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We hope you are all staying well and have started wonderful lists of destinations you'll visit when this all blows over.
The Hill Guys have actually been extremely busy since the March 11th announcement that the US would deny entry to any non-US folks who had visited Europe within the prior 14 days. Unfortunately, our busyness has been undoing all the trips that we’ve crafted over the last 15 months. Here is what we’ve learned over the last several weeks.
Current Travel Indicators (April 2020)
While COVID-19 uncertainty provides no solid date for when vacation travel will resume, there are some indicators. It appears most of the summer travel season is shot, but August seems to be the best case scenario at the moment for travel to open up:
We’ll have a much better perspective on the travel landscape by late May.
Advice from The Hill Guys
Notes about Cancelling Travel
Flights Cancelled by the Airline: On April 3rd the US Department of Transportation ordered airlines to provide refunds “...when the carrier cancels the passenger’s scheduled flight or makes a significant schedule change and the passenger chooses not to accept the alternative offered by the carrier.” Prior to that order, many airlines had only been offering credits and waiving change fees for non-refundable tickets in those events.
Flights Cancelled by the Customer: Most carriers are waiving change fees, but only providing future travel credit for non-refundable tickets. Each airline’s policy is different and changes frequently as the COVID-19 story progresses. Check with your specific carrier for its present terms and if they will make any exception to provide a refund instead of a credit.
Non-Refundable Hotel Reservations: Many properties have allowed free cancellations due to COVID-19. However, when the hotel is unwilling to cancel a non-refundable booking without a penalty (after all, those terms were accepted when the booking was made), we have found that every one has allowed our customers to at least apply their funds to a future date.
Cruises: Unlike the airlines, cruise lines have been wonderful to customers and travel agents alike. They have been footing the bill for flights to get passengers home whose cruises ended abruptly Each has offered either 100% refunds or the option of future cruise credits that often times come with bonus funds or some hefty onboard credits. Most are allowing guests 24 months to book a cruise using the future cruise credit. Also, our preferred lines of Princess and Viking have also taken care of travel agents by continuing to pay commissions on all their cruises that have been cancelled. The cruise industry's generosity is amazing considering that its 2020 season has been decimated.