UK trade reinforces its importance during times of air transport trouble

Guest Writer

Members of the British travel trade have reinforced their importance in the travel booking process by highlighting the number of Brits they have repatriated following last week’s air transport crisis.
Members of the Association of British Travel Agents (ABTA) had repatriated more than 100,000 British passengers by Sunday, the association claimed.
This figure equates to more than two thirds of those stranded abroad as a result of the volcanic ash situation.
ABTA said the vast majority of stranded passengers would be back home by 30 April.
ABTA tour operators have provided assistance to stranded passengers on daily basis and put together contingency plans to bring people back to the UK. They have chartered extra flights and found alternative forms of transport.
Travel agents, many of whom are ABTA members, have provided “invaluable advice and help to customers in rebooking new holidays and helping with the process of refunds”, said ABTA.
“Agents are often able to get through to travel suppliers far quicker than consumers themselves. When they can’t, travel agent staff  have been spending their time and money on premium telephone lines sourcing alternatives as part of their after sales service. Some agents have even literally gone more than the ‘extra mile’ by driving to pick up stranded customers and returning them home,” the association added.
 “While most flights are back to normal, and most stranded British passengers will be back by the end of this weekend, there is still quite a high level of disruption in some destinations. In some areas of the world, there is a significant lack of air capacity to enable British people to be returned quickly,” said ABTA Chief Executive Mark Tanzer.
“ABTA, its Members and the Foreign Office have been working together to bring people back as quickly as possible.
“Our Members have done everything they can to look after customers so that they are not on their own. The feedback we have had is that many thousands of people have been delighted and profoundly relieved that they chose to book with an ABTA member.”

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