Nurses Abandoned by Gate 1 Travel

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Apr 29, 2020
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April 29, 2020


To: Elliott Advocacy

RE: Gate 1 Travel Reservation #1xxxxxx


My friends and I purchased a 15-day deluxe trip to New Zealand and Australia offered by Gate 1 Travel. We are Registered Nurses in South Florida and this was to be our dream vacation. Unfortunately it became more of a nightmare vacation. We booked this trip in December 2019 through Unique Travel of Palm Beach. We each paid $4177.05, most of which was paid by check to qualify for a slight discount.

We were extremely hesitant about proceeding on this trip, due to the increasing Corona Virus cases worldwide. However, our travel agent, Lilyan Sasson, reassured us that there shouldn't be a problem traveling where we were going. She told us that Gate 1 was not canceling our trip, and it was implied that we would lose our money if we canceled.

Our trip began on March 11th as scheduled and arrived in New Zealand early Friday morning. That following Monday morning Aaron, our Gate 1 tour guide, explained that Australia closed it's borders at midnight, and he had been up all night trying to reach his superior and anyone at Gate 1 Travel that could assist us. We were distressed, and felt abandoned. Aaron thought it would be best if we rushed to the airport to ensure we could rebook our flights home before New Zealand closed it's borders. We flew home on Wednesday, March 18th. Our employer immediately placed us on an unpaid 14 day self quarantine.

Lily claimed she made multiple attempts to reach Gate 1 about refunding us for the trip, but was unable to get through. We had purchased Gate 1's travel protection insurance, and have submitted individual letters to Gate 1 Travel's support email address, and completed their customer service contact form. It's now approaching 45 days since our trip ended and Gate 1 has only acknowledged receipt of our "inquiry".

What should our travel agent be doing for us? How should we proceed? We would sincerely appreciate any assistance you can offer. Thank you.

Note: Edited by a moderator to remove reservation number
 
Last edited by a moderator:
May 30, 2019
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This is unfortunate. Your trip can't be entirely refunded, because you did fly to NZ and you did have at least a couple days there. So it sounds like you are trying to get a partial refund. The questions appears to be: Does TA have any obligation to refund your money? What can you get from the insurance policy you purchased?

Although you purchase insurance through the TA, the policy was likely written by Arch Insurance. They have different types of policies, that vary based upon purchase date and traveler preferences. Do you have the Terms and Conditions related to the travel insurance? Do you know what it covers -- i.e. trip interruption for any reason or only medical, trip cancellation, Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR), etc?

That you distress and felt abandoned is sad, but not germane to obtaining some financial relief. The insurance policy might (but most likely does not) cover some economic damage related quarantine, however the TA has no obligation to cover missed work. In other words, you should focus any communication on the costs for activities you did not complete.

Hope this helps.
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
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Wow, I see such a great headline here for Gate 1...........Nurses had to abandon dream trip down under but Gate 1 came through as a thank you to our first responders.
 
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Apr 29, 2020
10
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This is unfortunate. Your trip can't be entirely refunded, because you did fly to NZ and you did have at least a couple days there. So it sounds like you are trying to get a partial refund. The questions appears to be: Does TA have any obligation to refund your money? What can you get from the insurance policy you purchased?

Although you purchase insurance through the TA, the policy was likely written by Arch Insurance. They have different types of policies, that vary based upon purchase date and traveler preferences. Do you have the Terms and Conditions related to the travel insurance? Do you know what it covers -- i.e. trip interruption for any reason or only medical, trip cancellation, Cancel For Any Reason (CFAR), etc?

That you distress and felt abandoned is sad, but not germane to obtaining some financial relief. The insurance policy might (but most likely does not) cover some economic damage related quarantine, however the TA has no obligation to cover missed work. In other words, you should focus any communication on the costs for activities you did not complete.

Hope this helps.

Skippy,

I feel blessed we made it home safely. However Gate 1 should have put our safety first and at least postponed this trip. Our tour guide told us that they canceled all trips scheduled after ours, so why not ours? Traveling almost 4 days to spend 3 days in New Zealand was not what we signed up for. I never expected Gate 1 to cover our lost wages for the period of our quarantine. However I feel we are owed a full refund for what we were subjected to during this trip.

I actually read through the terms of the Travel Protection Policy prior to purchasing it. The coverage includes trip cancelation, trip interruption, etc. There is no CFAR coverage. What company offers that? Not many I expect. After weeks of being unable to reach anyone at Gate 1, I decided to call Arch Insurance. I was told to contact my travel supplier and they would supply me the necessary claim form. Since then my friends and I have made multiple attempts to contact Gate 1 by phone and email. To date, we haven't received their response to our claim request.

My question remains, what obligation/responsibility does the travel agency have to us in regard to communications with Gate 1, and the insurance claim process?

Thanks so much for your thoughts on our situation.
 
Apr 29, 2020
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Wow, I see such a great headline here for Gate 1...........Nurses had to abandon dream trip down under but Gate 1 came through as a thank you to our first responders.
Nice play on the headline! We wouldn't even mind at this point if they used it to their advantage. We just want them to do the right thing and refund our money.
 
Apr 29, 2020
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You should file a claim for trip interruption if it is covered. And your travel agent should be helping with this so get on her back about assisting.
We have trip interruption coverage. The issue is that we can't reach anyone at Gate 1 to initiate a claim. During our travel emergency, Gate 1's own Tour Guide couldn't reach anyone at the company. He was totally on his own when it came to deciding how to handle the situation.
 

Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,021
22,971
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
Skippy,

I feel blessed we made it home safely. However Gate 1 should have put our safety first and at least postponed this trip. Our tour guide told us that they canceled all trips scheduled after ours, so why not ours? Traveling almost 4 days to spend 3 days in New Zealand was not what we signed up for. I never expected Gate 1 to cover our lost wages for the period of our quarantine. However I feel we are owed a full refund for what we were subjected to during this trip.

I actually read through the terms of the Travel Protection Policy prior to purchasing it. The coverage includes trip cancelation, trip interruption, etc. There is no CFAR coverage. What company offers that? Not many I expect. After weeks of being unable to reach anyone at Gate 1, I decided to call Arch Insurance. I was told to contact my travel supplier and they would supply me the necessary claim form. Since then my friends and I have made multiple attempts to contact Gate 1 by phone and email. To date, we haven't received their response to our claim request.

My question remains, what obligation/responsibility does the travel agency have to us in regard to communications with Gate 1, and the insurance claim process?

Thanks so much for your thoughts on our situation.
Your travel agent should be doing this for you. That is why you booked through them. If they aren't assisting, shame on them.They are members of ASTA and if they refuse to help you - you can go to ASTA.org and file a complaint and they will contact the agency for you.

Here is information from the ASTA website Daniel Goldwasser is listed at the Vice President, you might want to call and ask to speak to him. His email is [email protected]
.


Mr. Daniel Goldwasser, CTA Unique Travel of Palm Beach, Inc. Vice PresidentDelray BeachFLUnited States
Jill Kravitz Unique Travel of Palm Beach, Inc. Luxury Travel AdvisorDelray BeachFLUnited States
Jonette Shepherd, CTA Unique Travel of Palm Beach, Inc. Delray BeachFLUnited States
 
Apr 29, 2020
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Your travel agent should be doing this for you. That is why you booked through them. If they aren't assisting, shame on them.They are members of ASTA and if they refuse to help you - you can go to ASTA.org and file a complaint and they will contact the agency for you.

Here is information from the ASTA website Daniel Goldwasser is listed at the Vice President, you might want to call and ask to speak to him. His email is [email protected]
.


Mr. Daniel Goldwasser, CTA Unique Travel of Palm Beach, Inc. Vice PresidentDelray BeachFLUnited States
Jill Kravitz Unique Travel of Palm Beach, Inc. Luxury Travel AdvisorDelray BeachFLUnited States
Jonette Shepherd, CTA Unique Travel of Palm Beach, Inc. Delray BeachFLUnited States
Very helpful information Neil. Thank you so much!
 
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Neil Maley

Moderator
Staff Member
Advocate
Dec 27, 2014
23,021
22,971
113
New York
www.promalvacations.com
It just annoys me to see a travel agent abandon a client. However, you shouldn’t need to get this information from Gate 1. You should be able to file a claim yourself.

Here is information with phone numbers to Arch Insurance:

Policies are administered by Arch Insurance Solutions, 1-877-722-1959, CA License #0I18111, TX License #1787195. Your policy is the contract that specifically and fully describes your coverage. Certain restrictions and exclusions apply and coverages may vary in certain states. Please refer to your policy for detailed terms and conditions. Consumer disclosures can be found at: https://gate1.archinsurancesolutions.com/disclosures
 
Apr 29, 2020
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Thanks for the additional information Neil. My Arch Insurance document has a Maryland address with a different phone number. The woman I spoke to instructed me to contact Gate 1 to initiate our claim. Hopefully I'll get some help with the number you provided. This was only my 2nd international trip, so I'm grateful for your support.
 

jsn55

Verified Member
Dec 26, 2014
9,730
10,525
113
San Francisco
I agree with Neil, your TA should be on top of this, but the insurance should come first. I don't see that the tour operator is to blame, things moved so fast that everyone was caught off guard. I am very glad that you all got home safely. While the first thought is to blame the big bad corporation, I see this situation very clearly as a travel interruption insurance claim. I have little personal experience, but this makes sense to me. I don't think the tour operator is technically responsible for any kind of refund. Many tour operators are offering bonus values for rebooking the trip in the future. I hope each of you file an insurance claim immediately. One of you should liase with yourTA , keeping her informed of the progress and asking for help if the claims are denied. Her agency was paid a commission, so she needs to support you until this is settled. She should negotiate a plan that benefits everyone. While Gate 1 is not automatically responsible for making you whole, neither are you expected to just throw up your hands and walk away from a ruined trip of a lifetime.
 
Apr 29, 2020
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This trip has definitely been a learning experience. One would think the insurance claim process would be clear and accessible. Unfortunately I haven't found that to be true. Thank you for your kind comments.
 
Apr 29, 2020
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I appreciate everyone's comments and support in this forum. I finally received a reply from Gate 1 today, and posted it below. I paid $4177 for this 15 day trip. I spent 5 nights in New Zealand, basically 1/3 of the trip, and they only want to give me a travel credit of $1080? I'm owed $260 alone for 2 prepaid optional excursions (not 1 as noted in the response) that I was prevented from using. I learned a valuable and expensive lesson with this trip. I'll never pay in cash again, and ensure that I purchase a travel protection plan with CFAR coverage (thanks Skippy).

Still no help from our travel agent, Lily at Unique Travel. Unfortunately she leaves me no choice but to file a complaint with the ASTA, as Neil suggested.


1:00 PM (7 hours ago)


Thank you for contacting Gate 1. We regret that your trip was interrupted.

We could not have anticipated the extent of these unique circumstances, specifically the restrictions and site closures enacted by US and foreign governments. As such, we would like to offer a travel credit in the total value of the land services missed (seven nights and one optional tour), equal to $1080.49 per person. This amount has been added to your Gate 1 Travel account for a future reservation and will be valid for booking within 18 months. Please advise our reservation staff of the credit at the time of booking.


Best Regards,
Jen M
Customer Relations
Gate 1 Travel
https://www.gate1travel.com/

Note- Edited by moderator to remove reference number.
 
Last edited by a moderator:
May 30, 2019
384
771
93
Ugh. Thoughts:
  • If $4177 included airfare, getting back $1080 is plausible. After all, the agency did spend money on your behalf to get you to across the world.
  • Nonetheless, consider requesting a detailed breakdown about how they arrived at that amount.
  • Consider pushing for a refund of the money -- not a travel credit. Travel credits expire, get forgotten, disappear, etc. If they didn't spend your money, you should get it back.
 
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Apr 29, 2020
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Did the $4177 include airfare?
Yes, for most of the trip. I had to find my own flight to Los Angeles, CA from Ft Lauderdale, FL. I used Jet Blue and they were very empathetic and accommodating when I called to reschedule my return flight, with no flight change fee.
 
Apr 29, 2020
10
1
3
50
Ugh. Thoughts:
  • If $4177 included airfare, getting back $1080 is plausible. After all, the agency did spend money on your behalf to get you to across the world.
  • Nonetheless, consider requesting a detailed breakdown about how they arrived at that amount.
  • Consider pushing for a refund of the money -- not a travel credit. Travel credits expire, get forgotten, disappear, etc. If they didn't spend your money, you should get it back.
Yes, I agree about the travel credit. I also like the idea about requesting a detailed breakdown of the credit offer. Thanks!
 

Patina

Verified Member
Dec 22, 2015
1,911
3,506
113
Since it included the airfare, I do think the refund offered is plausible as well.
 
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