I’ve gone through a very stressful few weeks. When I started my own business, the stress reduced – I used to get very stressed working for companies, as problems were outside of my control. When I was in charge, the stress went down – kind of “the buck stops here” syndrome. However the last few weeks have brought back that stress – the first ash clouds happened during a particularly busy week for departures. Cancellations, rebookings, refunds – nothing positive happened that week. Very few new bookings were made as people were so unsure of the future. However it was great tying up the loose ends and getting all my clients sorted out with a new holiday, where appropriate.
But could that stress have been avoided – new guidelines are showing that planes can fly in denser ash clouds – so all those cancellations of holidays and business trips could have been avoided. All those millions of pounds lost to the travel industry could have been saved. It wasn’t just airlines who lost money – all the hotels we were booked with also refunded without cancellation charges. Not all of them will recoup the money on new bookings.
Now we’re facing an uncertain few weeks again, but this time because of the BA cabin crew strikes. Back and forth to the courts fighting over whether the strike ballots were legal. I have some sympathy for the cabin crew who feel they’ve been hit unjustly by company policies. However at some point, BA are going to post such huge financial losses that the company won’t be viable. Will they sell up or close down?
Never one to stay depressed for long – there are still plenty of opportunities in the travel industry – you just have to think differently! Maybe holidays with flights are going to be less popular? Maybe holidays by train will be more popular – certainly works for European destinations. When I was a student in Paris, I loved standing at Gare du Nord and looking at the departure boards – I thought it was amazing that you could get a train from there to Moscow – ok it takes nearly 2 days, but what a journey!!