Handling business travel during a pandemic

Pandemic case study

The Novel Coronavirus, now known as the COVID-19, a pandemic that hit the world in January 2020 has given a shock to the world economy. Its impact on the travel industry has been a disastrous one, along with other industries like airlines, hotels, F&Bs, and global businesses which require a lot of momentum across the world. Once its effects started to become widely visible, organisations around the globe started activating their risk management to mitigate the impact on their business and employees. 

FCM’s response mechanism

During this period, FCM has been actively involved with its clients who were either already travelling or those who were scheduled to travel. Following travel trends with attention and detail, FCM quickly realized the gravity of the situation and activated their crises management with highest priority for clients who were travelling. For all clients and travellers, whether travelling or not, a more regular update process was put in place so that customers could always be well informed and kept up to date on the events as they unfolded during the crises.

FCM began to receive travel alerts about clients who were travelling, and they quickly started reaching out to each traveller while actively tracking their movement with the single aim of getting them back safely. As India and other countries of world started closing their borders to control the spread of the pandemic, FCM helped many travellers get back in time in compliance with changing government policy and visa rules.

FCM was constantly in touch with clients who were travelling internationally and once they started sending out specific advisories, they started receiving calls from many clients who requested immediate action. While the Emergency Support Team worked relentlessly to resolve all issues effectively, the corporate offices at all local levels also got involved in helping clients mobilise.

Pandemic case study

FCM’s Approach

  • Constant monitoring and assessment of the situation
  • Regularly updating clients of travel advisory
  • Actively tracking clients travelling
  • Constant communication about risks
  • Round the clock availability of consultants for travellers

Below is an account of the swift action that FCM took during the crises to bring a traveller back safely and help mitigate the risks that could have impacted safety and wellbeing of its customer.

Getting a traveller to fly back in time to India

Client Background

FCM came onboard to manage travel for one of India's first largest company in the field of Optical fibre in 2012. FCM has since been servicing the company’s various business specialisations like telecom service and software business, mostly in the cities of Pune & Ahmedabad.

The Situation

One of the client’s global employee is a British passport holder and he was supposed to travel from Europe to India via Turkey. However, on 17th March 2020, when the passenger reached Istanbul for his transit flight, airport staff in Turkey did not allow him to board the onward flight to India. They quoted the travel advisory issued by Indian government at the time which stated that international travel between the UK, Turkey and India would be suspended. Although this advisory was scheduled to be implemented from 18th March, the authorities did not let the passenger board his flight to India.

FCM’s response

FCM’s corporate team in Ahmedabad and Pune were intimated of this situation through a call from the client’s Indian counterpart around midnight on 17th March. They informed FCM that the passenger was stuck at Istanbul airport and needed urgent assistance in moving forward. FCM first tried to speak to the airline staff at Istanbul, but when their calls were denied, they started finding alternate ways. They checked alternate flight option via Gulf, but no flights seemed to be available, and even if there were, no airlines were ready to guarantee that the passenger could board a flight.

FCM immediately started checking with various sources about the official advisory. They were finally able to get in touch with the Bureau of Immigration in India and presented the case to them. The Bureau cleared the passenger and allowed him to board the flight as per Indian standard time. FCM team then also wrote an e-mail to the Indian embassy in Turkey and succeeded in getting special approval for the passenger’s travel to India.

“We appreciate FCM’s support for arrangements made during our employee’s travel from Istanbul to India. During such serious situation FCM stood behind us like rock and that is exemplary.”

The Result

FCM finally managed to get the client back to India in time via a transfer through Gulf. FCM not only procured better connection for the traveller, but their quick actions and duty of care helped comfort the anxious traveller during a crisis.

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