A young couple repatriated from New Zealand were so delighted with the hard work of Travel Counsellor Nicola Reetz that they told their story to the local newspaper.
When a young couple became stranded on Vanuatu Island in late March after New Zealand closed its borders as a response to the growing coronavirus pandemic, Norfolk-based Travel Counsellor Nicola Reetz came to their rescue.
The parents of one of the young travellers are long-term clients for Reetz and have been booking their holidays with her for 16 years, so when onward travel became increasingly impossible for the young couple, Reetz stepped in to help get them home.
“Their parents paid for a flight to get them off the island, but when they turned up at Vanuatu airport they were denied boarding as no transit was being allowed through Australia without a certificate of transfer,” she explains.
Reetz stayed up all night to be able to keep in touch with the couple over Whatsapp despite the time difference, assisting with getting the paperwork they needed before the 72-hour window for flights into Australia closed on 23 March.
Further problems with the next leg of the journey through Singapore meant that Reetz also had to act fast to book a back-up flight from Sydney with Etihad in addition to the Singapore Airlines flight the couple were due to travel on.
“I arranged to get up at 4am to cancel the backup Etihad flight in case the Singapore Airlines flight came through. Once I knew they’d boarded, I tracked their flight all the way home. They sent me a picture as soon as they landed safely back in the UK, looking very happy to be home.”
Her clients were so happy with Reetz’s efforts that they took the story to their local newspaper. “I got a call from [my client] to let me know that I was going to get a mention in the Norwich Evening News. The best bit is that the reporter who wrote the story said it was the most-read article of the day when it was published. I feel famous!”
Reetz also recently helped another couple who were stuck in Vietnam because of a coronavirus travel lockdown. “They called me afterwards to tell me that they were the only people in their tour group who received a call from their agent when the news broke and who had flights home booked within an hour.”
Another testament to Reetz’s strong relationships with her clients is how they have tried to support her during the temporary ban on travel. “One of my clients had eight cabins booked for him and his friends on a Cunard cruise in May. They had the option to cancel, but he said he wanted me to keep my money so he persuaded the whole group to rebook instead.”
Although she is working around the clock to help her clients but not receiving any commission, Reetz says she would always help a customer in need. “I’ve been a Travel Counsellor for 17 years, it’s in my blood, so I am here for any customers that need me 24/7.”
Despite a lack of new bookings for now, Reetz is optimistic for the future of the industry. “We are all just waiting for the rush now because everyone will need a holiday after this is all over!”