November 27th, 2012
To: Potential Athletes, Coaches, & Parents for the 2013 J1 Trip to Trondheim, Norway
From: Pete Phillips, J1 Trip Coordinator for National Nordic Foundation
Date: 20, November 2013
Re: Ticketing, and travel
I had a long conversation with a top travel agency today. Our contact there has been researching a pile of questions I gave her regarding the challenges of not knowing until little more than a week before departure whether or not one has qualified for the trip.
Her recent experience with flights to Europe is that there is not a huge difference in price between an advance purchase and one transacted a short time before departure.
BUT, and here is the caveat, availability and itinerary become limited. With this trip it is important that the kids arrive in Trondheim, Norway on the 14th of January, so getting a seat is important. Trip dates are departure on 13, November – return on 24, January.
She recommends buying a non-refundable but changeable ticket some time in advance of the end of the year. These tickets, depending on the airline, can be changed for a fee, can carry a credit against another ticket if the price of the changed ticket is less than the original, or in some cases can be changed but with no credit. It varies widely from carrier to carrier. The Luxus plan is a refundable and changeable ticket. These are pricey, though SAS and Icelandair offer a refundable version for $1800. Delta’s is over $3000.
A further consideration that is worth exploring is travel insurance. While the standard version wouldn’t cover non-use because of a failure to qualify for an event, there is a full coverage Upgraded version from some companies. Travel Guard, Travel Insured, and TruTravel are only three of many companies offering ticket protection.
As you zero in on a decision about this I would offer some other suggestions:
1) Minimize the number of connections. Every landing and take off increases the chance of lost baggage or a missed connection. The money saved can claim a price in fatigue and hassle.
2) If at all possible stick to one airline or those that are truly partners where it comes to responsibility for lost luggage.
3) Use a Travel Agent. We can recommend ours and there are many other good ones. Good ones work hard to find the best plan and they stand behind you in event of trouble.
Feel free to call or write with questions. Right now, keep training hard and Get On That Plane!