When we book a vacation tour for our clients, we know that anything could happen to interrupt the best laid plans – volcano eruptions, airline strikes, hurricanes – but a revolution? We don’t usually consider that possibility. If you have been anywhere near a television, radio, or computer these past two weeks, you know that not only is a violent protest in progress in Egypt, but that many Americans are stranded there.
Two of our longtime clients spent more than two years planning a trip of a lifetime with Compass Travel agent Wendy Sisto, who had been to Egypt and who shared her enthusiasm for this ancient and historic region with them. Our clients left Logan Airport on Wednesday, January 26th and arrived on the following day. No one knew that trouble had already been brewing in the land of the Sphinx.
Midway through their first full day in Cairo, our travelers were told by their tour guide that he needed to leave them to join protesters in the city square. Almost immediately, things turned into something “out of a James Bond movie,” as one of the ladies described to us. Egypt is 7 hours ahead of us, so early Friday morning here in New Hampshire, late afternoon in Cairo, Wendy received her first call from them; they didn’t much care for political uprisings and wanted to go home.
Wendy immediately set the wheels in motion to do just that. She worked throughout the day and well into the wee hours of Saturday morning, in coordination with our tour operator, STI Travel-Sakkara International, both with their reps here in the United States and their tour professionals in Egypt, to get those two ladies on a plane back to the U.S. Remember, the Egyptian government had shut down all Internet access and cell phone service in the country; the situation was chaotic, to say the least.
When Wendy finally went to bed that Friday night, our clients were scheduled to board their flight home. At 7:30 am Saturday morning (EST), Wendy knew the plane was on its way to New York, but she did not know if they were on it. Finally, at noon, our tour agent called to confirm that they were indeed on that flight, and would land at Kennedy Airport that evening. Wendy went to work to arrange a flight back to Boston, but there were no seats available. She called the family of one of the travelers and they hatched a plan. At 7:30 pm, while monitoring the arrivals into Kennedy from her computer, Wendy received a call from those weary travelers asking if they had a connecting flight home. She was happy to tell them her surprise—family members were there to greet them. Wendy had also offered to drive the six hours to pick them up.
That’s how our agents work. I commend Wendy for her tireless efforts to get those two wonderful women home from a very frightening, often uncertain turn of events. No one can predict these things. But, we can assure our clients that once they buy their tickets from us, we are with them all the way! Thank you, Wendy for a job well done.