Is this any way to treat a member of the President’s Club? By Christopher Elliott | January 24, 2012 FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest Sarena Wiener thought she’d taken every precaution before embarking on her Vantage Deluxe World Travel tour of India recently. Her flight itinerary gave her plenty of time to make her connections, she had purchased travel insurance, and besides, she was a valued customer — a member of Vantage’s “President’s Club.” What could go wrong? Everything could go wrong, that’s what. Wiener missed her connection because of a weather delay, her insurance failed to cover her trip interruption, and she couldn’t catch up with her group. She had to turn around and go home. Here are a few details: She’d flown from Fort Lauderdale to JFK on JetBlue, but that flight was delayed by three hours. That left her just one hour to make the connection in New York. Wiener, who is 78, tried her best to make it to the Air India gate, but by the time she got there, the aircraft had already pushed back. I attempted to call Vantage and Air India numerous times. I just got recorded music when I called Vantage. Then I was put through to a representative who couldn’t communicate with anyone at JFK. At the Air India terminal, all employees were absent, even though the plane was still on the runway. If Vantage had offered her a seat on the next day’s flight, she says she would have gladly taken it, but no one could help her, so she flew back to Fort Lauderdale. Wiener made a claim through TripMate, her travel insurance policy, but it would not cover her trip interruption. Vantage offered her a voucher for $5,053, which could be applied to a future trip. She wonders — is this any way to treat a member of the Vantage President’s Club? Well, I checked the fine print on the club. The President’s Club is reserved for Vantage Deluxe World Travel’s most loyal and valued travelers. Designed to provide recognition and priority service, it is Vantage’s way of saying a heartfelt thank you to our best customers. You are enrolled automatically once you come back from your third Vantage trip — and can start enjoying the benefits of membership immediately. And what benefits are those, exactly? They’re fairly minor — things like space-available upgrades, cocktail parties and gift certificates. The most useful part of the club to her would have been the “priority” service, which, on second thought, she didn’t really receive when she was stuck in JFK. “Being a member of Vantage’s President’s Club sure turned out to be a dis-advantage,” she told me. I contacted Vantage on her behalf. The company reiterated its original offer without responding to me. “It seems that’s the final resolution,” she says. Wiener booked a new trip to India this March. (Photo: Seamus Murray/Flickr) FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest Christopher ElliottChristopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or contact him at email@example.com. Got a question or comment? You can post it on our help forum.More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Google Plus Michael__K I’m guessing the connection at JFK was not guaranteed, since Vantage does not appear to offer Fort Lauderdale as a starting point and JetBlue does not appear to have any interline arrangement with Air India. That said, Vantage has zero excuse if they were unreachable or unable to work with Ms. Wiener when she missed her connecting flight. From their own website: Vantage is available 24 hours a day to help you, should you experience an unanticipated flight delay or cancellation on your Vantage-arranged flights. Simply call the Vantage office or our after-hours Flight Watch staff. We’ll work with you and the airlines to help you get to your destination. http://www.vantagetravel.com/StaticPages/CustomerService/CS_FlightInfo.aspx lorcha Any word on why her trip interruption policy didn’t cover this trip interruption? Fly, Icarus, Fly There’s a fairly huge detail missing here. Vantage offered her a voucher for $5,053, but the story doesn’t say how much her trip was in all. So did they offer enough compensation? With the details supplied, no one could possibly answer that question… I’m glad she’ll be able to take her trip, though, as it must have been quite the disappointment and wasted time. http://www.dreamtravelblog.wordpress.com y_p_w Well – I remember in a previous discussion on flights to India, I mentioned that I heard some people (especially Indians) avoid Air India like the plague. I guess even stateside they have lousy service. Fly, Icarus, Fly Once check-in is closed, there’s no reason for there to be personnel at the desk. This has nothing to do with Air India, I don’t think… Bruce Burger That’s terrible customer service by Air India and Vantage. Technically, assuming Vantage didn’t arrange her JetBlue flight, their promise of help due to “delay … on your Vantage-arranged flights” wouldn’t apply. On the other hand, they should have been reachable — how many times did Weiner try to call them and how long did she wait on hold? And while I’m not surprised a tour operator couldn’t communicate with anyone at the airport, did Vantage refuse to try to rebook her flight to India and why? The bottom line is that sounds like Vantage provided poor service but didn’t breach its contract. Therefore a credit for the full cost of her Vantage-arranged vacation seems reasonable to me. (Was the $5053 they gave her the full cost?) It’s an unfortunate loss and inconvenience for Wiener, but Vantage probably lost much more due to a no-show customer. The “President’s Club” promises of “priority service” are so vague as to be meaningless. A pox on their marketers, but that’s typical. You should say why her trip insurance claim was denied. It should be pretty straightforward whether her policy covered missed connections. Anyway, that’s not Vantage’s fault. emanon256 I feel for Ms. Wiener. But I also always seem to see this happen when people book on two separate carriers. Especially when one of them is a LCC like Jet Blue. I just saw on the Today show Jet Blue has the #1 worst on-time record in the US. I’m, not surprised, every time I am at the airport, I see all of the Jet Blue flights delayed, and very few of other carriers. I don’t fly internationally very often, but when I do, I always story to book through on the same carrier or alliance so all of my flights will be on the same record. The one time I had to be on a separate carrier, I arranged to leave the next day just in case. Four hours does seem like ample time, but when connecting from one carrier to another, especially at an airport like JFK where you need to exit and take the train and re-enter, I wouldn’t risk it. I would think Vantage would have warned her of this. I don’t want to assume she booked ex-JFK from vantage and made the Jet Blue arrangements on her own, but if that’s the case, I think she has no recourse. Raven_Altosk Was it real trip insurance (sold by a licensed insurer) or the kind of “vacation protection” that cruise lines love to sell–all of which favor them? Suitcase Reviews I wonder why her trip policy didnt cover her on this occasion ? emanon256 Vantages trip protection plan is pretty full of legalese and confusing, and that’s just the ad! Part of it looks like it says if they cancel their trip, and the trip is non-refundable, that the trip insurance will give them a travel certificate for future travel in the amount of the non-refundable portion of their trip. I wonder if that’s what happened here. It also makes it sound like weather is excluded, but then in another section makes it sound like it is included. Then there is some clause in there about no one being covered if they book their own flight and that flight causes them to miss their international connection. I am getting all this info from the ad for the insurance within their terms and conditions, not even the full written legal contract for which they will send you after you book. You can request a full version in advance. http://www.vantagetravel.com/StaticPages/TermsandConditions.aspx ArizonaRoadWarrior It was a travel protection plan NOT a real travel insurance policy. This is from TripMate website: “As a leading provider of travel protection plans, Trip Mate partners with thousands of major travel suppliers, group operators and retail travel distributors to ensure each year that millions of people enjoy their vacations free of concern.” As I have written over the years, NEVER purchase a travel protection plan from a travel provider and ALWAYS purchase a travel insurance policy from a third-party such as Squaremouth, InsureMyTrip, etc. ArizonaRoadWarrior I don’t understand why people buy travel protection plans since they are usually worthless and are full of loopholes. A regular travel insurance policy will give you a cash refund not a voucher for future travel which can be worthless if you can’t travel again. ArizonaRoadWarrior It was a travel protection plan sold by the travel provider not a real travel insurance policy. john4868 Something really doesn’t smell right in this one. 1. If Vantage offers 24/7 care for situations like this, she obviously didn’t get it. The President’s Club seems to be more marketing hype that real benefits. 2. Best guess is that she bought the insurance package from Vantage instead of a separate policy. Otherwise, this is the classic definition of trip interruption coverage. The policy I normally buy provides concierge service to catch up to a trip in cases just like this (In the insurance company’s best interest so they don’t get stuck with the full price tag of the trip). 3. No blame for Air India here. If the plane was just leaving the gate when she got to the airport, she probably missed the cutoff time by at least an hour. In addition, I’m not sure what Air India was going to do for her unless both the Air India and Jet Blue ticket were on the same reservation. I don’t expect Air India to staff a desk indefinitely if they don’t have another flight. I feel for her. She did all of the things we normally talk about on here (the only exception would be purchasing the trip insurance from Vantage instead of a policy underwritten by a Travel Insurance company if that’s what she did). Murphy & poor customer service all combined on this one. ArizonaRoadWarrior “You should say why her trip insurance claim was denied. It should be pretty straightforward whether her policy covered missed connections. Anyway, that’s not Vantage’s fault.” It is Vantage’s fault since they wrote the terms for this worthless travel protection plan and they sold it to the OP. ArizonaRoadWarrior I agree with you that it makes sense to book on the same carrier or alliance for international flights when you have connections. When I fly from PHX to LAX or SFO for an international flight, I try to book a flight where there are two flights after my original flight to LAXSFO but before my international flight. Like you, Iwe have stay overnight at LAXSFO airport hotels to insure that we will make our international flights. Alan Gore I make it an ironclad rule: when connecting to an international departure, always arrive at the gateway airport a full day ahead of time. Spending a day at the airport hotel is in many cases not cheap, but it is when you compare it to the price of a lost trip. Devesh Agarwal While on board service is good, at present Air India is notorious for its poor ground customer service. $16635417 When traveling on a tight business schedule this may not always work, but, in this case, it would be more like coming into your embarkation port a day early for a cruise. sirwired I suspect it’s because the trip was abandoned. Certainly there are plenty of ways to get from JFK to India, and she didn’t take any of them. (Yes, this was largely Vantage’s fault for not lending a hand, but that’s not TripMate’s problem.) sirwired I don’t know why, in every story about trip insurance, you keep saying it’s fake insurance. If you go to the TripMate website, it takes a policy number to get the real certificate, but if you click the “About Us” link, they say “Our plans are underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company, a member of the Crum & Forster Group, a large and financially stable and respected group of insurance companies.” If we had the policy number, I’m sure it would have the appropriate certificate numbers, as has every other policy you’ve claimed is not real insurance. Just because they use the word “Protection” in the title doesn’t mean it’s not an insurance policy. EDIT: In all fairness, you are half-right; unless you live in NY, Cancellation, Interruption, Missed Connection, and Trip Delay are indeed backed by Vantage, while Death, Medical, and Baggage are backed by TripMate/Union Fire Insurance Co. lorcha Did you verify this? I can’t tell from TripMate’s website. They use “travel protection” and “insurance” interchangeably, but the site does have some verbiage on insurance and on who underwrites the policies. My suspicion is that TripMate offers some true underwritten insurance products and some “protection” plans. It would help to know which Wiener had. lorcha She couldn’t join her tour due to the interruption. What was she supposed to do? Go to India and sit in her hotel for however long? sirwired The article said she abandoned the trip because she didn’t receive any help from Vantage on flight re-booking. If she had, India is a sufficiently developed country with a transportation infrastructure that surely could have gotten her caught up with her tour group. I don’t see how a single night’s delay could possibly doom a whole trip. sirwired The policy WOULD have covered this if she hadn’t abandoned the trip. According to the policy text, she should have been eligible for up to $900 in benefits; up to $750 for the missed connection, and up to $150 for the delay. But none of those benefits apply if you don’t try to catch up. (And it was Vantage’s fault for not helping with that.) sirwired Also from the TripMate website: “Our plans are underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company, a member of the Crum & Forster Group, a large and financially stable and respected group of insurance companies.” bc How is a missed connection Vantage’s or Air India’s responsibility? Nobody can control a weather delay, Vantage offered her a $5k voucher to book a future trip. It seems she got fair compensation, I’m not understanding the NO votes. I’m not understanding the statement “nobody could communicate with people in JFK”. Why would they even need to do this? The travel agency should have been able to check flights and get her rebooked. This is a failure on Vantage’s part but they gave her credit for the tour, it seems to me they offered fair compensation. bc This always puzzles me too when I see people do this. Ooops, I missed one flight let me turn around and go home. I think the prospect is so overwhelming and scary for people they can’t handle the situation and just give up. bc Must be nice to have that kind of free time. bodega3 BC, this passenger is 78 years old. She probably had the time to fly in a day prior. Mikegun’s comment is appropriate and we always recommend arriving for a tour, a cruise, a day prior. Not worth missing your vacation is it? Cybrsk8r I’ll be curious to see how you handle this when you’re 78 years old. You can’t understand why a 78 year old woman doesn’t want to fly halfway around the world and then be left on her own, where she doesn’t even speak the language, to find transportation to catch up to her tour group? Cybrsk8r That’s the reason I didn’t vote. We have no idea if the compensation was enough. jennj99738 There’s really not enough information here to make an educated decision. I wonder if Ms. Wiener purchased her JetBlue ticket separately from her vacation package and therefore, it wasn’t scheduled by Vantage and wouldn’t be covered by her Tripmate policy. That’s my first guess. Secondly, four hours on an international connection to Asia, in my opinion, is too close. It’s doable but I don’t know what time of year this was. If it happened in the winter, 4 hours is definitely too close. There is usually a 60 minute window to check in, if not 90 minutes. There is a minimum 3 hour transfer time at JFK according to Air India’s website. I also don’t understand why she says no one was around to help her? Air India doesn’t have a manned desk or phone number? At JFK? Again, I go back to wondering if her flight to JFK from FLL was outside the package, thereby making Vantage not responsible for her delay. If this is true and the voucher of more than $5,000 was her cost for this tour, then Vantage provided enough compensation–or more than enough. If her flight was part of the package, then Vantage definitely should have been more proactive but then again I don’t know what she did to try to get their help. Vantage’s response, per Chris’s post, isn’t much to go on. Lindabator NO – but she should have called the 24 hour insurance hotline for a re-accommodation. Probably one of the biggest mistakes I see, and why we ALWAYS reiterate the importance of our clients doing so, as well as they’re having US to go to bat for them. ALWAYS call the insurance carrier IMMEDIATELY! They don’t just do refunds, they usually handle all re-scheduled flights as well. Lindabator That’s why she had insurance – call them to take care of those re-accommodation details. Lindabator Her problem was the delay on Jet Blue, not Air India. Her being late was not their fault. I think she probably kept bouncing calls between Vantage and Air India, instead of staying on the line with one or the other, and so didn’t give either a chance to pick up. Lindabator It seems more likely she didn’t want to wait on hold for either Vantage or Air India, then just decided to fly home. She had insurance, she should have called them! The insurance would have been declined when SHE chose to abandon the trip. Lindabator But they do not BOOK Jet Blue, and THAT was the flight delayed 3 hours. However, since she never called the insurance during the problems, there was no way to re-accommodate her AFTER she decided to go home! Lindabator She contacted them AFTER she chose to abandon the trip – if she would have called them while at the airport, different story. wiseword Traveling only on the Long Island Expressway to JFK for an international flight really requires four hours lead time. Coming from anywhere else with a connection requires arriving the night before, just as with a cruise departure. Vantage might offer its favored members the same advice, but really, people should THINK! Lindabator What he is trying to say, is when you purchase TripMate FROM the tour operator, the coverage is to the Operator’s benefit (vouchers versus cash), and not as comprehensive as 3rd party nsurance. As a travel agent, I NEVEr sell a cruise line’s or tour operator’s insurance, and ONLY sell Travel Gurad or Travel Ex. FAR better coverage for the client. Lindabator Does not apply here, as it was Jet Blue which forced her in 3 hours later — too late to catch the flight. When she booked the Jet Blue flight, she didn’t leave enough time for emergencies, and this is the result (unfortunately) Lindabator Since Vantage does not SELL Jet Blue, nor offer Ft Lauderdale flight options, YES – she booked it herself. $16635417 I would willing to bet that if she was trying to do a same day connection coming from FLL, she certainly had the time to take a flight up to JFK the previous evening. Brittney Stonewall I’m guessing that Vantage full of bologna and they don’t treat their most valued customers in the “President’s Club,” as they recall from their website. Regardless of the fine print, I realize that their customer service sucks. If I were Sarena, I sure as hell wouldn’t book another trip to India through their services. The company shows no signs of exceptional customer service and consumer good will. How is it that the representatives from Vantage, were unattainable and JFK, too? This really puzzles me. What I do know is that I would’ve left that darn club already. How can you expect to establish strong relationships with your customers when you’re lacking in the customer service department? joshua82 I don’t think Air India is a member of any airline alliance. AirlineEmployee I’m only taking pity on her because of her age (78) but really, if you’re leaving on a very important, expensive trip and it’s a large wager, why, in the name of all that’s holy would you not take a flight into New York the day before ?? Anything can happen with any given flight, any airline, on any one given day. Is it not worth one night’s stay at a hotel in New York, near the airport to continue your much wanted trip R E L A X E D ?? TouchyFeely You can’t control the weather. TouchyFeely Again, here’s Chris giving us all the details. Anyone else notice a great many significant “holes” lately? TouchyFeely true. once they push back, what’s the point? TouchyFeely Funny you don’t see a real strong criticism of the travel insurance industry in this blog. Then again, they are paid sponsors. ArizonaRoadWarrior First, I am a strong advocate of travel insurance as based upon my several posts over the years at this blog. There is a big difference between a travel insurance policy that is sold by Squaremouth, InsuredMyTrip, etc. and ‘travel protection plans’ that are sold by travel providers (i.e. airlines, tour operators, cruise lines, etc.). First, policies that are sold by sites such as Squaremouth, InsuredMyTrip, etc. are sold by licensed insurance agents. Travel protection plans are sold by companies and individuals that are not licensed as insurance agents since it is not an insurance product. In regards to their statement that their plans (they don’t use the word ‘policy’) are underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company is a marketing ploy. I used to work for a Wall Street firm as a Compliance Officer that had a business unit that sold self-funded health plans. The plans were underwritten by insurance companies to assume the risk of large claims but technical and legally it is not major medical policy, a health insurance policy, etc…it is a self-funded health plan. Companies such as TripMate are licensed as a plan administrator not as an insurance company. I went to the State of Missouri Insurance website, http://insurance.mo.gov/CompanyAgentSearch/search/search-companies.php, and entered Trip Mate, TripMate, Trip and Globus (since the tour operator owns TripMate) and none of these names appeared as a licensed insurance company. This is the same result that occur the last that I commented about in regards to a situation involving travel protection plans. Every travel protection plan that I encountered as a consumer or read in this blog, the travel protection plan was written by the airline, cruise line or tour operator. The terms of these travel protection plans were written to benefit the travel provider. For example, a traveler purchased a travel protection plan with a ‘cancel for any reason plan’. The traveler developed a medical condition that prevented him from traveling again…the benefit from the protection plan was a voucher for a future tour and it was non-transferrable…making it worthless for the traveler. All of the policies that I have purchased and seen at Squaremouth, InsuredMyTrip, etc. the ‘cancel for any reason benefit’ pays cash to the insured. We have taken tours and I have read the fine print of the travel protections plans that came with the tours. The bottom line that they didn’t cover much, was written for the benefit of the travel provider so in short, they were basically worthless. There might be a travel protection plan out there that could match the benefits and features of a travel insurance policy but I have seen it yet. ArizonaRoadWarrior First, I am a strong advocate of travel insurance as based upon my several posts over the years at this blog. My issue is with travel protection plans that are marketed and sold like a travel insurance policy. There is a big difference between a travel insurance policy that is sold by Squaremouth, InsuredMyTrip, etc. and ‘travel protection plans’ that are sold by travel providers (i.e. airlines, tour operators, cruise lines, etc.). First, policies that are sold by sites such as Squaremouth, InsuredMyTrip, etc. are sold by licensed insurance agents. Travel protection plans are sold by companies and individuals that are not licensed as insurance agents since it is not an insurance product. In regards to their statement that their plans (they don’t use the word ‘policy’) are underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company is a marketing ploy. I used to work for a Wall Street firm as a Compliance Officer that had a business unit that sold self-funded health plans. The plans were underwritten by insurance companies to assume the risk of large claims but technical and legally it is not major medical policy, a health insurance policy, etc…it is a self-funded health plan. Companies such as TripMate are licensed as a plan administrator not as an insurance company. I went to the State of Missouri Insurance website, http://insurance.mo.gov/CompanyAgentSearch/search/search-companies.php, and entered Trip Mate, TripMate, Trip and Globus (since the tour operator owns TripMate) and none of these names appeared as a licensed insurance company. This is the same result that occur the last that I commented about in regards to a situation involving travel protection plans. Every travel protection plan that I encountered as a consumer or read in this blog, the travel protection plan was written by the airline, cruise line or tour operator. The terms of these travel protection plans were written to benefit the travel provider. For example, a traveler purchased a travel protection plan with a ‘cancel for any reason plan’. The traveler developed a medical condition that prevented him from traveling again…the benefit from the protection plan was a voucher for a future tour and it was non-transferrable…making it worthless for the traveler. All of the policies that I have purchased and seen at Squaremouth, InsuredMyTrip, etc. the ‘cancel for any reason benefit’ pays cash to the insured. We have taken tours and I have read the fine print of the travel protections plans that came with the tours. The bottom line that they didn’t cover much, was written for the benefit of the travel provider so in short, they were basically worthless. There might be a travel protection plan out there that could match the benefits and features of a travel insurance policy but I have seen it yet. ArizonaRoadWarrior You know the difference between the two. ArizonaRoadWarrior The plan is NOT an insurance policy since it is NOT registered as an insurance product by each state. TripMate nor its owner, Globus (who is a tour operator) is licensed as an insurance company. The travel protection can be sold by individuals not licensed as an insurance agent. This is a self-fund plan where the risk is being underwritten by United States Fire Insurance Company. TonyA_says Let’s see what is costs for an overnight stay: Taxi from JFK to Manhattan – $45 plus tolls Taxi from Manhattaon to JFK – another $45 plus tolls Dinner in Manhattan – $50 AARP discounted room at Grand Hyatt – $271 w/ tax. Traffic in Manhattan – PRICELESS So staying overnight in Manhattan will cost her at least $400. Now let’s look at the on-time performance ratings of the morning JetBlue flights: B6 68 FLLJFK- 600A 841A 9 320 0E B6 26 FLLJFK- 715A 959A 9 320 0E B6 2 FLLJFK- 805A1051A 9 320 0E All the flights have better than 90% on-time performance. AI102 departs JFK at 225PM from Terminal 4. So it’s one stop in the inner AirTrain (inter terminal) link from JetBlue’s Terminal 5. Looks like taking any of the 3 morning B6 flights was not supposed to be a bad choice. IMO if only Vantage answered their phones, they could have put her on a cab to Newark and take CO82 departing 837PM bound for Delhi. She would only be 6 hours and 20 minutes late to her destination. If that CO flight was not available, then Jet Airways 9W 225 to BRU-DEL departing JFK at 6PM arriving DEL 1030PM would be the next choice. Incidentally, her travel protection plan would repay her back up to $750 for a missed connection. A one way fare is at least $499 plus fuel surcharge and tax. The cheapest 9W one-way ticket is $788. So she would have been only $38 out of the pocket IF SHE KNEW WHAT TO DO. It’s not too much to expect Vantage Travel to answer their phones at 2PM in the afternoon. They failed her. TonyA_says What did they (insurance) do wrong here? TonyA_says You can check out the plan here. http://www.tripmate.com/wpF427V/tic.htm davidglass LOL, now connecting to an international flight requires arrival a day early and overnight stay. Right. Laughable. flutiefan who said anything about Manhattan? JFK is on the edge of Queens, on the border of Long Island. there are plenty of nearby hotels and motels that don’t require any of those costs. TonyA_says I won’t recommend a 78 year old who paid $6K++ to vantage stay on one of those dumps around JFK. I suppose she has the money to be comfortable if she needs to. But my point is since the JetBlue flights were ~90% on time, if she took the early ones out of FLL, what is the point of throwing $400 on a one night stay? Besides she was covered by insurance for Flight Delay for $750. I have worked in Queens since the 90’s. My travel office is in between LGA and JFK (not too far from where Jet Blue used to be). Other than me [who commutes when I have to], all the folks at the office live in Queens. Minimum she could stay at LaGuardia Marriott [but cannot walk around] or if she likes the Chinatown feeling, the Sheraton Flushing.I drive or take the shuttle all the time to JFK. When my flights are delayed and am offered a room around JFK, I automatically refuse and either stay in the airport lounge [even if I have to pay] or go home [or the office or my co-worker’s homes] and come back later. Sorry, but that JFK area is a hell hole. Bill Armstrong You don’t give enough information, Chris. Is the compensation offered enough to pay for an entire trip (excepting the leg on Jet Blue)? If so, it is not a bad offer. When there’s an important connection like that, fly the day before. Bruce Burger Tony, you’re kidding, right? There’s a Marriott Courtyard and Doubletree, among others, adjacent to JFK. I suspect anyone — let alone someone traveling to India! — can survive a night in those places just fine. Jeanne_in_NE Have to agree with TonyA’s earlier response. My son lives in Queens and is adamant that when we visit, we stay in Manhattan. (No, it’s not to make us keep our distance! :) )My husband has stayed in Flushing on an airline voucher; never again! Have to check into @Bruce Burger’s suggestion about the Marriott and Doubletree. Rae A The vacation insurance plans sold by The Walt Disney Company seem to be on par with other independent trip insurance plans, and pay cash if a trip is cancelled. They will also cover flights booked apart from the package, and include pre-existing condition waivers. http://media.disneywebcontent.com/StaticFiles/DTA-Domestic/pdf/WDW/WDWGenericVacInsurance.pdf jennj99738 The Marriott Courtyard is extremely nice and has a restaurant on the premises. The shuttle will take you from the AirTrain to the hotel and then back to the terminal. I’ve done it when connecting to an international flight to Jordan taking my own advice and arriving the night before. If you need a hotel near JFK, Ihighly recommend the Marriott but I definitely wouldn’t stay there for a vacation! TonyA_says Bruce, I wish I was kidding. I am really embarrassed about this since I do have guests who come in and want to visit for a short stopover. I need to book them in Manhattan AND DRIVE THEM TO AND FROM! JFK is one of the worst airports in the world and the property around it included. By the way, just because someone is going to India does not mean they will accept low standards. To each his/her own. Some people may disagree and that’s ok. How much they want to spend on a hotel is personal. Lindabator Nope – their invitation to join the Star Alliance was suspended due to their inability to meet the minimum requirements. Lindabator No, maybe not – but his was NOT a connecting flight, it was a separate ticket, so as far as Air india is concerned, they were a no show for their ORIGINAL flight. When you book split tickets like this, you have to allow MORE than sufficient time, and an overnight stay when using tickets like these is NOT out of the ordinary at all. Lindabator Right. If she had CALLED them immediately, this whole mess could have been straightened out. After all, it took her time to have Jet Blue change her ticket to return home the same day, so it would have taken the insurance company around the same amount of time to re-accommodate her. ALWAYS call the insurance company at the FIRST sign of trouble! TonyA_says Good advice, Linda! For example, Travel Guard has 24/7 WORLDWIDE ASSISTANCE SERVICES including: Emergency Travel Assistance Dedicated LiveTravel counselors available to help with any travel request, including flight or hotel rebookings, rental car reservations, roadside assistance, and more. I wonder why she bought insurance and didn’t bother to call and use it. Did she buy the JetBlue ticket on her own and thought the insurance did not cover her problem? I agree she should have called TripMate.Which makes me want to ask this question – when she bought the Vantage tour and opted for trip protection, was she given a copy of the policy and Tripmate’s contact info?