BOOKING AIR TRAVEL TICKETS AT THE LOWEST POSSIBLE FARE IS RISKY BUSINESS
Now that pared down "Bare Fares" have been in effect for more than 30 days, what's the verdict? Buy them or don't buy them?
Bare Fares and Basic Economy (Delta) are the new terms that airlines call their stripped down versions of an economy fare ticket. They equate to few amenities and many ticketing and travel restrictions. You may even have to pay for a cup of tap water. You'll also pay extra for seat assignments you need to reserve in advance, any carry on bags (including a purse or backpack), fees for talking to a reservation agent or desk agent at check in, and more. The business model works for some of the bare bones discount airlines in the USA and elsewhere in the world, (primarily within Asia and Europe).
The verdict: We don't believe you'll save money buying one of these tickets for a medical tourism journey under any circumstances.
In fact, you could risk serious complications to your surgical outcome. Worse yet, you be rejected upon arrival for your scheduled procedure because of complications that arose from sitting in a middle basic economy seat for 16 hours of flying time over a 26 hour itinerary to your medical tourism journey destination city. These complications can include catching cold or flu from other passengers or a life threatening blood clot in your legs (DVT) that can travel to your lungs (pulmonary embolus) and kill you on the spot or cause a stroke. You could also get a nasty bug like e.coli from the tap water in the holding tanks of the airplane or the ice cubes made from the same water source.
Last month, Delta, United and American all rolled out these basic economy seats to compete head to head with Spirit and other low price airlines. Eventually, these will spread across the USA, the Caribbean and on shorter haul Latin American flights.
35+ year veteran medical tourism pioneer, Maria Todd (our CEO) warns that "while the fare may appear like a bargain at first glance, by the time you buy up the amenities you want and need to stay as safe and comfortable as possible during the air travel part of your journey, you may be shocked at the price you end up paying for this basic economy fare." You'll kick yourself for not simply trusting your Medical Tourism Journey Master® to find the biggest discounts for you on a business class flight - especially after your procedure when you may feel discomfort from surgery, still have stitches in place, or experience nausea and need to use the facilities frequently. That's especially true when our travel planners can often arrange discounts on business class seats up to as much as 60% of published fares.
When we book travel for your medical tourism journey, we offer to make your arrangements using award mileage. That's because we don't make any commissions on planning your travel. We just want you safe and comfortable at the best possible price we can find for you - even if it is free! We know the aircraft configurations on planned itineraries. These aircraft configurations rarely change unless there is an unplanned change due to a mechanical problem or a late flight that upsets all downline departures and arrivals. Even then airline carriers try to swap out for the same type aircraft so that they don't have to upset seating arrangements that were pre-arranged and people paid extra for.
If you don't travel often, you are at risk for making some pretty serious mistakes
Ask a group of novice travelers who booked their own flights and you'll hear many tales of woe. Like the traveler who booked a dental procedure with a dentist in Monterrey Mexico, and used an online travel agency to buy a ticket to Monterrey, California. Or the passenger whose medical tourism facilitator told the client to arrange to arrive in San Jose, Costa Rica on the 25th of March only to book a ticket to San Jose, California. At some destination cities where there may be two or three major airports, how do you know which one is closest to your hotel and your healthcare facility?
At some 5-star hotels, the handicap accessible room you might need may be located on the 17th floor. We don't care how many stars they have if you would be trapped in the case of a hotel evacuation in an emergency. We inspect each hotel in our Approved Hotel network because they must meet or exceed our minimum standards. We make sure that there's a room when you arrive and that you won't be told that "the last person didn't check out, so we don't have a room for you at this time." Often, when that happens a hotel will simply assign you to a nearby hotel of equal or higher star rating. While that may be an acceptable policy for VISA, Master Card and American Express cardholders, if we didn't inspect that hotel or approve it, we don't want you to be sent there. One beautiful hotel in Bangkok, Thailand - walking distance to Bumrungrad International Hospital has retail and offices and parking on the 1st to 10th floors. The 11th floor is where check-in is located and rooms are situated even higher. If you just had a knee or hip replacement or a back surgery, you are probably not in any condition to walk down twenty-two floors if an evacuation is called. Many hotels consider persons who cannot descend the stairs in such a situation to be potential casualties of the fire because there's no way to get them out.
We also specify in our contract with the hotel that you cannot be booked any higher than the fire aerial ladder apparatus can be set up to get you out via a window or balcony.
How do we know?
Our hotel inspection checklist includes visits to the local fire station to determine if they even have an aerial ladder truck to respond quickly. We also determine how your potentially invisible condition is noted for front desk and security personnel. If you simply book a hotel room online or leave hotel bookings to someone else's discretion (the hospital, the clinic, or your friendly local travel agent) you may just get "a room at the hotel" - including hotels that are inappropriate for your particular needs. We check each room design and layout to ensure adequate electrical plugs near the bed, lighting, and even the furniture. We check the bathroom to ensure that there's a phone to call for help if you feel ill or weak. We also check for adjoining room availability in case you require a private duty nurse to be nearby for the first few nights. These are things are exclusive to our service when you book with Medical Tourism Journeys.
At Medical Tourism Journeys, our experienced, professional travel planners will take care of all these details and so much more to make most trips easier on you, keep you more comfortable, more enjoyable and at the lowest possible cost without wasting time or money on cost cutting substitutions that aren't worth the time, effort or aggravation.
How we can help you
Medical Tourism Journeys offers care coordination and complete travel planning to medical, wellness, dental and pharmacy tourism destinations all over the world.
We leverage our long established history and high volumes of travel arrangements to get your discounts that aren't available at other medical tourism websites. Approved healthcare and wellness providers are coupled with Approved Hotels in our network at various destinations around the world. When you call, you can inquire about our upcoming group and private tour packages for surgery, consultations, dialysis, spa and wellness programs to appealing destinations. Then let your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® advise all your options. We never just tell you to "get your own tickets" online or through a local travel agency. We have this policy for your safety, comfort and convenience. We don't make money on air travel reservations. What you pay goes directly to the airline. But we do it because it's the right thing to do.
Medical tourism travel planning and patient movement takes specialized training.
We choose the appropriate seating, meals and make arrangements throughout your entire flight itinerary for wheelchairs, oxygen access, storage of crutches or walkers inside the cabin, avoiding stairs, and connecting from flight to flight at huge international airport hubs that may require more than a mile walk to the next gate.
Your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® briefs you on what to expect, if you should have tip money ready for assistants, and if so, how much. They also make sure you have enough time to connect to your next flight if the wheelchair assistant is late arriving to collect you when the flight arrives without expecting you do sprint to the next flight if you are temporarily incapable of that kind of activity during your post-operative period.
Contact us any time, 24 hours per day to learn more about the tours we offer throughout the world several times each year for health and wellness and pharmacy tourism.
We arrange medical tourism journeys for your convenience wither you choose to travel with a group or alone, as a couple or as a family. Your companion travelers are always welcome to join the group whether plan to visit with the doctor or just to participate on the tourist activities. Your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will organize everything for you in advance - appointments, tours, hotels, transfers, and medical visits to the doctor and the pharmacy and an interpreter, if needed. Ask about the kinds of tour packages we offer - from sedentary to active. Many of the activities on our tours are outdoors and may include hiking, biking, riding and climbing. At seasonal destinations, skiing is also available. Please advise your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® of your preferences when you call.
Your Medical Tourism Destination Coordinator will always be nearby and accessible from the time you land until the time you are ready to board your return flight home. While in flight, our travel coordinators keep an eye on your journey itinerary to take action if you miss a flight, are delayed or something else happens that may require rebooking or re-accommodation on a different flight and a hotel booking for a long layover.
Every Approved Hotel stay includes free Wi-Fi and strong internet connections. For smaller groups and family tours, we organize luxurious, private chauffeur-driven black sedans to carry you from place to place at your destination. We also choose properties and tourism suppliers who will make you feel comfortable when you want to fall back on authentic comfort foods, native language TV and culturally aware staff to give you a break from the spectacular sights and sounds of the selected destination of your visit.
Payment for your Procedure and Medical Travel
Your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® also helps with payment arrangements. We would be pleased to verify with your insurance plan to determine in advance if your consultation with the doctor and your prescription costs (and possibly your related travel costs) will be covered by your insurance or employer. If the response is positive, your Medical Tourism Journey Manager® will obtain pre-authorization and pre-certification as may be required by your insurer. If your insurer will not cover the procedure, Approved Providers and the Approved Pharmacies accept cash, check or credit card at the time of service or purchase. Some of our US providers also participate in various financing programs - so please ask us what is available if special medical travel financing for your trip and medical procedure expenses would be helpful.
Learn more about how we can help you arrange your next medical tourism journey package. Just complete the simple form below and one of our Medical Tourism Journey Managers® will follow up with you or your loved ones to get everything arranged in short order.