Posts tagged with "conferences"

Passport illustration by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Airlines Urged to Issue Refunds

Consumer Reports & PIRG Urge Airlines to Provide Full Refunds for Flights Canceled During Pandemic as Voucher Expiration Dates Approach

Groups Call for Airlines to Extend Voucher Expiration Dates Through At Least End Of 2022

With the one-year anniversary of the nationwide COVID-19 lockdown approaching, Consumer Reports and U.S. PIRG sent a letter to ten domestic airlines today calling on them to provide full refunds to consumers whose flights were canceled or affected by the pandemic.  At the very least, the consumer groups are urging airlines to extend the expiration dates for vouchers they issued for canceled flights to the end of 2022 or longer.

“Millions of Americans who booked flights in good faith in 2020 were prevented from flying because of government lockdowns and safety concerns brought on by a once-in-a-century global pandemic,” said William J. McGee, Aviation Adviser to Consumer Reports.  “The airline industry has received very generous support from taxpayers while stiff-arming its customers and treating their hard-earned dollars as interest-free loans.  It’s time to provide consumers with the long-overdue refunds they rightfully deserve.”

The consumer groups’ letter notes that complaints to the U.S. Department of Transportation about airline refunds have jumped dramatically over the past year.  In 2019, consumers submitted a total of 1,574 complaints about refunds to the DOT.  Last year, that number increased 57-fold to 89,518 refund complaints.

Consumer Reports has been contacted by numerous customers frustrated that they couldn’t get a refund during lockdowns and who are concerned that they might not be able to travel before vouchers expire. An analysis by TripAction, a travel management company for businesses, found that 55 percent of vouchers for unused tickets will expire in 2021, and 45 percent will expire in 2022.

Many passengers were prevented from flying because of government restrictions, public health notices, or serious medical conditions that made flying during the pandemic unsafe. Far too many of the trips they booked will never happen, due to the cancellation (not postponement) of conferences, conventions, weddings, graduations, and family reunions.

While passengers on flights canceled by airlines are entitled to a full refund under federal law, a congressional analysis found that some carriers offered vouchers as the default option, requiring passengers to take extra steps to get a cash refund. Many airlines waited until the last minute to cancel scheduled flights, prompting concerned passengers to cancel their tickets and forfeit their legal right to a refund.

“It’s insulting and unfair that airlines haven’t offered refunds to all customers affected by the pandemic,” said Teresa Murray, Consumer Watchdog Director for U.S. PIRG. “Consumers certainly couldn’t have foreseen a once-in-a-lifetime global crisis. Our research has shown that travelers whose plans got canceled have to wade through refund policies likely written by a team of lawyers. They’re faced with figuring out the difference between a flight credit or a trip credit or a travel voucher and similar offers the airlines make to avoid giving people easy-to-understand cash in their pocket.”

A Consumer Reports review of airline voucher policies found nine different policies among ten different airlines.  Many of these policies are hard to find on airline websites, and the airlines’ descriptions of their policies can be quite confusing and at times contradictory, based on conflicting rules for various dates of booking, travel, and cancellation. The consumer groups’ letter was sent to the CEOs of the following scheduled airlines: Alaska Airlines, Allegiant Air, American Airlines, Delta Air Lines, Frontier Airlines, Hawaiian Airlines, JetBlue Airways, Southwest Airlines, Spirit Airlines, and United Airlines.

Lexus ES, Vaughn Lowery, 360 MAGAZINE, Harlem, Upper Eastside

Top 3 Corporate Events Where a Pro MC Is Necessary

Almost all corporate events should have a professional master of ceremonies overseeing it. These corporate events are there for a reason. They’re meant to achieve a certain result that the planners had in mind when they were designing them. Whatever type of corporate event, the idea is not only to bring many people together but to encourage certain types of interactions and relationships between people that would not have been possible in the formal office environment. A professional MC is important when it comes to facilitating those relationships and interactions. They are like the secret sauce that makes your event extra special.

So, the next time you’re planning any of the following corporate events, consider getting yourself an MC for hire at cleancomedians.com to spice things up and improve your success rate, no matter what you’re aiming for.

1. Conferences and Seminars

The whole point of these events is to provide the target audience with certain information that is relevant to them. The seminars are much shorter than the conferences, with seminars lasting a few hours or a few days. They have a few speakers or, sometimes, only one and keep everyone together in the same place. Conferences will have lots of different sessions and speakers and will be held in hotels. They also have keynotes followed by topics and breakout sessions 

An MC is necessary at such events to prevent monotony. When you have many people in the same place listening to what is largely the same topic for an extended period, they can start to lose focus and get bored. An MC is important when it comes to giving the much-needed comic relief every once in a while. They are also great for organizing things and making sure every speaker is lined and ready for their session and introducing them onto the podium.

2. Appreciation Events

These events are usually meant to bring about an informal environment where the host can spend time with the guests and focus on building rapport and learning about their mutual interests. These events can be employee appreciations or client appreciations.

An MC is important at such events since they help to build up the informal atmosphere and get everyone to loosen up and relax. That encourages them to open up and network more easily. 

3. Team Building Events

These events are meant to boost employee confidence, morale and goodwill while building on the existing strengths of the company. They are meant to build the team, just as the name suggests. 

Such events need to be highly charged and energetic with lots of games and workshops that require everyone to be engaged. Who better to bring in that energy than an MC? The MC will not only help in the planning of the event but will also add the light touch necessary to get everyone pumped up for the event. 

All of these events are highly engaging and need an MC to sort of act as the “captain of the ship” to bring the program from the commencement to the conclusion successfully, leaving everyone feeling happy and fulfilled at the end.