Friday, August 26, 2011

Travel troubles: How to keep Irene from costing you

It's August in the Northeast, and with Irene on her way, many people who were planning to travel for vacation or an event this weekend will have to make other arrangements.


But, if you did have plans to fly somewhere, there are ways to make sure you don't lose too much cash.
Hurricane Irene has already wreaked havoc on the Bahamas, and is positioned to possibly do the same along nearly the entire Eastern Seaboard.
And the storm's approach is already impacting travel plans for many here in the Capital Region.
Nancy Shanley is the Marketing Director for AAA of Hudson Valley.
She said the phones have been ringing non-stop with travelers seeking advice about their travel plans.
Shanley said, "We did have some people on cruises rerouted around the Bahamas. Cruises are used to that this time of year, it's hurricane season, and we do warn people of that when they buy their tickets."
But, if you've got a flight booked out of Albany for anytime in the near future, there may be more options than you think.
So far Delta, United, Continental and Jet Blue are all offering 'waived change flight fees' to thousands of passengers scheduled to fly certain dates and locations.
Shanley says, if you're not sure what your airline is offering in the way of alternatives, it's time to check online.
"It does vary by airline to airline, and we will help people to work with their airlines if we booked that ticket for them, we'll certainly help them out, and get them in contact with the right people, and find out what those guidelines are."
Shanley says for your next trip, you may want to consider travel insurance.
"We recommend taking a look at how much the travel insurance will cost, what it covers, and compare that with the cost of your trip. There's a lot of different nuances with travel insurance what it covers, what it doesn't cover, as well as the prices, so it has to make sense based on the price of the trip," she said.
So, Shanley contends that research is the key to making the correct decision.
The AAA marketing manager says the agency has even helped to divert some road trips around the massive storm.
Shanley said, "Basically people are just asking us for different trips, or asking us to route them around the bad weather. So trips are getting a bit longer, but they're still going, so that's nice."
And with the storm heading our direction, the hangars at the Million Air Aviation Service in Albany are full, as private aircraft owners seek shelter for planes to protect their investment.
And some of the pilots we spoke with were actually busy flying aircraft out of the Capital Region, specifically to get the planes out of harm's way.


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