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Utah travel agents working to bring stranded people home

Utah travel agents working to bring stranded people home

By Mary Richards | Posted - Apr. 19, 2010 at 12:28 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- People stranded in Europe are trying to get help from travel agents in Utah. Meanwhile, the agents are getting creative to get people home, including a man whose wife is in labor.

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The man was in Ethiopia for work when he found out his wife was having a baby. Then he found out his Lufthansa flight to Frankfurt was canceled because of volcanic ash.

"He was pretty panicked this morning," said Jack Cunniff, a travel consultant with Christopherson Travel. Cunniff put together a string of flights hip-hopping across the open airports in Europe.

"We had to do a little creativity to get him home," Cunniff said.

The man is now flying from Ethiopia to Cairo, to Rome, to Madrid, where he will catch the last flight on Delta to Atlanta, then to Salt Lake, and then he will drive to Idaho Falls Tuesday night.

Cunniff is working to get a group from Sundance home from London. He also arranged for a man working in Moscow to fly the other way across the Pacific to get home to Houston.

"His colleague that didn't want to do it is still sitting in Moscow," said Cunniff.

Cunniff said even travel agents have to wait on hold for up to two hours with the airlines these days, and that's on phone lines dedicated just for travel agents. He said one person in the office will wait on hold at a time so they all don't have to.

E-mail: mrichards@ksl.com

Mary Richards

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