Travel agents have called on suppliers to keep them informed when travel plans are disrupted so they can help support their customers.
Inspire Group Managing Director Lisa Henning said agents were ‘inundated’ over the weekend with calls from worried customers who were impacted by either the air traffic control outage or P&O Cruises’ incident, yet they didn’t always have the right information.
“It is crucial that airlines and organisations that are implicated in issues like this communicate effectively with the trade,” she said.
“The first port of call from most travellers is their travel agent, and 99% of the time we don’t have the information available to advise customers what to do.
“Tour operators and airlines often give emergency numbers for clients to call and the lines become so busy we can’t get through. And this is further exacerbated at weekends and bank holidays, when agents don’t always have the staff available.
“With improved communication between all parties, the industry would be able to manage these unfortunate situations much more effectively and agents could more pro-actively assist.”
Lisa’s words were echoed by Advantage CEO Julia Lo Bue-Said, who added: “During these times, it’s critical that airlines remain in close contact not only with their customers, but also the supply chain – both travel agents or tour operators – so they can provide further support at such a time of heightened anxiety to enable everyone to plan accordingly.”