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You’ll have to pardon my ramblings this week, I’m suffering from
jetlag a job- related hazard for all of us in the travel industry
however this trip I got a bit more than I bargained for, flying to
Rome via British Airways through Heathrow.
I was one of those baggie-toting nomads you might have seen on
CNN, and I can tell you firsthand the scene in London was not
pretty. While I was lucky I just had my paperback book taken away
from me other travelers who had apparently not heard or who
misunderstood the news had their eyeglass cases, toiletries and
even cell phones taken and thrown straight into the garbage. One
3-year-old next to me had his stuffed Pooh bear pried away from
This was in addition to the long lines, flight cancellations and
general chaos that rippled through airports across Europe and many
other parts of the world. According to workers at LAX, the line for
reporting missing baggage stretched as far as they had ever seen
it. One British Airways employee told me that upward of 25,000 bags
are sitting in Heathrow waiting to get transported back to their
owners (although official reports have the number at 5,000) a
serious consideration for your clients when deciding whether or not
to check their laptops.
Will the situation improve? Most certainly. Will it go back to the
way it was before? Most certainly not.
The travel industry has once again been blindfolded and spun
around by world events, forced to find its bearings like a child
playing pin the tail on the donkey. As troubling as this is for
agents, it is the airlines that will ultimately find themselves in
the headlights of yet more ground-shifting regulations and
increased costs. It is ironic then that this latest obstacle came
just as several airlines attempted to force agents to accept
service charges and an unrealistic deadline in the GDS wars. For
years, agents have been one of the airlines’ strongest allies, and
while that relationship has deteriorated, it is clear that from
here on out airlines will need good friends and allies. It is just
unfortunate that they have burned their bridge to agents.
“It could be worse,” one fellow passenger said to me as we waited
in yet another long line. “If those bombs had gone off, then
instead of these crowds the terminal would be empty.”
True, and that image should shake us all to the bones. Hopefully
the airlines will realize that now is hardly the time to bite the
hand that continues to feed them. K.S.