It has been a very difficult week for the BOOT and family. Within moments of turning up for TRAVELtech in Sydney I received a phone call telling me that a close and dear relative had collapsed while on holiday in Berlin, was in a coma and was given a less than 50% chance of living. As you can imagine this was frightening, overwhelming and distressing. Thankfully it is 9 days later and I am on the way home from Berlin to Sydney leaving behind someone who has defied the odds, is in recovery and under the care of fantastic doctors and other family members. With great relief I can now smile and go home.
This is a story for the Business Of Online Travel because there is a travel angle to this harrowing family experience. Within moments of hearing of my relative’s condition I knew I had to get to Berlin fast. I was able – within 60 hours of that first call – to walk into the hospital in Berlin and be a support for my relative and contact for the rest at home all because Qantas did everything they could to be accommodating and helpful. I have been a top tier flyer for Qantas for now 9 years but have also (through this blog) been one of their loudest critics. But when they have come through for me I have also given them praise. This is one of those times. Not only did they get me a points seat on the most convenient flight for me, they we proactive in exploring options and reaching out to me. In addition they were able to deal with my obvious distress and emotional state in a very professional and courteous manner. Thank you Qantas.
I also want to give my thanks to the Department of Foreign Affairs and the consulate in Berlin. They provided support and assistance before and after I arrived in Berlin well beyond any expectation that I had.