Making big travel plans? Strongly Consider Backup Reservations for your award flights and even some hotel stays and cruises. That's because many airlines (British Airways, Iberia, SAS, Alaska Airlines, JetBlue, Southwest, etc.) have reduced their flight schedule in conjunction with staff shortages. Hotels are generally less affected, but new ones or those that have undertaken renovations during the pandemic may not open or reopen on time, given the usual potential for construction delays, combined with supply chain woes delaying needed construction or interior design materials. Here are several scenarios that we've seen in this year alone:
1. Flights Moved to Different Day
It used to be a significant change if a flight was moved by a few hours, but now, with flight schedules in flux, we've had various flights on Iberia moved to a completely different day, since the original booked flight was cancelled. Particularly if you have a need to book separate positioning flights, you'll want to book those with points such that they can be changed/cancelled with minimal expense, or delay booking them. And if you have a pressing need to get somewhere on a particular day, book a backup award flight with miles and points, as you may need it. By the same token, don't make non-refundable hotel reservations.
2. Cruise on a New Ship Cancelled
Our clients were excited to cruise on one of the first voyages of a new ship, but the ship's launch date was pushed back, forcing the cruise line's cancellation of their cruise. While typically there's some cushion built in for both new ships and new hotels, the post-pandemic world is still subject to supply chain and inflation woes, which is causing some projects to have delayed launch dates. So while a cruise on a brand new ship may sound enticing, keep in mind that the very first sailings are riskier as the ship may simply not be ready, forcing their cancellation. Have a backup cruise or vacation plan booked, if you're already committed to taking that time off, and particularly if you've already booked non-refundable flights.
3. Hotel Announces Closure, Existing Reservations Rebooked at Another Resort
A reader who was booked at the St. Regis Vommuli, Maldives, in the summer of 2022 had his reservation moved to the Ritz-Carlton Maldives, Fari Islands, since the St. Regis Vommuli will be undergoing a renovation June-August 2022. Fortunately the reader was fine with that re-accommodation. As with the cruise ship example, we recommend booking a backup hotel for stays at hotels soon after their new opening or their reopening, following a renovation, since construction and renovation projects can be delayed and force a cancellation and move to a different resort. And even if the hotel proactively offers you an alternative reservation elsewhere, not just a refund, you'll be glad to have a backup reservation in case what the hotel is offering isn't to your liking.
Subscribe to TravelSort on YouTube for travel inspiration.
Become a TravelSort Client and Book 5-Star Hotels with Virtuoso or Four Seasons Preferred Partner Benefits