When I heard about the furor in response to JetBlue charging for pillows and blankets, I finally realized we've all lost our constantly-indignant-at-the-airlines-little minds. When did we decide that for a two- to five-hour timespan we couldn't live without receiving shelter or sustenance from a third party? I know that airplanes tend to fly pretty far above the terra firma we're used to stomping around on, but I've almost never gotten on a flight without knowing ahead of time I'd be doing just that. Why can’t we dress warmly enough and bring our own food on the plane? Why do we insist that we get these things for free and then appear awestruck when they’re taken away from us?
People have been capable of obtaining takeout food for ages. In fact, as I'm writing this, on this warm August evening, I'm sitting on the 7:22 p.m. out of Penn Station and a woman across the aisle just unearthed a container of hot soup from an Au Bon Pain bag. She's slurping it up wholeheartedly with a plastic teaspoon even though she's crammed into a two-seater with a well-dressed gentleman in a business suit who has a tiny scared smile on his face that indicates a fear of sudden, scalding spillage rather than contentment.
Airlines are responsible for getting us from point A to point B. Unless I've paid to be in first or business class, I'm not expecting anyone to tuck me in anymore. Let’s focus on what’s really wrong with most airlines, like sitting in coach seats that are so tightly packed in you can nearly suffocate from a lack of space, or being chastised by flight attendants who are just plain mean. JetBlue actually doesn’t suffer from either of these issues, so I say let them charge for a blanket and pillow. I hear they’re from Bed, Bath & Beyond and rather nice, in fact.
In this issue, we celebrate the Top Supplier Sales Reps in the industry. We decided to take on the challenge of finding these talented individuals because we wanted to write about those people who are most important to you and your business. You know who they are, these are the folks who show up at your doorstep eager to tell you about their newest hotels or tours with a big grin on their faces, even though it’s pouring rain out. These are the same devoted road warriors who don’t get to see their homes for weeks at a time because they’re out flying and driving and taking every possible mode of transportation to visit with the travel agents in their region. When you have a problem, you can call on these talented and dedicated comrades because they have all but dedicated their careers to serving you, the travel agent.
Read and enjoy. Meet some old friends, make some new ones and don’t forget to nominate your top sales rep in next year’s Travel Agent Top Supplier Sale Representative Awards.