Steve Jermanok’s Active Travels: Why You Still Need a Travel Agent
Last night, one of our clients, a family of six was flying back from St. Lucia, connecting in Miami on American Airlines. The second leg of their flight, from Miami home to Boston, was cancelled. They were given a hotel room and told by American Airlines to enjoy the next day in Miami. The earliest flight they could put the family on was the same exact flight the next night, the 9 pm flight. Our client didn’t want to spend an entire day in Miami, having just been on a week vacation. Her kids wanted to get home. So she did what any person would do in that situation, she pleaded with the American Airlines customer service rep at the Miami airport to please get her family on an earlier flight. Sorry. No can do. Then she texted us about 1 am to fill us in on the situation and ask if we could help. This morning, my wife, Lisa, a travel agent, persuaded her contact at American Airlines to put the family of six on a Jet Blue flight that will return home this afternoon. No extra payment, no change fees, nothing.
The glut of travel information on the web helps breed a false sense of comfort and independence. Hey, I don’t need anyone to book my flights or my hotel room. I can go straight to Orbitz and TripAdvisor. But what happens when your flight is cancelled, your luggage doesn’t arrive for days, that oceanfront room that was promised to you overlooks a tennis court, or you break an ankle while biking and you need someone to help change the flights without paying exorbitant change fees? In other words, who’s got your back? All of these situations are actual events that happened to our clientele in 2012. Good luck dealing with customer service at Orbitz or Hotels.com if anything goes wrong. You’ll have that extra day in Miami, whether you like it or not.
In 2013, make the shrewd move to join ActiveTravels.com and you’ll always have someone you can call if something goes wrong. Having been in the travel industry for 22 years, Lisa and I have developed the necessary contacts to ensure that you’ll get as close to that dream vacation as possible. It’s an added layer of insurance, which only enhances our true forte, pinpointing destinations around the globe that suit your passions. $60 per household per year seems like a small price to pay to have someone watch your back when traveling.
Steve Jermanok As a columnist for National Geographic Adventure, adventure travel expert at Budget Travel, and regular contributor on outdoor recreation for Outside, Men’s Journal, Health, and Sierra, Steve Jermanok has written more than 1,000 articles on the outdoors.He’s also authored or co-authored 11 books, including Outside Magazine’s Adventure Guide to New England and Men’s Journal’s The Great Life. His latest book is Go Now! Put Your Life on Pause and See the World. He’s currently an adventure travel expert at Away.com and blogs daily atActive Travels.