband cross the finish line of the Boston Marathon when she heard the explosion. As she and her husband wandered the streets, he so exhausted he could barely walk down the stairs, another hotel opened its lobby to the tired runners. When they couldn’t get back to their room, Sukstorf posted a message online and, within half an hour, heard from more than 200 strangers offering a ride or a place to stay.
    • El Pelon Taqueria, a Mexican restaurant with locations in Boston’s Fenway and Brighton neighborhoods, promised free Wifi, outlets, food and drinks to people who needed it. Owner Jose Torres said on Twitter that he was only repaying the kindness Boston showed him in 2007 and 2009, when his restaurants burned down twice in electrical fires.
      • Each of these acts remind us that when humanity is in the midst of an inhuman tragedy, it rises to show that kindness and compassion is all around. Tell us, what acts of kindness have inspired you during this tragedy?

    Travel to Cancun on the Rise

    According to the Cancun Convention & Visitors Bureau, more than 2 million visitors will be visiting Cancun this Spring.

    Throughout the past month, families, students and friends are selecting Cancun for their vacation destination. In fact, Easter week saw more than 500 daily flights and an approximate 90 percent occupancy rate. The vibrant city held events like Oasis Dance U brought together a variety of performers from the worlds of electronic music, hip hop and dance, as well as top DJs from around the world that attracted thousands of vacationing college students and other audiences.

    Now it is your turn to tell us – is Cancun a popular spot with your clients? Has anyone shared safety concerns about traveling to Mexico? Leave a comment below, write on our Facebook page or Tweet us. We look forward to hearing from you!

    Read also…
    Travel Insurance Available for Canadian Residents
    Selling Summer Vacations
    TravelSafe Vacation Plan Named Number One for Second Consecutive Year

    Get Featured as the Most Social Travel Advisor

    Are you a travel agent who connects with their clients on Facebook and Twitter? Do you pin exciting destinations on your Pinterest page? Do you share interesting travel tips and articles on your Google+ page? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be featured as the Most Social Travel Advisor in Travel Agent Central.

    The publication is reaching out to travel professionals who are on top of their social media game. If you are using social media to answer your clients’ questions on Facebook or boosting sales through Twitter, they want to hear how social has worked for you.

    Make sure to nominate yourself here by April 30, 2013 and share your agency information along with your proudest social media moments and tips for other agents.

    Please pass this along to friends and other travel agents who may want to enter as well, and don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Good luck to all!

    Travel Insurance Available for Canadian Residents


    We are excited to announce that beginning April 10, 2013, US travel agents may now protect Canadian residents and citizens with the most popular TravelSafe travel insurance protection plans – Basic, Classic and Classic Plus (Quebec excluded).

    Each plan offers distinct advantages depending on your customers’ needs. For coverage highlights, see the chart below.

    Coverage Highlights for Canadians Basic Classic Classic Plus
    Max Trip Cost/Days $10,000/30D $100,000/30D $100,000/30D
    Max Age 79 80* 80*

    *For passengers age 80, max eligible Trip Cost is $15,000.

    In addition, when purchasing Canadian plans for your customers, a final purchasing stage will require you to complete an enrollment with the assistance of Northbridge Insurance Co., our Canadian underwriter.  Since US travel professionals are not licensed in Canada, we are required by Canadian Provincial regulations to complete enrollments in the following manner.

    After entering and submitting the customer’s information, you will receive the following notice:

    “To complete this enrollment, your client, or you and your client, must call the following number for verification purposes: 1-877-851-4523.”

    Please have your client’s Enrollment ID available when you call.

    For additional information, please see the Canadian TravelSafe Travel Agent Guide. If you have any further questions, leave a comment below or call us 1-800-523-8020. We’d be happy to speak with you.

    Thank you for your continued support!

    TravelSafe team

    Read also…
    Selling Summer Vacations
    Travel Safe Vacation Plan Named Number One for Second Consecutive Year
    Let’s Get Social