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May 2020    Download the Entire Issue (PDF) Vol. 35, No. 5   RSS Feed for Undercurrent Issues
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Plenty of Tales of Woe Among Traveling Divers

Paid for a trip? Donít set your heart on a refund

from the May, 2020 issue of Undercurrent   Subscribe Now

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After Undercurrent asked subscribers for stories of how their travel arrangements were affected by the pandemic, we were inundated with tales of woe. In general, people are being offered vouchers for future trips to the value of the money they have paid, but in many cases, future prices will increase, meaning a shortfall.

Airlines, strapped for cash, are also reluctant to make straight refunds. Lufthansa, the state airline of Germany, is technically insolvent, and others are close behind. IAG (owners of British Airways and Iberia), one of the better-placed financially, states they have cash reserves for only a few months. Singapore Airlines is mothballing some of its A380s in the Australian desert, obviously not expecting recovery of the long-haul travel market soon. How this bodes for smaller airlines that fly tourists around the Caribbean or Indonesia is unknown, but it can't be good news. Should airlines even survive the travel bans, social distancing rules may reduce passenger payloads by at least 50 percent with a resultant increase in fares.

So, stuck between a rock and a hard place, it looks like any money you have paid upfront will be worth less when the time comes to reinstate your travel plans -- sometimes even if you have a voucher.

Dive Operators

For the most part, dive operators are working hard to balance the economics of good customer relations with staying in business, but some divers are not happy, for good reason....

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