Terry Maser was flipping through TV channels in his family’s Orlando hotel room. On broadcast after broadcast, grim-faced news anchors were talking about Irma, a Category 5 hurricane brewing off the Florida coast. The Masers—Terry, Linda, nine-year-old Emily and 12-year-old John—were in the middle of their first-ever family vacation, a two-week trip to Walt Disney World Resort and Universal Orlando Resort.
Irma’s landfall was becoming more likely with each passing day. “As it was unfolding on the news, my anxiety started to grow,” Maser says. So he phoned their airline to see if there were plans to evacuate Canadian customers.
“The call-centre rep didn’t know anything about it. He kept saying, you’re fine, you’re fine. I got off that call not feeling very fine.”
But within hours, the Masers got a welcome surprise: an email from Diana Dzikowski, the AMA Travel counsellor who helped book the family’s trip. They hadn’t expected to hear from her after their initial transaction, when she’d skillfully arranged all the pieces of their trip of a lifetime—from flights, accommodations and travel insurance to their Disney, Universal Studios and Blue Man Group tickets.
Dzikowski asked if the family was okay. She’d been monitoring the situation and said she could make alternate travel plans to bring the Masers home to Medicine Hat.
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“After that first email, I felt better,” Maser says. “Somebody was looking out for us and actually knew what was going on.” Before long, a new itinerary appeared in his inbox. Dzikowski had booked the Masers on an evacuation flight leaving a day earlier than their planned departure.
AN EARLY RETURN MADE EASY
“It was seamless. I didn’t have to do anything at all,” Maser says. The family was back in Alberta shortly before the storm hit Florida. They watched as Irma became one of the strongest Atlantic basin hurricanes ever recorded; it flooded streets, battered buildings, ripped up trees and left millions without power across nine U.S. states.
The day after the family’s return, Dzikowski called to check in. Maser was floored. “We already held her in the highest regard,” he says. “This just put it over the top.” Dzikowski helped put together an AMA Travel insurance claim to cover the family’s lost vacation day. (The claim’s success meant the Masers recovered more than $500.) “Her professionalism, courtesy and caring was stellar all the way through,” Maser adds.
Though touched by the kind words, Dzikowski is quick to note any of her colleagues would have done the same. For this, she credits AMA’s culture of treating customers like practically family. The moment an alert about any storm or potentially trip-altering event comes in, a team at AMA jumps into action to determine affected travellers and ensure they’re contacted by one of the organization’s 200 Alberta-based travel specialists. It’s an extra layer of security for your trip offered exclusively by AMA Travel.
ABOVE AND BEYOND
Even when there’s no emergency, AMA Travel counsellors are on call 24/7 to assist customers, whether they’ve booked online or in person. Most of AMA’s agents, like Dzikowski, have been in the business for decades. You just don’t get that level of care or experience with self-serve booking companies.
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AMATravel.ca is a comprehensive website offering convenient bookings and exceptional deals—at prices that compete with or beat the online-only players. You also get the assurance that every AMA Travel booking is backed by Alberta’s largest network of support, resources and travel expertise.
Of course, 99.9 percent of trips do go smoothly. But if a problem crops up you want a dedicated agent like Dzikowski watching your back. And an organization like AMA supporting her. “They really go above and beyond,” Maser says.
Learn more about AMA Travel counsellors: AMATravel.ca/Experience