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Getting Stuck in the Airport

by Lux Joseph 29. June 2014

Travel these days can be fraught with inconveniences, lost baggage and delayed flights among the most familiar of travel woes. But, if you are going to be spending a few “unexpected” hours at an airport, where is it best to be? A recent survey of ASTA travel agents found that domestically, the best airports to be “stuck in” are Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and Orlando International Airport. Both airports received an 8-percent share of the responses.

As the "world’s busiest passenger airport," Atlanta's Hartsfield-Jackson offers travelers more than 200 shopping and dining outlets and a 24,000-square foot executive conference center. Orlando, meanwhile, provides travelers numerous shopping and dining outlets, even an upscale eatery for those with money to burn as well as time to kill.

With an abundance of technological services, including numerous self-service business centers and rapid-charge stations, Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport came in third with 6.3 percent of the vote. Las Vegas' McCarran International Airport, with its art gallery, aviation museum and gaming opportunities ranked fourth with 6 percent.

Tied for fifth place (5.4%) were Charlotte Douglas International Airport, with its free WiFi and memorable white rocking chairs in which to while away the hours, and Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, which is home to a 4-story tall model of a Brachiosaurus. Need we say more?

Best Domestic Airports to be "Stuck In" 

  

  

Share of total response 

1

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport

8.4%

2

Orlando International Airport

8.4%

3

Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport

6.3%

4

McCarran International (Las Vegas)

6.0%

5

Charlotte Douglas International Airport

5.4%

5

O’Hare International Airport (Chicago)

5.4%

Most of our nurses and physicians when flying connect through Atlanta, Charlotte, and Chicago. When traveling with patients it is important that we provide a significant amount of connection time. A traveler who is traveling on their own may chance the 50 minute legal connection, but during a commercial medical escort, it is important to allow adequate connection time for wheelchairs, customs, and possible terminal changes.

Best International Airports

On the international front, Amsterdam’s Schiphol received the largest number of responses with 23.6 percent. How could it not with a wedding chapel, an array of "snooze" chairs and a casino? Even the restrooms are fun with scenery to make you feel that you are in the heart of Amsterdam.

London’s BAA Heathrow Airport (21.7%), is a shopper’s dream with personal shopping services as well as the shopping collection service (available only to those traveling within the European Union). Tied for third were Frankfort and Singapore’s airports (6.7%). Travelers who find themselves delayed at Singapore’s Changi Airport can take in a movie, play Xbox or, if the mood strikes, head for the nap lounge, while those at Frankfort Airport with a bit more time on their hands can take advantage of the on-site hairdresser, tailor or dry cleaners.

Paris, Charles de Gaulle Airport offers those with an unplanned delay a chance to track down and meet Merhan Karimi Nasseri, the man upon which the movie, The Terminal, was based. Meanwhile, business travelers who find themselves with a lay-over at Hong Kong International Airport (4.5%) can take advantage or airport-wide, free WiFi service.

Best International Airports to be "Stuck In"

 

 

Share of
total response

1

Schiphol Airport (Amsterdam)

23.6%

2

BAA Heathrow (London)

21.7%

3

Frankfurt Airport (Germany)

6.7%

3

Changi Airport (Singapore)

6.7%

4

Charles de Gaulle Airport (Paris)

4.8%

5

Hong Kong International Airport

4.5%

When making travel arrangements, sometimes it’s better to have too much time during a connection than not enough. With the increased number of amenities being added to these airports you will always find something to occupy your time. It’s every traveller’s worst nightmare: having to make a connecting flight, missing said connection and having to scramble to re-work travel plans. Keep this in mind when making your next travel arrangements.

Summer Travel Tips

by Lux Joseph 21. June 2014

With the 4th of July holiday weekend in the near future–and the start of the summer holiday travel season–rapidly approaching, Commercial Medical Escorts offers advice for travelers heading into the busy summer travel season.

 

At CME we encourage you to work with a professional travel consultant to plan your next trip, be it a grand tour of Asia or a long weekend. A professional travel consultant like the one we use can save you both time and money. Sky Cap Corp, our in-house travel management states, “Travel consultants are committed to making their clients’ trip the best travel experience possible. So while the summer travel season is always a busy one, this year if you work with a travel consultant to plan your summer vacations, it doesn’t have to be a frustrating one.”   

 

As part of Commercial Medical Escorts ongoing commitment to provide clients and travelers with useful travel tips, below are recommendations from its consumer Web site, TravelSense.org, to take the hassle out of summer travel:

 

Car Travel Tips 

  • Plan itineraries and arrange accommodations well in advance. Reservations for hotels, restaurants and rental cars get booked quickly during peak travel times. Your travel agent can help you get the lowest rate and make sure your rental car has room for your family, luggage and whatever souvenirs you bring home.
  • Get a tune up. Before any long-distance drive, make sure to have your oil changed and your brakes, fluids and tire pressure checked. The slightest deficiency in air pressure significantly reduces your car’s gas mileage
  • Get an early start to avoid holiday gridlock. Traveling during late night/early morning hours helps. The worst times to travel are after meals since most travelers postpone leaving until they’ve eaten with their families.
  • Choose public transportation. Many U.S. cities now offer public transportation. Chances are, if you are visiting a city this summer, it will be your fastest and most convenient bet for getting around your destination quickly and at low cost. Plus, it’s a positive step for the environment. Ask your travel agent about transportation options available at your destination.
  • Buckle up. Make sure all children weighing less than 80 lbs. are properly restrained in child safety seats at all times. Child seats should be placed in the back seat, and never in front of an airbag. If possible, get a qualified person to check whether your car seat has been properly installed–in many areas local police and trained nurses will check it for free.
  • Don’t forget Fido. Those who are traveling with pets should contact their local agent for pet-friendly hotels along the way. Pet owners should also be reminded never to leave pets waiting in parked cars– temperatures can soar quickly during the sizzling summer months.

 

Air Travel Tips:

  • Book your ticket ASAP. If you must book last minute, remember the key to securing the best deal is flexibility in travel dates–ask your travel agent to check into fares or consider flying into an alternate airport and renting a car. At CME, we are constantly booking last minute tickets due to the nature of our business, but having a dedicated travel team saves our clients a significant amount of money. If your holiday vacation includes international travel, make sure you have appropriate travel documents.  Travel agents can advise you on the new rules.
  • Arrive early. Difficult airport parking, long lines at security checkpoints and the possibility of the airline overselling the flight and bumping passengers, should all be considered when deciding what time to arrive at the airport. Give yourself plenty of extra time. Need some incentive? Keep in mind that those who arrive earliest for an overbooked flight stand the greatest chance of staying onboard.
  • Keep a close eye on all your belongings. Just as airports are extremely crowded during the peak period with travelers, they can also be fraught with thieves working the airports. Be aware of your surroundings and maintain a close watch over tickets, wallets, purses, and other belongings at all times.
  • Avoid getting bumped. 1) Get an advance seat assignment. Passengers with seat assignments are typically only bumped if they arrive late and their seat assignment is released. 2) Check-in online. Most airlines allow you to do so within 24 hours of departure. Seat assignments that were not available at the time of ticketing may be available when checking in online. 3) Don’t be late. If all else fails, get to the airport early.
  • Remember 3-1-1. Regulations limit the amount of gels and liquids passengers can take through security in their carry-on luggage to travel-size toiletries of three (3) ounces or less that fit comfortably in one (1) quart-size, clear plastic zip-top bag and the one (1) bag per passenger must be placed in the screening bin.
  • Know your limits. Pack light and know baggage limits. You cannot carry sports equipment that could be used as a weapon, such as golf clubs and baseball bats. All electronic items are subject to additional screening. Be prepared to remove your laptop from its travel case to be X-rayed separately.

 

At Commercial Medical Escorts, safety is a top priority for our medical escorts and our patients. Providing travel tips and tips surrounding our industry is important to us and we hope that you are able to use this information when traveling this upcoming summer season.

 

Beware of Travel Scams

by Lux Joseph 13. June 2014

Did you really win the luxury free vacation in the Caribbean? We all enjoy time off from work where we can sunbath, go sight seeing, and enjoy the natural wonders of the world, but you don’t want to be subject to a travel scam. Travel scams happen all over the world and it is important for you to be able to recognize them. Our nurses and physicians travel on a daily basis to different countries around the world and safety is our top priority not only for the patient, but also for the escort. At Commercial Medical Escorts we ensure that hotels and ground transportation are prepaid for, but there has definitely been times in which the drivers have informed the escort that it had not been paid for. This could simply be a miscommunication between the dispatch and the driver, or it could be a completely different company trying to gain additional cash. At CME we encourage you to be aware of the travel scams out there so that you do not become a victim of one.

 Some of these offers below sound intriguing, a deal of a lifetime, or the best bargain for a vacation, but typically it means a scam is brewing.

·      Free vacations often come with the stipulation that a second must be purchased at “regular price,” which is usually two to three times more than it would cost to purchase the ticket through a travel agent.

·      Lodging certificates may also require users to purchase a second ticket at an inflated rate. Moreover, this “free” stay probably comes with a long list of limitations and exclusions and may even require attendance at timeshare presentations.

·      So-called “free” airline certificates are often not really free. They require you to purchase hotel accommodations at inflated prices. Be sure to read the fine print for limitations, exclusions and refund restrictions. Some certificates might require attendance at a timeshare or real estate sales presentation.

·      Some Spring Break companies don’t use a formal contract, which further complicates matters. Tour company brochures often double as contracts and as a result, when students sign up for more information, they might be unwittingly signing a contract.     

·      Beware of travel offers extended by postcard, telemarketer or newspaper invitation.

·      Paying for travel in advance can be risky for customers who wait too long, or the company could very well go out business. Use a trusted travel agent or a well-known travel resource when making arrangements. Ask them for their credentials and business history to ensure they didn’t just start up yesterday.

·      Buyers should also be wary of paying for accommodations they’ve never seen or heard of being stuck in a poor quality motel in an inconvenient location is no bargain.

·      Education is the key to avoiding travel scams.  Know the vocabulary scam artists frequently use and book through a professional travel agent.

·      Avoid telemarketers. They have no further responsibility to consumers after the sale has been finalized.

·      Be wary of firms asking consumers to send payment by overnight delivery. It’s more difficult to detect fraud through mail correspondence. It is best to use a credit card when making these purchases.

·      Companies offer to make people instant travel agent, so they can receive the discounts offered to certified agents. But only suppliers such as airlines, car rental companies, hotels or cruises have the authority to offer discounts.

·      “You have been specially selected to receive our spectacular vacation offer” translates to “You have been offered an opportunity to pay for a trip that fits OUR definition of luxury, whatever that might be.”

·      “Blackout periods” are also common to the fine print. These are blocks of dates, usually during peak travel times and holidays, during which time discount rates do not apply.

·      “Subject to availability” means consumers could be denied the accommodations and times they requested.    

·      Be skeptical of ads that have large pictures without much text. Also, watch for trips that guarantee your dream vacation for seemingly impossible rates.

·      Prepaid timeshares, campgrounds or travel clubs are risky investments because membership and maintenance fees can increase, the company can go bankrupt and timeshares are difficult to resell and rarely appreciate in value.

·      Don’t be pressured into accepting limited time offers--choosing a vacation is a big decision and legitimate deals won’t expire after a night’s sleep. When in doubt, always say no.

·      Never give your credit card number or bank information over the phone, not even for so-called verification purposes. Only disclose this private information to trusted businesses you’ve used in the past and trust.  

·      Senior citizens should be especially cautious of travel fraud since they are the most targeted consumers, according to the FBI.

·      An AARP study revealed that three out of four victims were chosen solely on the basis of their age. Consumers over the age of 50 are targeted because they have more free time, are inclined to spend money on travel and have fixed incomes.

·      Planning your vacation can be fun and exciting if you follow this golden rule: If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

·      What looks too good to be true, usually is. Talk to your travel agent when you are unsure about online deals and “free” vacation offers. They typically can price match and then you will know you are working with a reliable source.

 As we have shared with you before, traveling can be overwhelming and stressful to begin with. Knowing that you made your arrangements through a reliable source will make sure that your arrangements are secure and confirmed. The last thing anyone wants to experience is getting to a destination where his or her luxury vacation is supposed to be and upon arrival there is nothing. Travel scams can even happen to the most experienced and sophisticated travelers. If the bargain is too good to be true, most likely it is. Be smart: Know what you are paying for before handing over money, and always count your change. 


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