TourGroupPlanners

Read below for general Travel Advisories from Tour Group Planners.
Click at left for U.S. Department of State Travel Alerts, Travel Warnings & Country Specific Information.
F
or the latest word on anything that might affect one of our tours, we will post it here www.TourGroupPro.com/news as quickly as possible and if changes are imminent, will call all travelers.


2015

May 4 7:27 PM No news affecting any of our tours.



2014

August 23 7:08 PM While there are still no issues, we note that they have announced that an eruption occurred in Iceland. Since it was under the ice, there is no ash cloud yet. We will continue to monitor the situation and will not make more postings until there is imminent potential impact.

August 20 10:14 AM All tours departing without incident or issues. However there is a warning about a possibility of an Icelandic volcano eruption. You can read more here. Past eruptions' ash clouds did not affect any of our tours. We made contingency plans that involved flying into different European airports and utilizing train service to get to the tour start. If you want to see if an eruption's ash cloud has affected your tour, please check back here.


2013

April 29 9:36 AM All tours departing without incident or issues.


2012

September 5 2012 Civil War Train itinerary reversed due to flood-caused bridge repair in New Orleans.

May 21 9:13 AM Tour Group LLC aded link (top left column for general news about Travel Industry and Foreign Currency that is updated constantly.

May 11 11:52 PM All tours departing without any incident or issues. No major news other than weakening of the pound and euro.


2011

July 5 12:03 PM Civil War Train departing July 15... we have gotten a tip that track work may affect our departure day after all. However, www.amtrak.com still shows our train operating northbound normally.

July 3 10:12 PM still no general news impacting our tours!

June 6 5:16 PM Per BBC http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13662431 from yesterday, the dangerous E. coli has been traced to a specific farm outside of Hamburg that grew sprouts. Now the recommendation is to avoid sprouts.

June 5 8:59 PM E. coli outbreak is mostly localized to Germany and comparatively small scale (by comparison to the population). Here is an excerpt from a story in the BBC: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-13652817 The World Health Organisation said a further 103 people [out of 1836 total] in 12 other countries had been sickened by the bug - all but one had recently travelled to or from northern Germany... "There is no reason for hysteria, because it's not spreading and it's not increasing - it's decreasing," he said. The U.S.' Centers for Disease Control and Prevention www.cdc.gov is monitoring the situation and makes common-sense recommendations above travelers to Germany "avoid eating raw tomatoes, fresh cucumbers, and leafy salads...".

May 25 9:54 AM BBC article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-13513981indicates that safety officials and airlines are cautiously optimistic about the impact of the ash cloud in the next days. From this point, we will only post news when we project a delay or disruption to one of tours in progress or one departing soon.

May 24 10:07 AM Another Icelandic volcano is active again and may affects flights to and from Britain and Europe. We are monitoring the situation and will post news here. Please check back. None of our groups were affected last year and we learned about options of how to get to airports in Europe that were unaffected. Move down to May 17 in 2010 section if you want to see how we worked with the airlines and insurance company on contingency plans.

March 3 12:56 PM No problems. Pound is 40 cents off its 2007 high... Euro is 23 cents off its 2008 high.


2010

July 27 3:39 PM No problems; Euro has worked its way up a bit--still a good value for Americans traveling to Europe!

July 1 3:39 PM Still no problems with volcanos etc.! And the further good news is that the Euro remains almost 20% less than it's December high.

June 1 4:12 PM While Europe has remained clear of ash since 5/24/10, some of our tours have noted more rain than is usual. We are pleased that our groups--so far--have avoided delay and cancellation from volcanic ash!

May 24 10:20 AM European Skies Clear for First Time in 40 Days as Eruption Ends
From http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=20601209&sid=a1GW.vhWDyyU

Under EC Regulation 261, if a flight is cancelled, those flying with European carriers into or out of the EU have the right to a refund or to be rerouted. If passengers choose the latter they have the right to care, such as accommodation and meals, while they wait.
From http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2010/may/23/volcanic-ash-travel-insurance

May 17 11:24 AM If ash even affects one of our group's air travel (has not affected any since April 14th) each situation will be unique. Hopefully this will help give you an idea of how the travel industry is working together to keep travelers on track.

According to BBC news stories, the Netherlands and British Isles’ flights were impacted by limited cancellations again over the weekend (5/15-16/10). By Monday 5/17/10 nearly all flights appear to be operating again. Train operators have put enough coaches in service to handle over 12,000 travelers’ needs for rerouting.

We know of no impact on Spain throughout the eruptions and indeed Spain has added hundreds of flights to accommodate rerouted passengers... in conjunction with added trains to get them from affected points in Europe.

We have talked to Air France’s group desk personnel about some of the impacts (we have a group traveling to Paris later in summer). They said that they have rerouted their flights to avoid the ash cloud and because of longer flight times, the current impacts have been limited to delayed arrivals and departures.

Your insurance policy from Travel Guard covers* natural disasters or adverse weather… as well as the more likely occurrence of illness or accident causing trip cancellation or interruption. They have helped a lot of people during the recent round of cancellations.

For groups whose is airline is American Airlines, AA has a vast network of destinations in Europe and overall may be less impacted by the “hub” centric European carriers that have all their eggs in 1 or 2 baskets (i.e. airports). We cannot say now what combination of American Airlines, its network of “one world” carriers, train service and Travel Guard might be able to arrange accommodate our group either direction but we will be monitoring the situation.

As of 5/17/10 American Airlines has not yet issued an updated “notice” that would allow travelers to go early or late without charges for changing the reservation (as would be normal). If a notice were published later for your travel period, then it may be only allowing a change of date not routing (i.e. into a different airport). However at the airport, they have the authority and leeway to make routing changes as needed. And if arriving at a different airport than Frankfurt then we have a contact at the group desk of Rail Europe that could help with holding the reservation for a group. We would expect the travelers to pay for the rail tickets, hotel (etc. as applicable) and then help with the claim for reimbursement later.

As the conditions ebb and flow, one advantage of being among a later group of travelers is that all involved will have more experience on how to address their needs. It is unlikely that a group could leave early. We can only think of one time that an airline managed this (a blizzard forecast) and it was decades ago when flights were less full. In the case of one nearby group, we looked at the current seat inventory and there are only 5 seats open now for the same flight but the day before the tour's departure date.

If anything happens it is more likely to be in the realm of a delayed departure time or date or different arrival airport. Similarly, a delayed return is possible. We will be monitoring the situation to see if it affects us… and alerting ground operators who will do all possible to reroute ground transportation or arrange for train travel to get the group to its original destination.

If there is any impact, we will post it here (www.TourGroupPro.com/news) as quickly as possible and will call all travelers. Once on the trip, travelers’ family members etc. will also be able to get news from this same web page or by calling Bill Owen directly: cell 217-454-4525.

*Please note that if travelers go early or cancel their tour because of fear of possible disruption or cancellation, they would not be covered by insurance. Insurance only helps after something has happened.

Email to TourGroupPlanners: Becky Luka (or Bill Owen)

Call 217-422-5002
(or 217-619-0202)

Directions to our offices at Decatur Professional Plaza, Decatur & S. Main Streets; parking west of building Street Address:
TourGroupPlanners
363 S Main St Ste 175
Decatur IL 62523