Coronavirus travel refund battles expose deposit shell game


Here are 6 tips to know before you book your flight during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The Grand Palladium resort in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic, was a swank respite in March for Leigh Anne Belcher and her daughter until they got a call to stop by the front desk about a billing question. 

Their travel agency, swamped with coronavirus cancellations, had abruptly closed its doors and disconnected its phone lines – and refused to pay the hotel for the room even though Belcher had paid the agency in full for the trip.

On the spot, Belcher had to come up with thousands of dollars to pay the upscale hotel, which threatened to call authorities and advised the front-gate attendants to make sure no one escaped without paying. When she and her daughter tried to head home to Lexington, Kentucky, they had to shell out more money; their flight

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Why does American travel writing erase Black people? | Europe

As Black Lives Matter protests spread to Europe in early June, Rick Steves, the US’s most popular European guidebook author, shared a picture in solidarity on Instagram. It was Eugene Delacroix’s 1830 epic, Liberty Leading the People. The image linked to his blog, where he had penned one of his Daily Dose of Europe entries celebrating the Delacroix masterwork and explaining how it depicted the popular protests of the July 1830 revolution that dethroned France’s Charles X.

Beyond the questionable judgement of posting an image of white people by a white person, he left out two crucial pieces of context. First, just weeks before the revolution in question, France had invaded Algeria and begun a violent (and deeply racist) 132-year colonisation. And second, Delacroix was on his way to becoming one of the leading Orientalist painters. Two years after completing Liberty Leading the People, he joined a diplomatic mission to

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Why is solo travel up in a global pandemic? Deals cater to those who will go it alone

 <span class="copyright">(Jamie Sholberg / Los Angeles Times; Getty)</span>
(Jamie Sholberg / Los Angeles Times; Getty)

Solo travel offers a fringe benefit: It allows you to be selfish. You can do whatever you want whenever you want.

Hmmm … that sounds a lot like our current lifestyle in quarantine. Want to eat lunch at 4 p.m.? Do it. Want to skip the workout and watch TV instead? Why not? There’s no one around to shame you.

Social distancing — especially for singles — can be a lonely proposition. But it also reaffirms some of the benefits of being alone. You don’t have to worry about someone else’s sleep schedule, hourlong baths or habit of leaving pistachio shells everywhere.

Perhaps those are reasons solo travel is expanding despite the coronavirus’ overall effect on the travel landscape. Going it alone has definite pluses, and tour operators are seeing an uptick in solo-cation bookings. Granted, many of the trips are six months

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Travel sector hit as UK COVID-19 cases rise

The threat of further a second round of Covid restrictions in London has dented confid.ence, with the travel sector in particular feeling the heat as we head into the weekend. Meanwhile, retail sales data highlights the winners and losers from 2020. 

  • FTSE turns lower, as London heads for a second round of restrictions 

  • Travel sector hit hard as quarantine restrictions loom.

  • Retail sales growth slows, with ‘V’ shaped recovery proving highly uneven.

UK-listed stocks are heading lower as we stumble towards the weekend, with the prospect of a renewed lockdown in London serving to bring the potential of a second wave closer to home. While localised restrictions have become somewhat normalised of late, the economic importance of London means we are likely to see a more significant market reaction if the growth in cases leads to significant economic consequences. From a tourism perspective, the rise in Covid cases in the

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Local pizzeria near border ‘struggling’ as US-Mexico travel restrictions extended into October

SAN DIEGO – A San Diego-area pizza restaurant manager says revenues are down 80% at his shop located near the U.S.-Mexico border since travel restrictions were put in place this year to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

A manager at Maya’s Gourmet Pizza, a San Diego-area pizza restaurant, says revenues are down 80% at his shop located near the U.S.-Mexico border since travel restrictions were put in place this year to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

“We’re struggling, we’re struggling day to day,” said Enrique Cortez, manager of Maya’s Gourmet Pizza in San Ysidro.

The border has been closed for all nonessential travel since mid-March. Closures have been extended each month since as public health officials largely have struggled to get the pandemic under control through much of the spring and summer.

Restrictions were scheduled to be lifted early next week until officials Thursday announced they again are

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Pre-travel testing program to start Oct. 15, key step in rebooting Hawaii’s tourism

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) – After being delayed for months, a much-touted pre-travel testing program that authorities say is a key step in rebooting the tourism industry will be launched Oct. 15, allowing trans-Pacific visitors to forgo a 14-day quarantine if they test negative for COVID-19.

a large body of water: Photo of a quiet Waikiki taken on the morning of July 14, 2020.

© Provided by Honolulu KHNL
Photo of a quiet Waikiki taken on the morning of July 14, 2020.

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Sell-off in airline, hotel and bank stocks on UK lockdown fears

Newcastle as almost two million people in north-east England have been banned from mixing with other households and pubs will close early as coronavirus cases rise. Photo: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images
Newcastle as almost two million people in north-east England have been banned from mixing with other households and pubs will close early as coronavirus cases rise. Photo: Ian Forsyth/Getty Images

Fears of strict new lockdown rules hammered vulnerable UK stocks on Friday, fuelling a sharp sell-off in travel, leisure, and banking stocks.

Reports in the Financial Times that the UK government may impose a two-week nationwide lockdown in October rattled investors in listed firms most reliant on domestic income.

Health secretary Matt Hancock said a nationwide lockdown would be the “last line of defence,” but the BBC reported a shutdown of hospitality firms could instead be announced next week.

Britain’s FTSE 100 (^FTSE) shed 0.5%, with the Bank of England’s decision on Thursday to hold fire on fresh stimulus also weighing on markets.

But concerns over rising infection rates, testing shortages and speculation over stricter restrictions on the UK economy

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Travel Leaders Taps Robyn Benincasa to Keynote Virtual Conference

Bridge to the Future, a virtual conference exclusive to all Travel Leaders Network members, promises inspiration, networking, top-notch education and access to preferred suppliers

NEW YORK, Sept. 17, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — Travel Leaders Network – one of America’s largest retail travel agency organizations – today announced that Robyn Benincasa, a top motivational speaker on leadership, an Adventure Racing World Champion and bestselling author, will be the keynote speaker for the company’s annual conference that connects all travel advisors across its organization.  Bridge to the Future, to be held October 13-15, is an exclusive virtual event for members. Benincasa, a CNN Hero who has competed at the highest levels of sports and business, provides a perfect blend of inspiration and fortitude to complement the array of workshops and networking opportunities that will invigorate and motivate attendees seeking to improve their sales.

Robyn Benincasa, a top motivational speaker on

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Las Vegas helicopter pilots lose jobs to COVID-19 travel fallout


Maverick Helicopters has seen a boom in domestic tours in Las Vegas but a steep drop in Grand Canyon tours, as international travel has shutdown. (Photo: Provided: Bryan Kroten)

LAS VEGAS – The plummeting of international travel in the wake of COVID-19 has put dozens of helicopter tour pilots and staffers out of work in Southern Nevada.

Several companies known for scenic tour flights to the Las Vegas Strip and Grand Canyon have cut significant slices of their staff to mirror business demand, according to documents filed with Nevada employment officials.

Bryan Kroten, Maverick Helicopters’ vice president of marketing, said the pandemic has most impacted the number of flights the company makes to the Grand Canyon – bookings that almost entirely come from international travelers.

“There’s a lot less travelers visiting Vegas today than there was eight months ago,” Kroten said. “The majority of our guests that fly to

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Jewish pilgrims leave border as Ukraine upholds travel ban

Ultra-orthodox Jews hoping to visit the tomb of an important Hasidic rabbi for the Jewish New Year have begun leaving the Ukraine-Belarus border. They had been holding out hope for days a travel ban would be lifted.

a group of people standing in front of a building: Provided by Deutsche Welle

© Reuters
Provided by Deutsche Welle

Hundreds of Hasidic Jewish pilgrims who have been waiting for days at the Ukraine-Belarus border began leaving Friday after authorities upheld an entry ban on foreigners due to an increase in coronavirus infections.

Ukrainian authorities estimate that 2,000 people in total had been gathered at the border this week, hoping to continue to the central Ukrainian city of Uman and visit the tomb of Rabbi Nachman, the founder of the Breslov Hasidic movement.

Thousands of the ultra-Orthodox Jews visit Uman every year in September for the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana.

“There are about 700 pilgrims in front of the Ukrainian checkpoint,” compared to around 1,000 Thursday,

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