It seems a long time ago looking back to the early part of the year where all was ticking along in the world. In my role I see all news updates sent from our airline suppliers, which in early March 2020 were ever increasing. On flight cancellations and introduction of policies for changing, keeping tickets already issued, and they sometimes changed on a daily basis.  These weren’t like the other updates on strikes, cancellations due to protest etc. this was getting serious, seeing the increase of the COVID-19 updates was starting to raise alarm bells on something big happening. By the end of March, the day had come where I was put on furlough, which was heart-breaking as all the thoughts of “what have I done”, “what could I have done to change this”, “I can’t be good enough” and guilt for not being able to help support my team raced through my head. These were natural thoughts, and know that many others were in the same situation.

Daily life started to look different as lock-down was introduced and how to deal with everything that was going on was mentally tough after a while. However a good thing  with the furlough agreement is the being to undertake training and up my skills, which really helped to keep some structure to the day. I have also been lucky enough to be brought back into the business on occasions to look at projects required to help out our TMC Partners with the amount of changes and new policies being sent by airlines and to deal with COVID-19 ticket queries. I worked on collating information on our main carriers for the COVID-19 policies onto summary sheets and stored them all on our TMC Partner extranet. This included access to policies, how to keep PNRs live, EMD & refund information, which enabled our Partners to find all the information they need in one place. I have provided training around this information for our Partners, so those consultants who are on furlough can hit the ground running once they are back. I also conducted other training around different types of fares, which allow Focus TMC’s to give an even wider scope of fares and options.

When I went back onto furlough, I started to look at my training again. I have only ever worked with one GDS, whereas here at Focus, we support Partners using the 3 main GDS systems, which makes things very interesting. I have a ‘go to’ GDS but wanted to upskill on this one along with the other 2 and therefore embarked on my GDS journey, which has been really interesting and I look forward to passing and expanding this knowledge with our TMC’s.  

From mid-July, I was brought back into the business on a part-time basis and I am working on training around utilising existing tickets, EMDs and how to re-issue tickets against the COVID-19 policies. The months have passed so quickly and I have been on an emotional rollercoaster during this time but I am thankful that I am fit and healthy, have a good team to work with that I feel I am now supporting. I have never felt alone in this time, as my team have had socials via zoom and also speaking by phone on a regular basis. I have also been working on my mental health with meditation, yoga and trying to live in the present moment and taking each day as it comes. This is helping but there are still good and bad days therefore anyone else that is struggling, give both a try

Who knows what the new normal looks like but we will all be there together and make it a good one