After spending nine years showing others how they can easily and safely explore the world, and given the current situation with coronavirus, we are in new territory.
Lugos Travel is founded on safety. The safety of our clients is built into our name. Lugos was the protector of travelers in ancient France. As such, please know:
Now is not a good time to travel, and this may not blow over quickly.
Every destination or experience we offer is shutting down out of an abundance of caution. There are very few options we can suggest which would meet our level of excellence and be safe. We recommend against nearly any form of travel in the next 45 days.
We have no idea what this will do to the travel business in general, or Lugos Travel specifically, but we are not giving up. When the time is right to travel again, we will be ready.
Right now, we are working diligently to reschedule all outgoing trips in April and prepare for whatever may come afterward. We can’t tell you what is going to happen or for how long it may last so, instead, we’d like to tell you a story:
During this crisis, when there was fear that people traveling overseas would not be able to get home and crowds of people were waiting for hours at airports around the world, my wife and her friends stepped off of a plane coming from Europe and danced into a limo for the ride home.
Here’s how it all went down…
Christina has always had a talent and love for fashion. Last week, she brought a small group to Paris to enjoy a guided shopping trip, with a touch of culture mixed in. The group left on March 8th, and for the days leading up to departure, the news from Paris indicated a lower cause for concern. The entire group had travel insurance, and after careful consideration, they decided to go forward with the trip.
While on their trip, the group enjoyed many of the usual services we include to ensure safety, and everyone was enjoying themselves. Then, on Wednesday night, at 9 PM, President Trump announced the closing of the border. As soon as we heard about the announcement, we called the travel insurance company. We were on the line with an agent within 3 minutes.
We knew what was about to happen.
Everyone on the trip had someone that loved them and wanted them home safely. Our guests in Paris were waking up to calls asking them what they were going to do and how they were going to get back. Their flights were scheduled for March 14th, a Saturday. The deadline to return was Friday night.
In Paris, the local time was 3 AM, and Christina was telling me that she could hear people frantically packing their bags and going to the airport, hopeful to buy their ticket out. They probably didn’t know the value of a travel professional.
Within 25-minutes, we updated all travel insurance policies and then transferred to the department that changes flights. The wait to reach an agent for the travel insurance company was now 2 hours.
During the next 20-minutes, I was able to pull live flight inventory for Thursday and Friday and compare the best alternatives for the group. I was working with the travel insurance company to narrow choices, preferably without inciting panic in our guests. No one wants to wake up at 3 AM to cut their vacation short, begin packing, and go to the airport for a day of travel. The agents needed to call the airlines and arrange the changes. They planned to call me back after a 2-hour wait to talk to an agent. The wait to reach an agent for the travel insurance agency was now 4 hours. It was now 9:45 PM EST.
The break allowed me to relay what was happening to the guests in Paris. Everything would be fine, and they could go back to sleep, wake up to an excellent breakfast, and enjoy their day, as planned.
Three hours later, our travel insurance company called us back (1 AM EST), and we confirmed the changes to return on Friday, at no additional cost to anyone.
However, there was a hitch.
While everyone did buy travel insurance, one person in the group had chosen to purchase a travel insurance product they found online. Because she did, we were not able to act as her agent.
We spoke to her at nearly 4 AM (Paris-time), so she could act fast. When she called her travel insurance, she found out that they didn’t operate 24-hours a day, and was happy to help her the next day.
She immediately called back and asked what her options were. We discussed them, and she decided to purchase her flight out to guarantee her spot. We were able to purchase a one-way ticket from Paris to Orlando that met the rest of the group on Friday night at the same time. She will be able to file a claim with her policy later.
The whole group did enjoy an excellent breakfast and a fantastic Thursday shopping in Paris before departing on Friday.
Because every ice cream deserves a cherry on top, when they arrived at the Orlando airport, they were surprised to see that we had changed their ride from an SUV to a party bus. They danced home. Literally.
Sometimes, in a world of disasters, a ray of sunshine is heaven.
If you’re still reading this and you have a trip coming up this summer, even if you didn’t book it through us, we will do our best to help you postpone or cancel it.
Please call 646-930-4496 x6 to reach me directly.