Good Neighbor Insurance, www.gninsurance.com , realizes that there are “ah ha” moments during our travels. Even though Tom Hanks made it look “amazing cool” to enjoy living in an airport in the movie, The Terminal (2004), we prefer to enjoy our living in our lazy boy chair at home or on a blanket basking in the sunny beaches of Bali. Here are our thoughts on things we all should do prior and during those “ah ha” moments.
Way before one gets to the airport:
1. Insurance is one of those words we do not like to hear. Why? Because we are purchasing something that we plan never to use. Right? But sadly, we live in a world of ups and downs. Trip cancellation insurance, www.gninsurance.com/tripcancellation/ , is a great way to provide you peace of mind if cancellation of your trip ever has to occur.
2. Even if you do not think you need trip cancellation you may need international medical and evacuation coverage, https://www.gninsurance.com/international-travel-health-insurance-plans/ . Yes, even on vacations we can get sick or break an arm or leg! Even though credit cards work overseas you would rather spend your hard earned money on fun things like clothes and fun things to do rather than a doctor bill. Right?
And yes, at times your US health coverage will cover your medical bill overseas (you will have to pay up first and then get reimbursed) but they never will cover medical evacuation and other medical coverage overseas. Please allow me to repeat this important announcement; US health insurance never covers evacuation coverage (think of it like medical transportation), and other international medical care like return of mortal remains, etc.
Just for kicks, do you know what a typical evacuation cost in 2010? Being in business going on 14 years we have (sadly for their sake) seen this benefit used by our clients. We had an evacuation from Brazil to the Mayo clinic in Florida and the total medical evacuation cost $26,000. Another client was medically evacuated from Liberia, Africa to Italy due to a possible/probable heart attack. The total medical evacuation cost was $82,000 (this was a medical chopper and medical airplane with 1 doctor and 2 nurses). There are no deductibles and copays when medical evacuation is used. Both of our clients, on the above examples, purchased an international travel policy through Good Neighbor Insurance, www.gninsurance.com , for under $150. As the commercial says: Priceless!
Before the cancellation announcement:
1. Register for Flight Status alerts on flightstats.com and your airline.
2. Make sure that you have extras in your carry-on in case of an unscheduled delay (or lost baggage). Don’t forget snacks and battery chargers (or extra batteries).
3. Check to see if your connecting flight is still on schedule before you board your first flight.
After the cancellation announcement:
1. If you flight is canceled, get in line immediately and use the gate or check-in agents. You may also be able to re-book online or find out if the airline has already re-booked you. At the same time call your travel agent to get your flight rescheduled.
2. Those who are flexible and resourceful, work the standby list. Even if a flight is completely booked, there could be a last second no-show.
3. If you are not getting quick enough action, you can tweet your complaints. Savvy airlines monitor the social networks and give quicker action to stop those bad tweets.
4. Purchase a day pass to your favorite airline club. You’ll have a more comfortable wait and more accommodating agents to work with.
5. As soon as you know that you have an overnight, start calling hotels and get your self booked.
6. Request the airport to give you discount vouchers toward hotel rooms. (This is now an airport service).
7. The courtesy phone is your friend. Use it to locate, showers, cots, blankets and even diapers when traveling with children.
1. Take a train or bus to a nearby city to fly out of.
2. Buy a seat on a discount airline and ask for a refund from your airline.
Things to Remember:
In order to remain profitable, airlines are not running as many flights as in the past and those that are running are at capacity. If your flight gets delayed due to weather or some other reason, your chance of experiencing unexpected overnight is rising. To accommodate this, airports are stepping up their services. Many airports now require the restaurants to stay open 24 hours and prepare more food when there are canceled flights. Shuttles are available to take people to hotels and between terminals. The largest airports also have shops that provide needed supplies like diapers, over-the-medicine, ear plugs and prepaid phone cards. In the past, the airlines took care of the passengers when there were cancellations due to weather, now, we can look to the airports to take care of us.
Doug Gulleson ( www.douggulleson.com) loves to scuba dive overseas and makes sure he has his US health care and overseas health care information with him at all times when he travels. Keep our blog close by you, www.gntravelinsurance.com, for continual updates on the changes throughout the global health coverage arena.