In response to the global Covid-19 Coronavirus pandemic, Focus Travel Partnership set up a short-term repatriation project aimed at bringing British nationals home.
Abby Penston, CEO at Focus said: “During March we realised that people were stuck overseas and we had Israeli colleagues who had set up a scheme in Israel to get people back home. This prompted us to provide a UK service.”
Fifteen partners from the Focus Travel Partnership came together and launched ‘Helping you get home’. With the help from Ocean Telecom, Martin Roche Consultancy, we got the word out within 48 hours.
The dedicated phone line was on a hunt group of 15 agencies. All our consultants are used to dealing with highly complex bookings, and many would have dealt with situations such as 9/11 and the ash cloud. So along with live data feeds from the internal travel systems, callers would be reassured that they were receiving the best help possible.
The project quickly gained speed. Not only were we helping people get back, but we were providing people emotionally too – as many had spent fruitless hours getting nowhere.
‘We were on a long trip to Australia when we were made us aware of the impending cessation of Emirates flights from Dubai to Newcastle. This enabled us to book flights quickly at minimal extra cost and return home before the situation became one of panic.
Many of those we spoke to at the airport had not been so well advised and had had to pay thousands of pounds to get home on the same flight as us.’ – Anne & David
‘I spent last week in tears thinking that I was stranded in New Zealand alone. Elizaveta from Berkeley Travel managed to not only find a flight home for me but the service she provided was simply amazing on every level. She was with me every step of the way, from booking the tickets, organising my ESTA for the States, and helped me through more flight cancellations and mini panic attacks on my end. Honestly I don’t know how I would have made it home without her. It wasn’t just the fact that she got me plane ticket but that she was on call throughout the nearly 72 hours between me purchasing the flight and finally arriving home. She made me feel safe, supported and cared for in a time when I felt most scared and alone.
I’ll be forever grateful to her and to your company for offering your services to people like me during this time.’ – Claire
‘To Simon at Destinations, I have my boy home, thank you very much. You operate a really calm and professional service. I was feeling very anxious not having him home. Thank you again, your help was much appreciated’ – Phillipa
‘Thank you to Cilla at ABT-UK. Its really appreciated what you guys are doing. I couldn’t get through to anyone who was willing to help us in our situation including the British Consulate. Thank you’ – Christian
The ‘Helping you get home’ project has now ended, with increased border restrictions and airlines grounding most, if not all, air crafts it became increasingly harder to fulfill requests.
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