A few days ago someone asked me why I blog. My response was “I enjoy sharing stories of life on the road with my readers” and I think that’s accurate. Having said that, I think the time has come to invite new voices to share their stories, since there are so many interesting people with whom I cross paths in the skies!
I’d like to introduce you to my good friend The Travel Director (she’s headquartered at www.thetraveldirector.com, on Facebook at The Travel Director, and on Instagram at @thetraveldirector). What is The Travel Director, you ask? Straight from Kerry:
The Travel Director is an extension of the event planning industry and is hired on a contractual basis by third-party event planning companies as an extension of their team. Fueled by wanderlust, this “warrior of the sky” travels the globe executing high-end events at a first class level.
As we’ve traded stories over the past month or so, The Travel Director has graciously agreed to share some of her favorites with Andy’s Travel Blog. So, without further ado, please welcome The Travel Director!
Embrace the Turbulence: A Lavatory Explosive
Most of the time, my Monday morning work-out is trying to maintain a squat above the toilet during turbulence at 30,000 feet. With a wide stance and arms reaching towards the sky, I have noticed that I can conquer most wind pockets and still aim properly, all while toning my legs and backside. By standing strong, knowing my target and riding the wind, this travel thing is way more fun.
A little over a year ago I was hired to fly a large group from the States to the Caribbean for their annual incentive trip. With these types of programs, the sales winners are on vacation and most are not seasoned travelers. I greeted all of them at their home airport with balloons, name badges, welcome packets and boarding passes, informed them of the weather down South and let them know that our flight was right on time. After escorting the group through security, I dropped a few nervous travelers off at the bar to calm the jitters furthermore expecting clear skies ahead.
In an effort to provide the best customer service possible, and since our group was large enough to have chartered the aircraft, I introduced myself to the flight crew and confirmed they knew where everyone in our group was seated. Take-off was quick from the East Coast and we were right on time. Smiling knowing that the hardest part was over I sat back, got comfortable, and hashtagged #lifeofTheTravelDirector as I counted the airlines miles I was accumulating.
Moments after we crossed international waters I had a worried flight attendant approach me while aggressively tapping on her paper seating chart. She said, “Excuse me, are you The Travel Director for this group? 36D just smoked in the lavatory and this is a serious fire hazard. Flushing a lit cigarette is a lavatory explosive! The pilot has been alerted and we are likely going to have to land this aircraft.”
Immediately I knew that we were dealing with a federal offense, and the result of my reaction could land one of the attendees in jail. I quickly closed my eyes, thanked the heavens I was seated in the emergency exit row and quickly turned all reactions on airplane mode. I refused to let this group get greeted with handcuffs rather than the champagne that was waiting for them upon arrival at the resort.
This type of fire alarm was nothing different than what all of us event planners and travel directors experience when on-site. Perhaps this was a bit larger than a piece of lost luggage, but the situation was in the hands of a stewardess, a pilot and a Dallas blonde. The international waters, and perhaps a really forgiving debutante smile, were the saving grace that allowed us to have a smooth landing. By keeping the turbulence inside, and striking a yoga chair pose to calm the nerves, not more than five attendees ever even knew about it.
The Queen has it quite right—Keep Calm & Carry On. The success of your event, and the smooth take-off and landing of your program, depend on it.