Coronavirus travel suspensions, cancellations costing travel agent money

Coronavirus travel suspensions, cancellations costing travel agent money

HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WAFF) - For Huntsville travel agent Susan McDougal, it’s been a long week.

The spread of the novel Coronavirus, travel suspensions and cancellations have her scrambling to adjust the plans of her customers, and even she called in her mom to man the phones.

“I’m taking a deep breath, and I’m just doing it one day at a time,” McDougal said.

"Yes it's going to hurt my business, it's going to hurt my business for a time to come."

She said she faces two big challenges, navigating a changing landscape of airline and cruise announcements, and getting her customers home.

She said air carriers have been a challenge to get changes and refunds, but cruises have been more accommodating.

McDougal said each situation is different, but to reach out to a travel agent if you have questions on how to secure the refund or exchange you’re looking for.

She recommends two things to travelers and would-be travelers during this period:

  • Invest in travel insurance that allows you to cancel for any reason. Not every travel insurance does this, so ensure the policy would cover a Coronavirus-related excuse.
  • If you have plans and are considering cancelling, wait for the company to make the first move. She recommends waiting until two weeks before the trip before pulling the plug. The company cancelling a trip is most likely to secure a full refund.

She said she’s been working in the travel business for more than 30 years, and that the market will bounce back.

“I’ve seen all of it, this is not going to stop the public from traveling, and it’s certainly not going to stop me from doing what I want to do,” she said.

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