Wedding in limbo

The dream wedding of at least one Red Deer couple is in limbo after tour operators and airlines cancelled trips to Mexico.

The dream wedding of at least one Red Deer couple is in limbo after tour operators and airlines cancelled trips to Mexico.

Don Lund, owner/manager of Mills Travel Ltd. in Red Deer, said he has been trying to help one wedding group planning to go to Mexico find a new location.

He said the challenge is finding 20 spaces for everyone to fly down to a new destination. It’s even more of a challenge because the guests are spread out over the country.

Lund said people have been really patient.

“It’s one of the things you can’t do anything about,” Lund said. “I think a lot of people are being very understanding because they know that it’s not our fault and they know it’s not the tour company’s fault.”

Earlier this week the Public Health Agency of Canada recommended people postpone non-essential travel to Mexico until further notice as a result of the swine flu.

The World Health Organization upgraded the alert for swine flu to Phase 5 Wednesday, meaning that there is sustained human-to-human spread of the virus in at least two countries. Air Canada and WestJet have suspended flights to Mexico vacation destinations until at least June.

Andrew Hopkyns, director of business development for AMA Travel, said they have also been trying to help brides and grooms in other parts of the province reschedule the time and/or destination of their weddings. He said in some cases the couples’ parents are already in Mexico waiting for the bride and groom who are no longer able to travel there.

Hopkyns said it isn’t that people wanted to cancel.

“They still want to go, but what has happened is that tour operators have canceled their programs and the airlines have cancelled for the month of May,” he said.

However, he said in most cases people are just interested in going where there is a palm tree, a beach and a margarita handy and so AMA Travel agents are re-booking people for other southern destinations.

Hopkyns said Air Canada Vacations, Air Transat, Sunquest, as well as WestJet are offering a credit to be used by October to go to that destination or an alternate destination. He said there is no cost to change the destination, but if the price is higher then they will have to pay the difference.

AMA Travel is currently trying to help those who have booked for travel to Mexico in May.

Hopkyns recommended those planning to travel to Mexico in June or July to contact AMA Travel in mid-May after travel agents have had a chance to help those about to head out now.

— with files from The Canadian Press

sobrien@bprda.wpengine.com

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