Written on February 1, 2011 at 5:02 pm, by Nancy Lyons Callahan
Last week, after the latest east coast snow storm, we asked Suzanne Fletcher to share her expertise on what to do when the weather affects your travel plans. This week, we turned to mobile expert Nancy Callahan to see how Concur for smartphones can help business travelers who have had their travel plans abruptly changed due to weather.
Just ask anyone who has tried to travel in the last few weeks… there has been a lot of snow and ice this winter. Whether in the United States or Europe, many a traveler has a tale to tell about runways getting plowed, wings getting de-iced and what it’s like to spend the night (or three) in an airport. No matter where you are, you have most likely seen some snow this year (it actually snowed in 49 out of the 50 states on January 11th. The exception? Florida).
To give you an idea of just how bad it has been, the Wall Street Journal reported that Delta Air Lines was forced to cancel 5,500 flights during the early January winter storm, and 3,100 flights during the Christmas week storm. Other airlines were similarly affected. For hordes of travelers, this meant scrambling to secure another way home or find a place to stay when travel agents were flooded with calls.
As Suzanne mentioned last week, the first step to take when you’re stranded due to weather is stay calm. Then reach for your smartphone. After you’ve checked in with your family to let them know you’re safe, you can use Concur for smartphones to learn about flight delays, make AMTRAK reservations, rent a car and even book hotel rooms.
You can get live itinerary updates and check your flight’s status including scheduled, estimated and actual departure times. As the weather deteriorates and airlines start to delay or cancel flights, your flight status reflects those changes allowing you to quickly make alternative plans when necessary. Acting quickly may make the difference between getting home the same day or not.
For those who live and travel between Virginia and Massachusetts, AMTRAK remains one of the best alternatives for getting home in bad weather. Frequent travelers know that AMTRAK seats fill up fast as weather predictions worsen. Under these conditions, Concur users have the advantage of reserving seats on AMTRAK using Concur from their smartphone. No need to boot up a laptop, call an agent or search for a credit card number.
If you don’t happen to live along an AMTRAK train route, renting a car is an alternative worth considering. Once the storm passes but before airports start to resume their flights (or ideally, before the storm even hits), Concur’s mobile application makes renting a car easy.
Book a Room
Unfortunately, for many travelers, the only option might be to find a hotel room and wait out the storm. Concur’s app can help these travelers as well: find and book comfortable hotel rooms that are preferred properties at corporate rates.
Having your travel plans change due to the weather is hugely stressful. All the best laid plans are dashed away once the snow begins to fall and keep falling. We hope that wherever you are, home, hotel, airport, or on the way to one of them, that you’re safe, sound, and well prepared. While everyone wishes they could return home on time from every trip, it is nice to know that apps like Concur’s can make life on the road a little less stressful.
We plan to add the ability to search for and purchase European rail as well as airline tickets within the Concur mobile application. Would you find that useful?