It’s that time of year again… who will win an illustrious Gongs in Travel award from our columnist Amon Cohen?
For the umpteenth year running it is my sacred duty to lay before you the Gongs in Travel, or Gits. These are my irredeemably prejudiced and wholly unfair accolades recognising the ups and (mainly) downs of the past 12 months in corporate travel.
Read once, then place wherever you have already filed that Jacob Rees-Mogg Nude Pin-up Calendar 2019 your aunt gave you for Christmas.
The Mouton Flambé for Best Travel Disruptors
WINNER: The French
When I say “travel disruptors”, I mean that quite literally. No one does revolting like our nearest continental neighbours. From air traffic control strikes to gilets jaunes riots, it truly was an année d’or for France’s national sport. As one wag noted, it would be more helpful for business travel alert services to tell us when there isn’t any industrial action going on in the country.
Ritalin Cup for Hyperactivity
WINNER: Festive Road
Is there no pie unfingered or event unspoken at by the hardest-working, fastest-growing consultancy in corporate travel? There are days when I think I might be the only person in our industry who doesn’t yet work for them. Rumours the government is bringing in managing partner Caroline Strachan to sort Brexit on her day off have not been discounted.
The Ryanair Trophy for Taking Airline Add-On Charges to an Unexpected New Level
WINNER: LOT Polish Airlines
Passengers awaiting take-off on a LOT flight from Beijing last November had to organise a whip round to stump up £280 for a hydraulic pump part to get their Boeing 787 back in the air. Apparently airport warehouse staff insisted on cash-only for the item and the airline lacked the readies. For heaven’s sake, don’t mention this story to Michael O’Leary...
The Keystone Cops Gingerbread Truncheon for Inept Law Enforcement
WINNER: US Air Marshals
In perhaps the worst security blunder since Julius Caesar told his bodyguard to take the day off on the Ides of March, it turns out that the undercover armed officers who sit on transatlantic and other US-bound flights aren’t as competent as they might be. The Transportation Security Administration has revealed that marshals have unintentionally discharged their weapons on 19 occasions (including into the officer’s own right foot in one incident) and lost, misplaced or had their firearms stolen on another 70. And this from the country whose president thinks the answer to mass school shootings is arming teachers.
Fyffe Banana Skins Cup for Biggest Transport Cock-up of the Year
RUNNER-UP: Chris “Failing” Grayling, transport secretary
WINNER: Berlin Brandenburg International Airport
New, “improved” timetables pretty much shut down the rail network in northern England during summer 2018. But even this “epic fail”, as young people like to say, pales beside our annual winner, BER airport, originally scheduled to open in 2011 but now with a revised date of October 2020. Vorsprung durch Technik, your reputation is taking one hell of a beating!