You may have seen the many headlines around the world with lines such as "Travel Agents Save the Day as Lufthansa Strikes Strands Thousands," and I can tell you that the agents at North South Travel have also been working away around the clock to help their clients who were due to be affected by the strikes. Just yesterday, 100,000 passengers were left stranded. The web is filled with messages from passengers who had their flights delayed and were unable to reach the airline to change, or were stuck on hold for hours trying to find a solution. It is times like these that the true value of using a travel agent come to light. Being deemed as the "lucky ones" travellers who used an agent to book their travel have more often than not, been able to reach their destination with little to no disruption.
In our office, Craig, one of our travel specialists read in trade news about the potential strike a few days before it was officially announced so we were able to be proactive and start doing checks to see what clients of ours may be affected so we could make changes in advance to make the travel as smooth as possible for our travellers. At times like this, it does mean more work for travel agencies like ours-with no additional compensation—but that is the security and duty of care you receive when booking with a travel agent.
By having a GDS (Global Distribution System) at our disposal we were able to re-book our clients on Star Alliance alternatives without too much hassle.
And of course it’s not just flights that were affected by the strike; hotel reservations and land arrangements also, inevitably, need to be changed.We have great relationships with our suppliers around the world so whilst consumers who find themselves calling 800-number customer services are often left fighting cancellation charges or finding alternate hotel space we have been able to manage this for them for efficiently and effectively.
This has been the longest strike in the company’s history and they were forced to cancel approximately 4,700 flights during seven strike days. Affected by these cancellations were approximately 550,000 passengers.The good news is, Lufthansa has confirmed that flight operations should (mostly) be back to normal by tomorrow (Saturday, Nov 14th).