Despite coronavirus fears, local school trips to Italy are still on, for now


MISSION, Kan. — With Italy now on the list of nations with elevated concern over coronavirus, local travel agents are beginning to hear from a large cross-section of their clientele.

“We’re hearing everything from soup-to-nuts,” said Kathy Sudeikis, vice president of vacation travel with Acendas in Mission. “We’re hearing people thinking about canceling to Alaska and thinking about canceling to Italy and New Zealand and cruises in the Mediterranean.”

It’s the booked travel packages to Italy, however, that has Sudeikis keeping her eyes on the latest headlines regarding the coronavirus.

“I’ve got 80 kids going on March 13 to Italy on a missionary trip,” Sudeikis said.

While Sudeikis preferred to keep her clients information confidential, FOX4 is aware of at least two metro high schools (St. Thomas Aquinas and St. Teresa’s Academy) with upcoming trips to Rome.

And the difficult situation for those parents, as of right now, even with trip insurance, a refund for the travel package is not possible.

“You can’t just change your mind on an insurance package and ask for all your money back, especially 14 days before the trip,” Sudeikis explained. “Everything’s been pre-paid. Everything’s been paid out for you, so getting it back from the vendors, who are also in the same situation, is really impossible.”

But that scenario could change.

If the virus continues to spread in Italy and airlines cancel flights to Italy, families would be in a position to request refunds for the trips.

“If, for example they stop flying — Delta or American or United — to Rome, then that’s a whole different story. Then we kick in for a (refund) for a covered reason.”

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