Friday, December 19, 2008

Travel Protection - Is it worth the money?

This is an "optional" purchase offered along with one's cruise plans. 1/3 or more travelors opt NOT to get the travel protection offered when booking a cruise (I have no idea of the stats for other travel.) But is this protection worth it? I believe it is.

Not because we, as agents, make some additional commission, but for peace of mind! We learned this lesson the hard way years ago before becoming agents. It cost me over $3400 to learn this lesson but that is a different story. Today's is current.

We have a client going on a 10 day S. Caribbean cruise departing from San Juan today. I received a call yesterday that they were worried because of a major snowstorm coming into Detroit this morning and would the flight get out in time to catch the connection in Miami. Well, the plane boarded passengers and then deboarded them. They reboarded an hour or so later, left the gate and then returned (mechanical problem). They finally left Detroit about 4 hours late.

Needless to say, they missed the connection and the only two flights to get them to San Juan in time to catch the ship today are full (we're hoping stand by works for them as people connecting from other flights may be delayed more depending on where they are coming from - mean but my clients get my priority!)

We can not even help them get to the first port of call tomorrow (flights and time schedule) and the 2nd best scenario is to get them to the ship on Sunday. This means hotels two nights in San Juan (if they get the flight that is too late for the ship), purchasing a ticket from San Juan to St. Marten, meals, etc., and will the luggage actually catch up to them? Not to even mention lost time on the cruise if they get there at all.

Without travel protection, one is "out the monies" spent. Fortunately, these folks listened to me and purchased when they booked about 4-5 months ago. All costs will be reimbursed (estimate with the flight to St. Marten) about $650-900 or so plus the 2 lost days of the cruise! And if they don't ever get to the cruise - $2700 they paid for the booking. cost of their travel protection is $198 total.

Right now, they are at the Miami airport getting on the stand by list for the 2:30 flight or the 4:10 flight. With luck, they will be on one of those flights, get to San Juan, get on the ship, and begin their long awaited vacation.

Whether they make it to the ship today is still unknown. But the "peace of mind" protection - that's what I call travel protection - is definitely worth the small amount paid, even if they get to the ship and enjoy the entire cruise and do not have to file a claim.

Think about it the next time you book a cruise. Of course, whenever possible get to your embarkation destination a day early to be even safer. Especially in the winter when coming from up north.

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