help during disrupted travel

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Oct 31, 2018
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#1
Recently I was stranded at DFW when a connecting flight was canceled in the middle of the night, owing to bad weather. I was among hundreds of other travelers similarly stranded at that airport. I couldn't find anything through Internet sites like Hotels.com, Booking.com, etc. And getting through to individual hotels or hotel chains by phone was extremely difficult. Then after waiting on hold for very long periods of time and finally reaching someone, I found nearly every option I could think of unavailable for that night. Is there a better way to deal with such situations -- a better way to find accommodations? Is there a concierge service or some other sort of hotel "consolidator" that could help?
 
Feb 3, 2019
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#2
Do you have a credit card that offers concierge services? The premium ones tend to include that benefit, and if you're already paying a hefty annual fee, I would hope they could at least help you figure out quickly whether you had any reasonable options.

It's also possible that there simply wasn't anything left at a price you are willing to pay if there were that many people stranded.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

weihlac

Verified Member
Jun 30, 2017
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#3
Often one of the best options is to call a family member (even in the middle of the night) and have them search on a computer as opposed to a cell phone. This gives the ability to look at many sites at once.
That said, there may have been no availability of rooms even at an airport as big as DFW without traveling into the city.
My wife ended up in the Denver airport after a 30" blizzard closed the airport. There were 5000 people in the airport for up to 3 days.
 
Likes: Neil Maley

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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#5
Recently I was stranded at DFW when a connecting flight was canceled in the middle of the night, owing to bad weather. I was among hundreds of other travelers similarly stranded at that airport. I couldn't find anything through Internet sites like Hotels.com, Booking.com, etc. And getting through to individual hotels or hotel chains by phone was extremely difficult. Then after waiting on hold for very long periods of time and finally reaching someone, I found nearly every option I could think of unavailable for that night. Is there a better way to deal with such situations -- a better way to find accommodations? Is there a concierge service or some other sort of hotel "consolidator" that could help?
You are raising SUCH a good point. I've often worried about this kind of thing, but never been caught up in it. We got saved by Hilton during the great Heathrow Christmas snowstorm several years ago because of my status with HHonors. They had a room for us, at about $600 a night, but we were glad to have it. Nothing moved in or out of that airport for days. I like the idea of leaning on your credit card (I use Chase Sapphire cards, they have a ton of benefits) for help. I always have a list of flights coming up if mine is cancelled, but the hotel thing would be much more difficult to prepare for. I don't use online booking services, but aren't there a couple who book "last-minute rooms"? Probably have to be really lucky to get one when so many others are stranded too.
 
Likes: Blossom
Feb 28, 2018
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#7
Use a travel agent. You could have called them to find you another hotel.
Neil:

I do use a travel agent to book cruises, air, and occasionally hotels. They are NOT available on nights and weekends, and respond to messgesleft on their answering machines when they return. I don't use the major discount online travel engines beause if thre is a problem , there is no one to immediately fix it. Since your suggestion ( call your travel agent) does not apply in these circumstances, do you have anything else to suggest other than the concierge person ( if any) of premium credit cards?
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#8
Yes- many travel insurance companies offer concierge service that you can call after hours. Many tour operators also have feet on the ground in the country you are traveling to so you have someone to call while traveling.

But if you aren’t using any of these - you are on your own and need to know what to do on these type of instances.

This is a problem with traditional brick and mortar agencies. Agents go home and there may not be 24 hour coverage and if your agent happens to be off on the day you call- you may not be able to get help.

There are now more agents with their own home based businesses and offer coverage late nights and weekends - 7 days a week. The business model is changing and becoming more consumer friendly.
 
Apr 13, 2019
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#9
Hoteltonight.com is a good site for last minute hotel deals and they have an app for your phone. The hotels are identified up front which is nice.
 
Likes: jsn55

Neil Maley

Moderator
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Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
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www.promalvacations.com
#10
Hoteltonight.com is a good site for last minute hotel deals and they have an app for your phone. The hotels are identified up front which is nice.
The problem though is when you have weather issues causing flight cancellations and overnight stays there may not be any hotels available near the airport regardless of what app you use.

This is also a case of where travel insurance can help reimburse you if you something like this happens and you can find a hotel. Most policies have a travel delay clause that will pay you up to a certain daily dollar amount for a hotel when there are weather delays and you can find a hotel. A $40 investment when buying a ticket can reimburse you for a hotel night if flights are canceled for reasons the airline doesn’t have to pay for.
 
Feb 3, 2019
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#11
The problem though is when you have weather issues causing flight cancellations and overnight stays there may not be any hotels available near the airport regardless of what app you use.
Yep. The OP stated:
I couldn't find anything through Internet sites like Hotels.com, Booking.com, etc.
No concierge service, travel agent, website, or other resource can magically conjure available hotel rooms out of thin air if other stranded travelers have already booked everything. With "hundreds of other travelers similarly stranded at that airport," I'm not sure how any service would be able to find accommodations.

jhildebra, what sort of results would you expect from the kind of service you envision envision?

The only real options I can think of for most travelers facing similar circumstances would be to expect to pay significantly more than normal for a hotel room somewhere vaguely near the airport, or be willing to venture very far from the airport to get beyond the high-demand zone.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
17,505
15,836
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
#12
Yep. The OP stated:

No concierge service, travel agent, website, or other resource can magically conjure available hotel rooms out of thin air if other stranded travelers have already booked everything. With "hundreds of other travelers similarly stranded at that airport," I'm not sure how any service would be able to find accommodations.

jhildebra, what sort of results would you expect from the kind of service you envision envision?

The only real options I can think of for most travelers facing similar circumstances would be to expect to pay significantly more than normal for a hotel room somewhere vaguely near the airport, or be willing to venture very far from the airport to get beyond the high-demand zone.
And that is the only option.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
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San Francisco
#13
Yep. The OP stated:

No concierge service, travel agent, website, or other resource can magically conjure available hotel rooms out of thin air if other stranded travelers have already booked everything. With "hundreds of other travelers similarly stranded at that airport," I'm not sure how any service would be able to find accommodations.

jhildebra, what sort of results would you expect from the kind of service you envision envision?

The only real options I can think of for most travelers facing similar circumstances would be to expect to pay significantly more than normal for a hotel room somewhere vaguely near the airport, or be willing to venture very far from the airport to get beyond the high-demand zone.
So true, R.L. When a travel disaster hits, does one really care about a 30-minute taxi ride from the airport if you'll have a bed and a hot shower? People who face reality get along very well when travelling. "You're travelling, it might cost you some money" is a good mantra to remember.
 
Feb 3, 2019
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#14
jhildebra, what sort of results would you expect from the kind of service you envision?
I just re-read this and realized it may have come across as snarky. That is not at all how I intended it - I'm honestly interested in what the OP had in mind for outcomes, because maybe there's a gap in the travel services market that some enterprising entrepreneur could try to fill.
 
Likes: Patina
Dec 19, 2014
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#15
Sometimes.... life happens.
As others have said, in the case of hundreds of people being stranded, there just isn't enough of an infrastructure to be able to accommodate everyone that is stranded, especially if there is adverse weather such as a blizzard in Colorado. No app, travel agent, or concierge is going to be able to help you.

The best prevention is to be cognizant about the POTENTIAL for being stranded and to minimize risk.
For example, if you are connecting through Denver, and a blizzard is forecast, you might want to ask to be re-routed through another hub, or delay your trip. DFW can be susceptible to delays from afternoon thunderstorms.

An experienced traveler can MINIMIZE risk, and likewise an experienced travel agent can also help MINIMIZE risk to their clients, but at the end of the day, nothing is 100% certain. As well as I plan, and as much as I travel, I have experienced the joys of sleeping at an airport or in my car. That is the "joy" of travel, and sometimes you just embrace it.
 
Dec 19, 2014
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#16
Also, do not ever "trust" an airline agent when they say "oh, yes, there is weather delays but your outbound flight is showing on-time"
Sometimes, you just "know" that you are going to be stranded at a hub.
Sometimes, you get lucky and your outbound flight is truly on-time or will depart, but many times an "agent" just reads from the computer screen and doesn't grasp the reality of the situation.

Airlines often will allow flex schedule changes if there is weather forecast at a hub, because they don't want you (or their planes) stranded.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
8,061
7,948
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San Francisco
#19
I just re-read this and realized it may have come across as snarky. That is not at all how I intended it - I'm honestly interested in what the OP had in mind for outcomes, because maybe there's a gap in the travel services market that some enterprising entrepreneur could try to fill.
I read it as a sincere query, R.L. But it's nice of you to mention it. Occasionally we are busy giving someone advice, or asking them a million questions so we CAN give them advice, and they jump off a cliff with hurt feelings. That's never our intention of course.

On the concept of assistance "in the middle of the night in a blizzard", I completely forgot about certain credit cards who offer fairly extensive travel services. I'm lucky that I've never needed to find out about it, but it's worth a little research. Has anyone reading this thread had any experience with CC travel assistance?