Following the horrific shooting in Las Vegas on Sunday, you can hardly blame travellers who might have some apprehension about an upcoming trip to the city.
And for those who might be considering cancelling their trip altogether, there are some options.
“It’d be natural for them to be hesitant for them to go to Las Vegas right now,” Will McAleer, president of the Travel Health Insurance Association of Canada, told Yahoo Canada Finance.
“You look at all the coverage, and quite frankly, it’s sad and it’s depressing.”
McAleer said that the first thing concerned travellers should do is look into how their air carriers have responded to the incident.
Both Air Canada and WestJet have agreed to waive fees for ticket holders who want to change the date of their flights or exchange them for another destination.
Air Canada customers who were scheduled to fly to Las Vegas between Tuesday and next Monday and purchased their ticket no later than Sunday will be able to make a switch at no cost before Oct. 23.
Meanwhile, WestJet implemented a flexible change/cancel promise for those flying up until Wednesday.
A number of U.S. airlines have also enacted similar policies.
However, travellers with flights booked beyond the range of the goodwill measures are likely out of luck, unless their air carrier decides to extend them.
“If you’re cancelling or making a change outside of a certain period of 30 or 45 days, there’s usually some flexibility under that normally, but without any extension of the policy then it would be outside the supplier’s terms and conditions,” said Richard Job, vice-president of commercial partnerships at Flight Centre.
“Which, normally, if they’re travelling in a couple weeks from now, for example, would be within the non-changeable, non-refundable part.”
Travellers who are looking to cancel their hotel bookings in the immediate future may also have some options.
Job said many are waiving their cancellations fees for arrivals this week, while McAleer said others may allow customers to change their travel plans.
Caesars Palace, the Linq and the Paris Las Vegas are among those who are forgoing these charges.
Job added that travellers should look into the terms and conditions of their booking as some hotels allow customers to cancel a day before their booking with no penalty regardless.
“You may find a pleasant surprise that there may not be any penalty if you’re cancelling a day or a week out,” he said, noting that hotels with cheaper rates often have more “restrictive” policies.
However, a concerned traveller’s best bet may be to look into their insurance.
If their policy has a “cancel-for-any-reason” clause they may be eligible to get between 50 and 75 per cent of their trip fees back.
Job said most of the insurance policies sold by Flight Centre include this type of clause, while those supplied by credit cards “almost certainly” do not.
This type of insurance usually comes with “significant” added premiums, but McAleer said it is worth it.
This is especially important since trip cancellation insurance isn’t applicable in the case of an incident such as the Las Vegas shooting as the Canadian government hasn’t issued a travel advisory.
McAleer said most of these types of tragic events aren’t seen as ongoing, which prompts this kind of warning.
“The unfortunate thing is that we’re seeing this with increased occurrence rates, whether it’s (the 2017 terrorist attacks in) London, thinking back to (the Pulse nightclub shooting in) Orlando, (Saturday’s attacks in) Edmonton, it’s happening in places all around the world, and not just in sort of what we would consider those high-risk destinations where you think, ‘Well, wait a second. I wonder what it’ll be like there,'” he said.
“I think this just sort of needs to be part of everyone’s thinking as they prepare for travel insurance now.”