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Heritage Travel Agency owner Kathy Heraty was all set to take 100 people, the Shannon Rovers and their families, to Ireland when Europe became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.  
 
Even though her last year of work will go unpaid, she continues to battle with vendors to get refunds for her clients.
 
“It’s just awful.  It’s devastating.”
 
In the first days of the crisis, Kathy had to help 90 study-abroad students depart Rome in three days or risk being locked down.  
 
“That, to me, being a mom and a business owner, was frightening.”
 
But she did it.  And she says that in her 30 years in business, she’s never had work weigh on her so personally.
 
“Some people save for three years to do trips.  And to tell them they are going to lose money … it hurts.”
 
Despite all that, she is forging ahead.  And, she points out, during this time of crisis, while people who booked tickets with online companies are fending for themselves, Kathy is out there advocating her clients.
 
“Our customer service is the most important part of what we do.  That’s why they come back to us.  We take the extra steps.  Some people have booked with online discount companies rather than travel agencies.  Now, I’ve heard of people waiting on hold for seven hours only to be disconnected.”
 
In terms of future travel, working with her now to book plans, rather than waiting, has its advantages, Kathy says.
 
“Prices are low now.  We can match online travel prices.  And you can book for the future and get a deal like no other.  You can book yourself a surprise trip later in the year.  All those dreams that you thought were too expensive, in six months to a year will be within your budget.  That’s something to look forward to.”
 
And if you’re not ready to book a trip, you can still support Heritage Travel by purchasing gift certificates today.
 
“They can be used in the future for anything: wholesale travel services, airline tickets, hotels, cruises.  You can give someone something to look forward to.  When they are ready to travel, we can pick the perfect vacation.  We can do last minute deals.  We are very flexible.”
 
Find out about future travel deals, gift certificates, or last minute bookings at their website www.heritagetravel.net or call 773-774-3400.

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