They say trouble comes in threes and if that is true then we are at Experience Travel can look forward to a restful summer.
We’ve had the volcanic ash, the trouble in Bangkok and the BA strikes, designed as if by a mischievous god, to cause maximum havoc in the travel industry
The volcanic ash situation was unfortunate but things happen. In retrospect the closing of airspace for so long was perhaps an over reaction, but hindsight, as they say, is a beautiful mistress and safety has to be paramount. Seems like lessons have been learnt and if our resident amateur meteorologist is correct, then the prevailing summer southerlies will hopefully keep the ash largely away from us over the next few months. Hopefully
It must be said that our clients were incredibly patient and understanding about the whole situation. We were unable to cover the costs of extra accommodation and so forth (though Tom did offer free stays at The Mudhouse, but I think they appreciated the extra mile we went to ensure all arrangements were taken care of whilst they were stuck. Special thanks to Somchit in Bangkok and Samantha in Colombo who worked all hours, harrying airlines, negotiating with hotels and keeping touch with the remarkably laid back bunch we had stuck. Those unable to travel were offered a full refund, but all of them helped us (and themselves!) by re-booking a few days or in one case, a year later and being remarkably flexible with it. Melissa was so touched to receive some flowers and M&S vouchers for her troubles.
The less said about the clowns on either side of the BA debate, the better. I note that BA appear to be trying to mitigate the damage somewhat by courting the travel industry again: it’s too late for that guys – you lost us years ago when you decided that online sales were the only way forward. And as for the crew: turkeys, Christmas and vote. Going forward we have a couple of BA bookings: we don’t expect to make any more since most passengers will do anything now to avoid booking BA.
The Bangkok situation has been extremely sad. I am not informed enough to comment
really, though Tom in our Bangkok office says that he feels the ‘class struggle’ interpretation put on the events by the British media is a little simplistic to say the least – this is the latest move in a struggle, he says, for power between two powerful and influential groups. It also seems the Thai government acted with some considerable restraint in settling an extremely volatile situation without it turning into the bloodbath it might have done. It is a shame that a few of the protest leaders refused to accept the compromise solution which could have avoided any bloodshed at all. Nonetheless the 68 or so deaths were a great tragedy and the Thai Government needs now to address the genuine grievances felt by the ‘Red Shirt’ protestors and work towards a lasting political solution which also solves the power crisis. I hear there will be elections in November or early next year and I wish Thailand well. It’s a wonderful country in so many ways. Although Bangkok is now calm we shall adapt a wait and see policy keeping in close touch with Tom and the Bangkok office.