With the end of 2016 rapidly approaching, I thought it would be timely to share some reflections on the past year.
Firstly, this year has once again seen major events with global impact. Some that immediately come to mind include the continuing war in Syria, the Zika Virus, Brexit, a failed coup in Turkey and of course the US presidential elections.
Terrorism remains rife with barbaric acts committed in France, the United States, Israel, Turkey, Belgium France, Egypt, United Kingdom, Thailand, Somalia, Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, India, Canada, Bangladesh, Philippines and elsewhere.
Natural disasters have affected tens of thousands in New Zealand, Japan, Central America, Nepal, Taiwan, India, Indonesia, Italy and other countries.
Daily, something happens somewhere.
Do these events stop us travelling?
Do they change where we go, how we think?
Do these occurrences make us stronger?
I believe totally in our resilience. I’ve been a Travel Manager for 40 years and now more than ever believe that our desire to travel (whether it be for vacation, business or event) remains strong and our motivation to do so is undeterred.
Quite simply, when the world may appear divided, travel is a uniting experience.
Secondly, we all know things happen when you travel, hopefully great times with wonderful memories that will last forever. However, always be prepared. At FBI TRAVEL we engage with clients for regular feedback. Here are two clients’ experiences I have permission to share.
Travel Experience 1: Mr M
On a recent trip to Europe Mr M started experiencing cramp in one of his legs. Wisely he engaged medical advice at a private clinic in London.
It did not take long to establish that Mr M had a Deep Vein Thrombosis. Mr M assured the doctor that he had taken all precautions including flying Business Class and wearing compression skins and socks on flights longer than five hours. The doctor’s response was that flying Business Class was not a solution but wearing compression skins or socks all the time would minimise the risk. Without going into all the details Mr M was given permission to travel, provided that every day he injected a blood thinner to avoid the spreading of the clot. Mr M continued his journey and on arrival home he sought medical advice on how to best travel in the future.
Luckily, Mr M had taken travel insurance from FBI TRAVEL and his claim was processed quickly. Mr M’s flippant comment was that the medical expenses that were covered by his travel insurance had earnt him enough frequent flyer points for a ticket to Sydney!
Travel Experience 2: Mr C
Mr C recently travelled to France and the Middle East through FBI TRAVEL.
As impressed as he was with the recommendation of airlines for his flights as well as the value of the “deal”. Mr C was aware that his return journey was going to be 35 hours according to his itinerary. He had many factors weighing on his mind including climate zones, food requirements, flight transfers and most importantly time changes and comfort.
He had no problem travelling back to Europe. He occupied himself for his 8 hours at Paris’ CDG and even managed a nap on the flight to the Gulf. Prior to his arrival Mr C changed his watch to local time. He calculated that he had enough time to go to the lounge spa and even have a neck and back massage. He then decided to check the screen for departure gate and boarding information, being aware that in most cases now boarding announcements are not made in the lounges.
As he could not find his flight on the board he went to the reception area in the lounge to enquire. The answer was that his flight was departing in 10 minutes and that it was closed. That meant his baggage had been offloaded and would not be boarded. He collected his thoughts and immediately went to the service counter. He was assured that there were plenty of seats on the flight departing in 12 hours. Realising that this was his only option, he asked for a boarding pass. When this was not forthcoming he recalled the famous line “Who you gonna call?”
Being a long-standing FBI traveller he quickly established contact with his trusty Travel Advisor who within minutes had organised that his ticket be reissued without penalty. He was advised that there was a hotel that was airside (no need to clear customs and immigration). Instead of being at the gate an hour before departure, he was at the gate two hours prior to departure. Needless to say, his 36 hour journey took close to 48 hours. And Mr C has now learned to reset his watch correctly!
These unpleasant travel experiences can happen to anyone, and in the case of the above two examples, well… both Mr M and Mr C were in fact me… Mark Chaskiel!
Through the course of a week at FBI TRAVEL we hear about many travel stories and experiences. Even the negative ones generally have a positive spin. I believe this is because we always look for the good.
So, the two stories were mine. Despite being a very experienced traveller, things happen and a day doesn’t go by where either my team or I do not learn from your (or our own) experiences. I also know the value of sharing.
At FBI TRAVEL we do not sit still. We want our valued clients to always be attended to by the best Travel Advisors the industry can offer. We have gone out of our way to make our office an industry benchmark.
We have recently welcomed new members to our team including an adventure travel specialist, a conference and incentive practitioner and a destination retreat, spa and well-being Travel Advisor. We know that they will do great things for our product offering, ensuring that we always have loads of options for you, the client.
This year alone our staff have been to South Africa, Botswana, Tanzania, Bhutan, Thailand, Korea, South America, Central America, the United States, Canada, Singapore, Hong Kong, Japan, China, Russia, Scandinavia, Hungary, Czech Republic, Maldives, Italy, France, England, Israel and the UAE. And this doesn’t even include the cruising with Crystal, Silverseas, Seabourn, NCL, RCL, Carnival, River Cruising and adventure cruising. Let me assure you when I say we’ve been there, this is no exaggeration.
We look forward to welcoming you again in 2017 and I take this opportunity to wish you and your families all the very best for this festive season.
May the New Year bring peace and goodwill to all mankind.
Mr Mark Chaskiel
Chief Executive Officer