Revenge Travel? | Travel Research Online

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Revenge Travel?

“Revenge is like a rolling stone, which, when a man hath forced up a hill, will return upon him with a greater violence, and break those bones whose sinews gave it motion.” ~ Jeremy Taylor

I cringe when I hear the term “revenge travel.” The phrase seems wrong on so many levels. Primarily, it runs counter to the reason I travel…it seems imbued with a bit too much anger. With millions of passengers striking out on “revenge travel,” a certain amount of mayhem seems inevitable.

  • There is no shortage of tales of delayed, canceled, and missed flights over the past few months. Getting to where you intend to go is more like a game of chance than logistics these days. Prices for many trips are very high for every component: transportation, hotel, fuel, and food. Airline seats are at a premium and hotels are endeavoring to make up for two years of lost revenue. Pile of colorful suitcases.
  • Checking baggage? Photos of hundreds of lost, misplaced, damaged bags at airports around the world are everywhere. At Amsterdam’s Schiphol airport, there are apparently around 16,000 wayward suitcases now at the airport awaiting their onward traveling owners. On KLM’s website, the following message greets the passenger seeking the whereabouts of their luggage: ‘Worldwide, various airports are dealing with operational issues. This may affect the delivery of your delayed baggage. The KLM contact centre cannot give you any further information currently, so please do not contact us.
  • Labor strikes and inherent staff shortages are affecting airlines and hotels alike. Transportation unions in all segments of the travel industry are calling for strikes even as the number of active pilots, gate agents, and flight attendants is at severely diminished numbers.
  • SAS just filed for bankruptcy. British Airways, United, Delta, Jet Blue, Alaska Airlines, Southwest, and American have all for various reasons cut flights over the past or next few months.
  • The crowds in many popular tourist destinations are at maximum capacity levels. Visitors to cities like Rome are having trouble seeing the sights they came to see. Long lines are the norm and the summer travel season is just getting started.

All of this leads me to the near heretical question: “Should a travel consultant be recommending travel right now?” Is the best advice for many of your clients to delay travel, for now, to wait until the Revenge Purge ends or at least subsides?

Naturally, the best recommendation depends on the client. Some will want to exact their revenge now, and waiting will diminish the sense of fulfillment that revenge apparently delivers. For some, however, travel now will run counter to their expectations. The trip they have waited for two years to happen will stare back at them from the abyss of this summer’s chaos and will eventually haunt their travel advisors’ dreams.

In any event, no client should leave home without being fully informed of what to expect. We are, after all, travel advisors, and telling the full tale is part of the job. In all fairness, I have heard people tell of recent trips with no problems, of luggage arriving when and where it should, of no delays, cancelations, or hassles. I would never discourage travel, but I would want to fully inform my client of the possibilities. I would want to make all of the wise recommendations for stacking the odds in their favor: early flights, direct flights, extra connection time, carry-on of essentials, luggage tracker tags, travel insurance, Plan B, Plan C, etc.

And to those clients of real sensitivity to disruption, I would recommend alternatives to the most traveled destinations, to alternative locations, and even then with all of the necessary precautions above.

To quote The Godfather’s Hyman Roth, “This is the business we have chosen.”

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