Business Travel iQ
For those of you that are not Top Gear devotees, Jeremy Clarkson is a middle-aged Englishman who until recently fronted the long-running television programme which has been watched by millions of people around the world. And those millions of viewers have made millions and millions of pounds for Clarkson's employers, the BBC.
Clarkson was suspended and then had his employment terminated as a result of verbally and physically abusing another member of the Top Gear team. Such behaviour should in no way be condoned but the context in which this happened is one that all travel managers who have any input into their company's travel policy should think about.
Clarkson and his co-presenters had been filming in Surrey before making a 250-mile helicopter trip to a hotel in North Yorkshire where they would be staying before the next filming segment. There are normally eight episodes in a series to film. This year that had been upped to 12 and the presenters were working on the 10th on the day and evening of the fateful incident.
Continued belowClarkson (left) with his Top Gear co-presenters James May and Richard Hammond. ©iStock.com/EdStock
The helicopter journey had been delayed for several hours so that when Clarkson and Co arrived at Simonstone Hall, it was late and hot food, never mind the steak that Clarkson craved and demanded, was no longer available.
Thoughts about traveller well-being start to waft through. More episodes meant longer working schedules; hot food at the end of a day doesn't sound unreasonable although few would argue that Clarkson's response was.
Travel policies usually distinguish travellers on the basis of the journey. Some will distinguish on the basis of the seniority of the employee. Few will distinguish in terms of the value of the traveller to the organisation.
Who knows? Clarkson may very well have thought "All this money I make for this company and they can't even give me a hot meal."
Who knows? He may even have had a point.