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Travel chaos in Europe a cautionary tale for South African travellers

File photo: Travellers in Europe are reporting flight cancellations, slow or lost bags, and huge queues at security and passport control. Photo: Reuters

File photo: Travellers in Europe are reporting flight cancellations, slow or lost bags, and huge queues at security and passport control. Photo: Reuters

Published Jul 18, 2022

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Following the easing of coronavirus restrictions and the slow but steady return to normal, the travel industry has made an almost full recovery with travel numbers nearing pre-pandemic figures.

However, post-Covid staff shortages are severely impacting service delivery across the travel and tourism industry in Europe and the United States, as witnessed with the Emirates vs London Heathrow Airport tussle.

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Unfortunately, South Africa is not immune to the disruptions following Comair grounding its flights and the recent fuel price hikes, which has resulted in higher ticket prices and consumers struggling to get boarding passes.

Travellers in Europe are reporting flight cancellations, slow or lost bags, and huge queues at security and passport control. Meanwhile, in the US, American Airlines and United Airlines have announced a reduction of domestic services as the airlines are struggling with a lack of pilots.

According to Corporate Traveller GM, Oz Desai, the main reason for the disruptions is a lack of experienced and knowledgeable staff. The pandemic forced many in the travel industry to make drastic staff cuts to survive.

Desai says: “The lack of knowledge and expertise is most acutely felt in the aviation industry but has also trickled down to the hospitality and car rental sectors. In addition, the ongoing war in Ukraine continues to severely restrict available airspace in Europe. This is leading to massive bottlenecks in the skies and thus, unfortunately, to further flight delays.”

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Desai has encouraged South African travellers to book as far in advance as possible, as not only will that help secure availability but it will also help the company manage travel costs.

“The pandemic has taught us how to navigate uncertainties and deal with disruption. As long as we work together in an open and transparent way, we can minimise any travel friction and build a rewarding, profitable and enjoyable business travel experience,” says Desai.

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