When I tell people about my company, Cranky Concierge, I always explain that we specialize in air travel assistance. Want to guess what the usual reaction to that is?
“What do I need that for?”
Building a business that’s not something people even realize they might need can be a challenge, so I’m grateful to Vinay and Devesh for letting me guest post about what we do.
The short answer is that you need us if something goes wrong with your flights, but you might want us around just in case.
Part of what we do is similar to what a travel agent does. In fact, we are agents so we can not only book your flights but also hotels, car rentals, vacation packages, etc. We’re affiliated with a larger network, so we can get access to great rates from time to time. If you’re traveling internationally in a premium cabin, then the chances of finding better rates goes up.
But it’s what we do after everything is booked that really helps us to stand out. In fact, many if not most of our clients come to us after their flights have been booked. When a client signs up, we ask for all the flight details for the upcoming trip. We put that into our system and we monitor the flights for any problems. A couple weeks before departure, a concierge is assigned to each client. That concierge follows the entire trip him/herself so there is no call center. You never have to explain the history of your trip or what your preferences are. Your concierge will already know.
Before departure, you’ll get an update from your concierge via email, text message, tweet, or really any method you prefer. Your concierge will give you gate information, let you know where your airplane is coming from, and monitor the weather. If everything goes as planned, then think of our service as more of an insurance-style policy. You’re paying for a guardian to keep an eye on your flights and help if something goes wrong.
And when it does go wrong, we spring into action. We’ve had client miss flights and we’ve had to help them find alternates. We’ve had weather cancellations, volcanic eruptions, mechanical problems, you name it. Our concierges are all self-proclaimed “airline dorks,” so they’re very good at navigating through problematic situations.
For example, we recently had a client flying from London to Honolulu via San Francisco. His first flight had a mechanical and he was going to miss his connection. We worked with United to get him booked on a connection the next day. We contacted his hotel at his destination and spoke with others who need to be know that he would be delayed. Though this client is well-traveled and knows his way around the airlines, he was very grateful to have had us there to help get everything fixed so he didn’t have to worry.
Sometimes, it’s the concierge’s creativity that really helps us stand out. One client absolutely had to be in Nice, France when the Icelandic volcano shut down most of Northern Europe. Their flights were canceled and they were afraid that they wouldn’t be able to get there . . . until we stepped in. We had to route them from Los Angeles to Tel Aviv, then connect back to Madrid. From there, they took an overnight train to Barcelona and then drove the 600km to Nice. It wasn’t an ideal way to get there, but if people need to be somewhere, we can almost always find a way.
Our service is global. We can help you wherever you are, including India, of course. In fact, as I write this we have someone heading for Mumbai this very evening.
This might seem like an expensive service, but it’s really not. If you sign up in advance, short haul flights start at only $15 each way with longer haul trips at $30. For last minute assistance, if you get stuck, it’s only $150. You can find out more by visiting our website at crankyconcierge.com, emailing us as firstname.lastname@example.org, or calling us at +1 707 797 7474.
Brett Snyder is the author of the award-winning Cranky Flier blog. He is also the President and Chief Airline Dork of Cranky Concierge air travel assistance.