There are many reasons why you should use a travel advisor when booking your travel – convenience, saves time and money, offers options, etc. Today I’m going to spotlight the magic a World Travel Business Elite travel advisor can do when troubles arise.
In the planning stages our travel advisor will offer you choices using our reservation system, choices of airports, airlines, times, days, and routing. They consult with you to give you the best value for your money and for your desired itinerary. When the itinerary has been booked and ticketed, our travel advisor will receive notifications from the airlines if your flight is changed, delayed or cancelled, and behind the scenes, they can obtain a new flight options for you, before you even know about the changes.
I’m reminded of the time my son was trying to fly home for Christmas from Sweden. It was a few years ago, when London Heathrow airport was closed due to a huge snowstorm. At one point they were allowing long-haul flights (ex. London to LAX), but my son’s problem was that he could not get from Copenhagen to London as the short flights were cancelled. We got my son on another flight the next day, but it was cancelled again. This was very grueling for him as he traveled from Malmo to Copenhagen and back home several times in failed attempts to get on his flights. Our resourceful travel advisor contacted our British Air representative (when you have privileged relationships with airlines, many impossibilities become possible.) Our contact was able to get my son on a wait-list and eventually a ticket for a different flight from Copenhagen to Phoenix and then ongoing to Santa Ana. This was so great because flights were full, and this itinerary allowed him to bypass the weather of London.
Now I had a new problem. It was a very tight connection between arrival at Phoenix and the flight to Santa Ana, so my son would be unable to call me to advise that he made his flights so I could meet him at the airport. What I didn’t know at the time was that my travel advisor could look up my son’s flight in our reservations system to verify that he indeed got on both of his flights. She called me late that night to advise me of that fact and that I could pick him up at airport at the scheduled time. She went above and beyond in solving our problems and became what I like to call a “Travel Angel”. Because of her creativity and her connections, my son made it home in time for Christmas and his luggage followed the next day.
I learned later that for some airlines, a travel advisor can also access the wait-lists so they can advise their clients if they have a good chance of getting on a flight, or not, and make alternative arrangements if necessary, keeping them posted of the changes, so a stranded client in an airport can relax at the lounge or restaurant, rather than stressing out standing in line.
In addition, for some airlines, a travel advisor can look at a map of all the airline’s flights showing planes in the air by flight number, so if their client is on a particular flight, they can see if it’s likely they will miss their next connection. Thus a travel advisor can be proactive about getting their client wait-listed or booked on a workable alternative flight, all of this before the client’s plane lands. Then it is a simple matter to contact the client by cell phone, to advise of the change and the correct gate to go to.
This is the essence of what our “Travel Angels” can do for their clients in times of trouble.
I remember on Sept 11, when all flights were cancelled in the U.S., our travel advisors worked really hard for days to bring their clients home. Our phones were ringing and we were fully staffed to answer and help, all at no extra cost to the clients, and again, more recently, when Chicago airports were closed due to the incident at the control tower.
Anything can happen and it’s nice to know that a World Travel Business Elite travel advisor can have your back when you are traveling. To me, this is the most important aspect of working with a travel advisor.
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