Agents' Choice 2020

COVID-19 UPDATE: Flair, Sunswept, Brussels Airlines

Plus News From Flight Centre, Vail Resorts, Aruba And Adventure Canada

Sunswept Resorts is advising that its BodyHoliday and Rendezvous Resorts will temporarily close effective March 20 until May 31; planning to re-open on June 1.

Rebecca Platt, director of sales & marketing, advises that: “With this in mind, and in order to make the process as seamless as possible for our mutually valuable guests, we will offer a 12 month credit to rebook their stay with us or alternatively if this is not possible, issue a full refund without penalty.”

Platt continues: “We also understand these are uncertain times so will also be allowing future guests with existing reservations (as of today) that are due to arrive from the 1st June – 31st August 2020 an extended cancellation policy, allowing them to cancel up to 14 days prior to arrival without penalty.”

And she writes: “Please can I ask you to reach out to all of your clients due to arrive at either BodyHoliday or Rendezvous until the 31st May and advise them of the above unfortunate circumstance. The full policy and statement is attached for your perusal.”

Platt concludes: “We sincerely hope that we will be able to welcome your clients back to BodyHoliday again in the future and thank you for your understanding during these challenging circumstances. Supporting each other will only serve to make the travel and tourism industry stronger in the future. We would like to thank you for your continued support during a difficult, and unprecedented time and should you have any questions or would like any further clarification please do not hesitate to contact me on +1 758 724 7875.”

Platt also advises that in order for agents to arrange your client’s credit/refund, if you booked via your preferred tour operator then you will need to reach out to them in the first instance as we cannot rebook on their behalf. If you booked with us directly please do reach out to our reservations team that you initially booked with to assist you further.

For more, go to www.sunsweptresorts.com or email — rebecca@sunsweptresorts.com .

Flight Centre Goes Virtual

Out of an abundance of caution given the current situation, Flight Centre is moving to a closed door operation with respect to its shops.

The company notes that this is to ensure that it can maintain a clean, safe and orderly working environment for all of its people as well as its customers.

In a statement, Flight Centre said: “We will not be doing face-to-face consultations but will be looking after inquiry through phone, email, and chat. We also have a telecommuting option in place for those employees that are self-isolating. While our physical shops are closed we are absolutely open and virtually assisting our clients around the clock right now.”

Flair Ramps Up Customer Service

Flair Airlines is ramping up its customer service efforts, recognizing that its customers have had their travel plans altered due to the affects of the COVID-19 pandemic.

As a result, Flair is immediately waving all change booking and cancellation fees for flights booked in March and April 2020.

In addition, Flair has doubled its call centre staff to reduce customer wait times.

John Mullins, vice-president of guest experience and airports said: “We are going to handle those passengers with immediate travel change needs.  After customers with the closet flight changes are managed, we will turn our attention to those that have bookings in May and June.”

The carrier’s Change Policy for Existing Bookings is as follows:

For flights for travel in March or April 2020 (regardless of booking date):

  • If passengers choose not to travel in March or April 2020, a one-time rebooking fee will be waived.
  • Passengers with a known date of new travel may rebook and only differences in fare will apply.
  • Changes or cancellations must be requested at least 24 hours prior to departure.
  • Passengers with unknown travel dates will be eligible to receive a voucher for future travel* valid until March 31, 2021, to any destination flair services.

Change Policy for New Bookings

For bookings made between March 1ST-31st, 2020:

  • All new flight bookings made between March 1st-31st, 2020 will be eligible for a one-time rebooking fee waiver. This extension will be valid for travel until March 31, 2021, to any destination flair flies. Differences in fares will still apply.
  • Travel changes must be made within 24 hours of departure.

Travel Vouchers will be in the full value of the original cancelled booking. The voucher will not apply to optional fees such as baggage, seat selection, travel flex and priority boarding on future bookings. Limit one per reservation, one transaction, non-transferable.

For more, go to www.flyflair.com .

Brussels Airlines Suspending Flights

Brussels Airlines will temporarily suspend its flight operations beginning March 21, 2020. In the meantime it will be gradually reducing its flight operations as it brings passengers and crew home.
The airline explains that its decision to temporarily suspend all of its flights between March 21 and April 20 was taken following the measures imposed by different authorities, such as the negative travel advice of the Belgian authorities, which Brussels Airlines fully understands, and the increasing number of national authorities in Europe and beyond who no longer allow flights to their territory.

As of March 17, the airline is gradually reducing its flight schedule until March 20. From March 21 until April 19 included, all flights will be suspended. A continued and extended goodwill policy for customers is in place, offering them the opportunity to reschedule their flights to a later date.

All intercontinental departures to Africa, as of March 17 have been postponed to the afternoon, for connectivity reasons with the short haul network.

The Belgian carrier will continue to keep a minimal capacity on standby base for repatriation flights should this be required.

Brussels Airlines CEO Dieter Vranckx: “We will continuously monitor the situation and communicate accordingly, planning a restart of our operations on 20 April to welcome our guests on board again. As a responsible company, we need to take the decision to temporarily cease our operations. It will allow us to reduce the negative financial impact on our company.”

The spread of the coronavirus and associated flight bans and other measures restricting air connectivity imposed by many countries around the world, have already severely and negatively impacted Brussels Airlines’ flight schedules in the past few days, as well as its financial situation. Therefore the airline is in discussion with the government with regards to support.

Vail Resorts Closing North American Resorts

Vail Resorts has announced that all of its North American resorts and retail stores will remain closed for the 2019-20 winter ski season amidst the continued challenges associated with the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19).

The decision follows the company’s previously announced closure of its resorts from Sunday, March 15 through Sunday, March 22. It will consider reopening Breckenridge Ski Resort in Colorado, Heavenly Mountain Resort in Lake Tahoe and Whistler Blackcomb in British Columbia in late April/early May, dependent on the situation with COVID-19 as well as weather conditions.

Additionally, the company’s owned and operated lodging properties will close on Friday, March 20, with final check-ins allowed until 4 p.m. MT today. Epic Mountain Express, the company’s Colorado transportation service, will run through tomorrow, Wednesday, March 18. Both will remain closed until further notice.

Rob Katz, chairman and chief executive officer of Vail Resorts, said: “Our decision to end the season now is evidence of the fast-moving situation involving COVID-19, and it was not an easy one to make as we deeply considered the extended impact it will have on our guests, employees and communities. While it is incredibly disappointing for our company to mark the end of the season so early, we know it is the most responsible path forward.”

Guests can process refunds and credits on pre-purchased lift tickets, lodging, ski and ride school, equipment rentals and more, subject to applicable terms and conditions, using an online form that will be available on the company’s resort websites.

Go to www.vailresorts.com or, for consumers, go to www.snow.com .

Aruba Suspends All Inbound Travel By Non-Residents

Aruba suspended all inbound travel to the island by non-residents as of March 16 and end March 31, 2020. These restrictions are subject to change as island officials indicate that it may consider additional precautionary measures.

Specifically;

  • Anyone who is not a resident of Aruba, will not be permitted to enter Aruba.
  • Visitors currently in Aruba will be able to leave Aruba.
  • Aruba residents currently travelling abroad will be permitted to return home to Aruba.
  • A negative travel advisory will be in place for Arubans

In announcing the move, officials noted that the decision does not come without serious consideration as tourism is the lifeline of the Aruban people. However, the government’s highest priority is the health and well-being of its people and its visitors.

Adventure Canada Cancels 2020 Ocean Endeavour Sailings

Adventure Canada is cancelling all scheduled 2020 voyages on Ocean Endeavour.

The company’s CEO, Cedar Swan wrote: “As we all know by now, the COVID-19 virus has led to numerous travel restrictions and advisories, aimed at reducing the spread of the virus for the well-being of all. The situation has affected virtually everyone in some way, and we are no exception.”

And Swan continued: “In light of the decisions made by the Canadian government, all scheduled 2020 voyages on Ocean Endeavour have been cancelled.”

She said that: “This is a very difficult challenge for our clients, staff, crew, partners and the communities we work with. But we know that the steps we all take now allow us to plan for much better outcomes in the future.”

But Swan added: “With that in mind, we have every intention of operating our full scheduled 2021 season aboard Ocean Endeavour. As a small, family-run company, we depend on our company vision and values to see us through tough times. We are grateful to be in a solid position as a company, which allows us to move forward with confidence. We have been deeply moved by our team’s resilience and resolve, and by the supportive responses we are receiving from affected clients and staff across the country and around the world.”

And Swan concluded: “We send love and strength to all who are striving to make the best of the situation. We are firmly committed to get back to doing what we do best: connecting people to each other and the land through innovative travel experiences.”

 

Posted in Airlines, COVID-19, Hotels, News, Resorts

 

 

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