We’re creating a more connected travel industry, underpinned by sustainability and long-term investor relations.
My colleague Tomas Monge’s blog reminded me of why personalized, connected travel could have saved me a lot of apologising to my wife and mother. If only, on the 22nd June 2011, I could have lived in a world where travel was smart, connected and personalised. If only the airline could have known where I was via my smartphone, had the data intelligence to see that I was not being intelligent, and had the ability to take action to save the day (that I was to ruin).
Question: How do you get your wife to cry and loath you?
Answer: Las Vegas!
Well, one day in New York (because of my actions in Las Vegas), I really could have done with all my (albeit farfetched) dreams being reality. That day I lost my temper, possibly my dignity, my wife was in tears, and I had to call my mother to bail me out. Basically, my wife and I missed our flight from Vegas to New York. The city of sin really caused me to sin.
And now ladies and gentlemen, the missing paragraph from John Lennon’s biggest solo hit. “Imagine my airline realised where I was in the hours leading up to take off, how I was spending my money, and that I was in danger of missing my flight. “Imagine it had sent an automated message to inform me that I should now be en-route to the airport. And if I didn’t respond, imagine it had a taxi sent to my location (providing the taxi driver with a photo of me on their app to identify me). “And my bags... well imagine they were already packed by the hotel staff, informed I would be there soon on route to the airport.” They say I’m a dreamer …. Las Vegas – will swallow you up and spit you out!
It all started like some horror films do - a nice sunny day, with a woman cooking brownies (I may have made the latter up, but it was a pleasant day!). My wife and I had planned a dream holiday for three weeks, travelling through the west coast of the states on a small budget in a big SUV. We booked the trip with a well-known travel agent in Dublin - flights from Dublin to LA, Las Vegas to New York, and New York to Dublin in one package. From start to end(ish) we had the time of our lives – drinking wine from the vineyards of California, eating burgers and dressing like American sports fans.
To cut a very long story short, we missed our flight from Vegas to New York (entirely my fault – Ana, once again I’m very sorry). At the time there was slight panic, but I soon found some cheap flights for later that day to The Big Apple. New York went like New York does – an incredible adventure through a concrete jungle of joy. We arrived at JFK airport three hours in advance of our flight, content we made the most of our holiday of a lifetime.
We arrived at the check in desk, showed our passports, shared a hug, and then BANG! “Sorry sir, you are not on this flight”. I was 100% sure we were on that flight - I had the tickets in my hand. What had happened was that due to the fact that we missed our scheduled flight from Vegas to New York, the airline cancelled all remaining segments on the ticket – meaning, they cancelled our ticket from the US to Ireland! I had paid for this flight back to Dublin in full, there was room on the flight, I had the tickets in my hand, but they wouldn’t let us on. Obviously, they were entitled to do so given it was in the T&Cs, but in the moment one doesn’t think so rationally…I begged, pleaded, shouted, whispered, pointed, winked, jumped… but nothing – just a “Sorry sir, you will have to buy a new ticket.” So in the end I had to buy two additional tickets to Dublin for later that day, with no one to blame but myself…and Las Vegas.
I’m still married, and still apologizing to my Ana. And what happened in the city of sin you ask?!?
Well, what happens in Vegas …