Meetings & Conventions: Planner's Portfolio September
By Lisa Grimaldi
FAMILY FRIENDLY INSURANCE
Access America’s policies include pregnancy& More meal
cuts at Continental
Innovative coverage. Access America, a
Richmond, Va.-based travel insurance firm, has expanded its basic
cancellation policies to include “family friendly” circumstances
such as pregnancy and the use of health aides.
Under the new terms, moms- and dads-to-be could cancel a trip
after learning of the pregnancy, as long as they purchased the
policy before the pregnancy was discovered. “So, if a pregnant mom
decides she’s no longer interested in taking that Amazon River
rafting trip, our product offers the protection and peace of mind
she needs,” said Beth Godlin, senior vice president of marketing
for Access America.
The new parameters include grandparents and other immediate
family members who want the option to cancel a trip to stay home to
witness the birth of a child, with the stipulation that they
purchase their policy before learning of the pregnancy and the due
date. In addition, Access America has redefined its definition of
family to include a domestic partner (any person with whom the
policyholder has lived for 12 months prior to the effective date of
coverage) and a live-in caregiver, such as a nanny or health aide.
The firm’s policies also have been updated to include possible
airport shutdowns mandated by the Federal Aviation Administration.
These enhancements apply only to leisure travel policies, although
Access America does offer several types of travel insurance for
groups and business travel.
The cost of the policies, typically 5 to 7 percent of the total
cost of the trip and available through travel agencies, include the
new enhancements, according to Godlin.
Asked why the company has revised its policies, Godlin said, “We
take a look at our coverage every year, and this comes in response
to the changing needs that we see in the marketplace.”
Pack those rice cakes. Effective this month,
Continental Airlines will stop serving special meals (i.e.,
salt-free, Kosher, etc.) in all classes of service on flights to
Canada and Latin America/Caribbean beach markets, including popular
destinations such as Cancun. The meals also will be discontinued on
most domestic and all Continental Express flights.
When they will be served: on transcontinental domestic flights
(coast-to-coast); transatlantic and transpacific routes; and
flights to South America and Latin America/Caribbean business
destinations such as Guadalajara, Mexico.
Pick a kiosk, any kiosk. Las Vegas’ McCarran
International Airport is installing SpeedCheck self-serve kiosks
that allow passengers for eight carriers (AirTran, America West,
Continental, Delta, Northwest, Southwest, United and US Airways) to
check in and print their boarding passes, all on one system.
The first phase of the project will see 38 SpeedCheck kiosks put
into service in strategic areas of the airport, such as the entry
area from the parking garage, in the center of the ticketing lobby
and at various places on the way to security checkpoints. McCarran
also will install four universal kiosks at the Las Vegas Convention
Center to assist attendees in checking in and obtaining boarding
passes before proceeding to the airport.
Though SpeedCheck will initially target only passengers
traveling with carry-on items and no checked luggage, plans are
under way for a second phase, which will place kiosks at airline
ticket counters, enabling baggage-tag printing for checked
Headset update. US Airways now allows
coach-class passengers to bring their personal headsets on board to
access the aircraft’s entertainment systems, similar to what
Continental allows. For those who forget to pack one or who simply
do not own a set, they are available during the flight for US$5.
Passengers will get to keep the headsets for use on future
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