Tuesday, September 24, 2019

Travel Shutdown

Thomas Cook, a major British travel firm, went belly up. About 600,000 people were stranded by the company’s collapse. British citizens are covered by a government insurance that guarantees they can get home. The other nationalities, who are the majority of their clients, are not so lucky. Various governments are trying to figure out what to do. My guess is that some people will just have to make their own way.

That must have come as quite a rude shock to a lot of people. In this day and age one of the main reasons for booking with a travel agency is that you don’t have to figure out anything yourself. It’s cheaper if you do your own planning and booking, but that takes some time and effort. The very sort of people who are stranded are the sort who don’t like to deal with unknowns and just winging it.

That’s what you get for trusting someone else with your transportation. Usually I like to drive myself. If the destination is across water, I want to take my own boat.

Of course, next month I’m trusting trains to get across the country. However, I don’t see the government abandoning Amtrak and stranding all the passengers. Even if that happens, it’s not like I’m across oceans. 3300 miles is a long walk home, but it can be done. I wouldn’t want to do it, but it could happen.

After the September 11 attacks people were stranded all over the country when all civilian planes were grounded. Amtrak was shut down for a short while. Some bus transport was suspended. People who absolutely had to get somewhere piled into cars and drove themselves.

We take long distance travel for granted, but the system is a lot more prone to disruptions than we’d like to think. During the terror attacks governments stranded people, but something as simple as bad business decisions could do it too. Just ask Thomas Cook clients about that.



  1. I feel sorry for all the folks that got stranded, but it shows just how quickly things can turn bad.

    1. You never know what little surprises life with throw at you.

  2. You did see that Amtrak is getting rid of the diner cars on the east of mississippi routes?