MoneyDon't Waste Your Money


Travel agents scrambling to help get clients their refunds

Posted at 6:03 PM, Mar 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-16 19:11:44-04

Many cruise lines and resorts have begun shutting down.

And airlines are dropping flights.

It has folks scrambling to get vouchers or refunds for their springtime travel.

Are you thinking of calling your airline or cruise line and postponing your travel plans?

Prepare to wait as long as two or three hours on hold!

Airlines are swamped right now with calls from nervous fliers. And travel agents are scrambling to pick up the slack.

Lesley Sawhook is a travel agent who these days is more of a counselor to her clients.

"I can call Disney Cruise Line as soon as we hang up right now,” she tells one concerned client.

They are now calling nonstop asking about postponing cruises and European vacations.

"My email has been blowing up and my phone with concerned guests who are traveling this spring break and beyond,” she said.

And the biggest question she has been asked?

“Some of my guests who do have small children are genuinely concerned are trying to get me to move those (trips) to future dates."

Sawhook says it's almost impossible to get a refund for a flight or cruise, even with insurance.

But the good news: more airlines and cruise lines will let you rescheduled to later this year.

"I had to make a change with Delta Airlines and they waived the $200 penalty,” she said. “American Airlines is doing the same."

Travel agents say just about the only people not expressing concerns about upcoming travel are those who've booked camping and driving trips this spring.

And Sawhook says she has already seen a move back toward domestic travel for this coming summer to the United States and Mexico.

It's travel agents like Sawhook who are trying to give nervous travelers a little bit of comfort in this uncomfortable time.

"We all don't want to lose the business, so if that means moving things to keep everyone safe and meet protocol we will do that,” she said.

One last tip: don’t get mad if your airline or agent cannot give you a refund. In most cases you'll have to be satisfied with a future travel voucher, so you don’t waste your money.