e-Insight from Ray Hopkins, managing director of
Gray Dawes business travel management, on the industry’s reaction to the British Airways recent strike.
When British Airways workers initiated their wildcat strike during the weekend of July 19, it not only served to shake the BA Corporation at its foundations, it also rattled the schedules and peace of mind of thousands of travelers. Much time, energy and confidence was lost during those days, but many in the travel industry rose to the challenge - specifically corporate travel providers - who responded to their client obligations by providing reliable services, regardless of unexpected circumstances.
It is no secret that nearly 80,000 passengers were stranded when BA was forced to ground 400 flights during the strike. The airline made efforts to care for their customers, offering many hotel vouchers and promising £80 compensation for those whose plans were affected.
However, as the chaos unfolded, the corporate travel management industry found itself in the position of allaying concerns and seeking alternatives for clients with timely - and often business critical - appointments.
Gray Dawes, for example, managed to identify all clients struggling through the BA scenario and trace all those who were contactable. By acting as a reliable source of information and conveying updates by phone, Internet, email and PDA, Gray Dawes kept its clients up to date on progress and worked to secure different travel options. Travel consultants working around the clock from Gray Dawes’ National Reservation Centre in Colchester managed to re-book clients thereby avoiding the long BA queues. With these resources at hand, Gray Dawes clients were able to avoid significant delays and inconvenience, while thousands of other travelers were left to negotiate the difficult turn of events on their own.
This recent work stoppage, while unfortunate, stands as a compelling demonstration of the value brought to the table by corporate travel providers. In an industry fighting a perception of poor service levels and fringed with Internet booking portals offering low fares with equally low client support, dependable providers continue to extend their expertise and solutions to better facilitate the needs of business travelers.