What’s new in Europe and Asia Part 3

Airlines are going through an evolution of choices. You may already have been a personal “victim” of pricing practices. One example is a flight to Rome, round trip, for May 2019. Flying from Atlanta to Rome and back on any single major American airline is priced between $1700 and $1800 per person. The least expensive consolidator fare available to Travel Consultants has been about $1250 per person. A round trip flight on the same dates from the New York City area is priced at about $1000, and as low as $650 with a consolidator. Ordinarily I would write that off as “choice”. What really bothers everyone is one of those itineraries, on an American carrier, stops in Atlanta at one half the price. New aircraft are coming aboard that carry more passengers at faster speeds, and with more comforts EXCEPT LEGROOM!

The European carriers as well as the Asian carriers are ripe with these new aircraft. The newly signed “Open Skies Agreement” continues to allow foreign carriers to compete for landing spots at American airports. That factor alone has call prices to fall in some airports. At least one foreign carrier slashes prices to less than one half of American carriers, because the government of the Mother country subsidizes the operations to bring in trade and tourism dollars. I don’t know any of my clients who do not get upset at how the airlines “ nickel and dime” us today. Of course you can just not pay it and see where the airline seats you – and your family. Or you can be one of those people who carry on a suitcase weighing more than they can lift, knowing it is too big for overhead bins, and then complain because it is too hard to get it in the bin, or all the bins are full! Well some of the new aircraft purchased by some foreign carriers, actually have expanded the size of overhead compartments in order to please clients. Some still provide meals and drinks on long flights FREE! WOW!

The government has stepped in in some areas, with new procedures to expedite searches. Don’t expect searches to end in the near future. You can make them a bit easier by applying for “Trusted Traveler” status with TSA, at TSA.GOV. Most important, you can let your trusted Travel Consultant make your reservations using our trusted systems and our experience and knowledge. Always consider letting your Travel Consultant book your hotel, car rentals and tours in a package with your airline. Many times you may see a marked savings. Last, always allow your Travel Consultant to quote travel insurance with your package. A friend of mine had booked a Cruise vacation with her family. Her family did all the bookings, and I only found out when disaster struck and I heard the whole story. It seems my friend had a heart attack on board, while the ship was at sea. A helicopter ride from the ship to the nearest hospital, 1 week in a foreign hospital, $1000 to obtain proper paperwork from the local embassy, expenses of a spouse, and an emergency evacuation back to a hospital in the USA resulted in a total expense of $165,000. The figure is not at all above average for this type of situation, and this occurs at least once a week all year long. Most, if not all, of those expenses would have been covered by a Travel Insurance Policy that would have cost my friend $235. Medicare refused to cover any portion (that is the rule), and his secondary carrier followed suit and denied coverage.

Ask us for advice. We give it honestly, and would not feel slighted if you made an informed decision and declined. ASK US.

Stay tuned for our next series, Best of the Best – Honeymoon and Destination Wedding, 2019.