Home' Travel News : April-May 2018 Contents 36 travel news february/march 2018
february/march 2018 travel news 37
I’ve just heard the news that British
Airways is closing its office and laying-off
its entire staff here in Nairobi on 30th June.
Its customers in the region have long had
to rely solely on BA.com or alternatively
a call centre in a far flung land. You’ll
recall them closing their offices to their
customers here last year, so I suppose
this is not really a surprise.
For travel agents that supported BA over
many years, they too will now have to
brave call centres somewhere to the east
of us. Person to person relationships
developed over many years between
agent and airline are no more. You might
not know it but BA have some brilliant long
serving staff here in Nairobi – as you’d
image they were shattered by this news.
One of the advantages of using a travel
agent was that they could always speak to
the airlines, which they continue to do, but
alas not to good old BA.
It beggars belief that an airline can fly a
daily jumbo jet to a destination without any
representation whatsoever. Just look at
the guest blog on page 28 to see how BA
handled a situation at Heathrow its home
base. A weather based phenomenon, so
they say, which caused it’s IT platform to
crash, blamed by some on deep cuts to
their IT budget. Passengers were told to
leave the airport and re-book on BA.com,
unsurprisingly it didn’t work and hundreds
refused to leave the airport.
Loyalty is a big word. But BA's business
model seems to be all about shareholder
value, which is all that seems to matter
these days. Customers be damned.
Talking of which, loyalty that is – many
of our readers have complained about
booking or sorting mileage issues with
BA’s Executive Club. They say they have
tried unsuccessfully to do this online, their
only other option is to talk to a Executive
Club help desk in South Africa, who they
say are singularly unhelpful.
My little travel agency has seen a massive
swing away from BA in recent times, seems
the product and the amount you have to
pay is seen as not very good value.
I’m happy to report that tourism from
overseas and for that matter domestically
is very much on the up. The safari circuit
is already reporting record bookings from
July – September, with those unable
to secure accommodation during this
time spilling over into October and even
November. Happy days indeed. The coast
is being cautiously optimistic and looks to
a strong northern summer – but it’s more
of a last minute market driven by price, so
we will have to wait and see.
I haven’t stayed in a lodge in Kenya for
sometime that was full, in my article on
Lake Nakuru National Park in this edition I
stayed at Sarova’s Lion Hill Lodge.
OK it was a weekend, but it was full and
coping very well thank you. Let’s hope this
happy situation continues.
The road up our way, which I used to call
jokingly the Banana Hill Expressway, has
had a mega makeover and it can now live
up to that unlikely moniker. It’s brilliant,
with not a speed bump in sight – although
I fear they will eventually appear. But here
is the kicker; they’ve stopped 500m from
my driveway, which I obviously wasn’t
too happy about. Thankfully they are
now approaching my driveway from the
opposite direction – so as it stands I’ll be
the last driveway to be connected to the
Expressway. Patience is a virtue they say,
but I was never very good at that.
I'm all for good causes. I was recently
approached to take up the cause through
this digital wonder of the Friends of the
Nairobi National Park's opposition to the
routing of the new railways through said
park. I listened to their side of the story
which was convincing. The other side
of the coin that from the perspective of
government was a blank wall. Using the
best contacts I have, no one wanted to
give their point of view or in fact defend
their side of the story. I just couldn't get the
facts, try as I might. Without both sides of
the story it's hard to get a balanced view
on which to launch a platform of protest.
We are still willing to help but...................
Next month will be our 90th edition, it only
seems like yesterday that we began this
This edition is all of 6-days late, my
sincere apologies - technical gremlins and
writers-block being just two of the many
Our Guest Photographer in this edition was
in Amboseli National Park after the recent
grass rains - the photo (below) shows a
dusty elephant in a desiccated area of the
Until next time....
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