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Travel scam warning: AAA offers tips to travelers to avoid scams


Mon, Aug 7th 2023 10:10 am

By AAA of Western and Central New York

It has been a busy summer for travel and, unfortunately, that strong interest has also attracted criminals who are looking to take advantage of others. AAA strongly urges travelers to use reputable services for their travel needs, and to be on alert for potential scams.

Recently, a AAA travel adviser came across a scam targeting air travelers. The scam specifically targets people who search for an airline’s phone number online because their flight has been canceled or delayed. Those fake phone numbers lead callers to an unrelated, third party that will ask for reservation information and credit card numbers to pay for a “service fee” or price difference between flights. In some cases, those “fees” are hundreds of dollars. AAA wants members, and all travelers, to be aware of these types of scams to avoid falling victim.

AAA Recommendations

√ If your flight is delayed or canceled, and you’re at the airport, speak with a gate agent in person or use the airline’s app.

√ If you prefer to call the airline, use the toll-free number that appears on its website.

√ An airline will not charge you for a canceled or delayed flight.

√ Prior to a trip, download the airline’s app and save its toll-free number on your phone.

√ To avoid these situations, work with a travel agent ahead of time and purchase travel insurance to cover incidental expenses like meals and lodging in the event of a cancelLation.

Just how busy is the travel industry? International trips continue to rise dramatically with travelers headed to popular destinations like London or Rome. Overall, AAA booking data reveals that international travel is up more than 200% compared to 2022. Hotel bookings are seeing the biggest jump, up more than 300% over last year. Unfortunately, the spike in demand is driving up airfare. Ticket prices for international trips have increased more than 30%, yet travelers aren’t hesitating when it comes to booking international getaways.

Domestic travel is also extremely busy with travelers heading to East Coast beaches, National Parks, theme parks and campgrounds. A new travel trend taking place this year has travelers booking bucket list destinations well in advance. AAA is seeing an increase in bookings for 2024 and even 2025, which was unusual in the past. Some destinations, like African safaris, are booking into 2026, as many travelers have a renewed a “YOLO” (“you only live once”) attitude about travel post-pandemic.

AAA is on standby to assist travelers before, during and after their trips. For those who need vacation inspiration, www.AAA.com/Travel and AAA’s TripCanvas are good starting points.

As upstate New York’s largest member services organization, AAA Western and Central New York provides more than 862,000 members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1900, AAA has been a leading advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. Visit AAA at www.AAA.com.

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