A Thanksgiving Travel Case Study

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Planes, Trains and Automobiles: The Movie

Planes, Trains and Automobiles is my favorite Thanksgiving movie. It is also the only Thanksgiving movie that comes to mind. Probably because most of Hollywood skips November all together, marketing Christmas movies in September. Regardless, it has been 26 years since Neal and Del tried to travel from New York City to Chicago in time for Thanksgiving dinner. Every year I tune in just to be sure that Neal makes it home to Susan.

Oh wait, was I supposed to say SPOILER ALERT?

This year it really made me laugh to think about how this film speaks to my industry – travel insurance. A blizzard diverts one flight and cancels another, trains fail, rental cars catch fire and money has been stolen. A trip that should have taken an hour and forty-five minutes becomes a three day misadventure.

Sure, Hollywood has a way of exaggerating matters, but the film was based on a trip director John Hughes took from Chicago to New York that was designed as a ‘there and back’ one day visit, but ended up lasting 5 days. I guess anything is possible.

All I could think about was how travel insurance plans and coverage would have made this unfortunate set of circumstances easier to handle – like trip interruption or rental car options. Even their hotel rooms would have been reimbursable, assuming they wanted to contact the hotel after backing their car into the lobby. Del wouldn’t have needed to sell all his shower ring inventory if the two had planned ahead.

I can’t help but wonder what the whole misadventure cost those two: flight tickets, rental cars, train tickets, hotel fees, food, and lost and damaged luggage. (At least $3,000 each.) That’s a hefty chunk of change so close to the holidays, and the $95 speeding ticket is still not covered.

What other holiday movies would have benefited from travel insurance? Home Alone 2: Lost in New York? Is there a plan that covers forgotten children? I better check in with the product team.

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