Travel in the Time of Covid-19

“Travel in the Time of Covid-19” sounds like a bad movie title.  Unfortunately, it’s our reality right now.  As the coronavirus curve flattens, we’re starting to see travel creep back.  Without a vaccine or herd immunity, there are still risks, but we wanted to share with you what CIRE Travel and the travel industry are doing to mitigate those risks, keep our travelers safe, and promote business moving forward.

As you’re starting to dip your toe back in the travel pond, know that CIRE Travel is your ally and your advocate.  We have your back should anything go wrong.  One call to us and it’s handled.  The information that follows is primarily geared towards our corporate travel clients, but we plan leisure travel in addition to business trips.  So, if you’re a little anxious about planning your next family vacation, romantic getaway, or your honeymoon, we’re a resource for that, too.  CIRE has all the current updates and guidelines for safe train travel, cruising, luxury villa rentals, et cetera.  Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions about anything travel-related.  Be well & stay safe!

THINGS WE’RE DOING:

Tracking unused plane tickets. For any flights that were previously booked and subsequently canceled, CIRE Travel will provide a report showing all unused tickets.  In addition to each airline’s Covid-19 cancellation/rebooking policies, we will use our agency perks to ensure that no money is lost or left on the table.

Keeping an eye on hotel room rates. Plenty can happen between the time you book a hotel room and your arrival date. Rates tumble and spike for a multitude of reasons. CIRE uses TRIPBAM, a rate scanning service that automatically monitors hotel room rates in the same general location as your initial booking.  We keep an eye on rate activity and act whenever rates drop.  Now, more than ever, we’re keeping an eye on costs to support your bottom line.

Recommending travel insurance.  We have always been advocates of travel insurance, even before the current crisis.  Your CIRE Travel advisor is an expert on travel insurance policies and knows the limitations and key differences in the various insurances (Cancel for any reason, Named perils, et al). 

Being your Guardian Angel.  We know where our travelers are at every step of their trip.  At CIRE, we use SafeToGo, a premium duty of care application that gives us the ability to track and locate our clients in real time and instantly assess any potential travel or safety risk.  In the event of world events or weather that could force travel delays or cancellations, our team proactively goes into a contingency mode rerouting and rescheduling, as necessary.  Our clients also have the ability to location-track traveling employees via the SafeToGo dashboard.

THINGS YOU CAN DO:

Review your profile. This is a great time to review your travel profile with CIRE.  Do we have your current cell number?  Who is your emergency contact?  Do we have their phone number? Would you now rather a window seat versus an aisle?  We want you to feel as comfortable as possible when you travel.  The first step is telling us your preferences.

Download the app.  CIRE Travel uses TripCase for all itinerary management. Download the app and turn on push notifications.  This is a great tool to use in addition to the airline and hotel apps. You’ll know about any travel changes or issues in real time.

Fly safe. Updated security protocols were announced last month by the TSA.  Hold on to your boarding pass. Keep carryon food separate. A 12-ounce container of hand sanitizer is allowed for carryon (all other carryon liquids remain capped at 3.4 ounces). Keep your (social) distance.  Take a moment to read all of the updates here (5 minute read).  Even though less people are traveling currently, getting through security could take longer than expected.  Leave yourself enough time.

Fly private.  If you have concerns about crowded airports and flights, CIRE has many options for private air travel including helicopters, air taxis, charter flights and corporate jets.  Just reach out to us for more information.

Fly…through the airport. CIRE is encouraging the use of airport greeters, especially when clients are flying into unfamiliar, international airports.  The greeters will meet you gate-side or just outside of security and whisk you through the airport, holding doors, avoiding crowded areas and deliver you to a waiting (sanitized) car.  They can also pick up your checked baggage.  And, they’ll be waiting with hand sanitizer and a clean mask.  Greeters can also meet you at the airport for an outbound flight and deliver you safely to your gate.

Drive carefully.  All the big rental car companies have announced updated and strict cleaning protocols.  Your CIRE advisor won’t book you with any company that has not.  All are offering contactless or curbside pick-up for your car.  The private ground transportation companies we use have been vetted to make sure that all vehicles are disinfected between customers and that drivers are following all safety protocols.

Stay safe.  We’re confirming cleaning and check-in protocols for all hotel bookings to make sure our CIRE clients stay safe.  We’ve been very impressed with what some of our hotel partners are doing to ensure guest safety: Air purifiers in guestrooms with HEPA filters; UV lights in public spaces which kill bacteria; glass/plexi partitions at check-in, restaurant host stand and bar to provide safe space to communicate with staff; touchless technology for paying.

Call us.  Our business hours remain 8:30am to 5:30pm eastern time, Monday through Friday.  Save our number in your cell phone 212.339.2917.  And our nimble, after-hours emergency service is still available 24/7 for in-travel emergencies outside of business hours.

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