Working in logistics as we do, we are responsible for everything once the bookings team here, and the client, have booked the speaker. We then work closely with the client and the speaker, ensuring that everything is covered in the lead-up to the event and for the speaker to get to the event, whether here or overseas, on time and in one piece.
Travel is tailored to each speaker and the venue. No one size fits all here. Speakers will either want to drive, be driven, take the train, a particular flight and/or airline. For those overseas events additional care is needed to ensure nothing gets lost in translation and for events in politically challenging corners of the world, an armed guard throughout the whole stay, which we’ve arranged on a number of occasions.
It is then with interest we saw over the weekend the news of a student going to great lengths to avoid a Ryanair charge for a name change on an existing ticket. His girlfriend’s stepfather had booked the flight and judging by the manner he confirmed his details, by going to his Facebook page to do so, suggests the relationship is in early stages. However, our student pragmatist – Adam Armstrong – had created his Facebook page ‘as a joke’ using instead American actor Adam West who starred in ABC’s 1960s TV show Batman. On realising the error Adam called Ryanair and was told that it would cost £220 to change the ticket.
ABC's Batman starring Burt Ward as Robin and Adam West as the Caped Crusader
Instead of paying, Adam went from Armstrong to West by changing his name by dead poll – which is in fact free, however, the passport did cost £103 still saving him over half of the charge. Further questions are raised as to how this will affect other areas of his life and whether it will be more trouble than it’s worth in the long run; but one has to admire his chutzpah when dealing with an issue most have some sympathy for.
In the rare occasion this has come up for us we have dealt with it on a case-by-case basis and it usually involves a slight misspelling or a missing Arm as it did recently with another Armstrong being booked in as Strong. Our speakers though will be pleased to hear we will not be contacting The Royal Courts of Justice anytime soon to change, say, John Sergeant to John Inverdale or David Garrido to David Walsh.
This did get us thinking to what similar lengths we had gone to when things – even beyond the scope of our logistics team – had gone wrong.
You would think the natural world is at the top of the list - where volcanoes will annoyingly erupt sending continental sized clouds into the atmosphere or when a Scottish snow storm blows in in late April – but the origins are less Mother Nature but more human nature.
The strike is a recurring problem, particularly those overseas that are not so easily tracked. Whether you feel the strike is well founded or not the issue remains so your original A to B journey can now look more like an equation for the existence of life on another planet:
N = R * fp * ne * fl * fi * fc * L
With added calculation needed for the further possibility of extra-terrestrial strike action.
When this happens we ourselves have to calculate best routes with sometimes minutes to spare so the speedy limo-bike is a good go-to in times of need when a strike is struck.
Once when a speaker was stuck in traffic in France, already in transit with this method, but locked in an impenetrable traffic jam we considered, and looked into, a helicopter to airlift the speaker out of it and get them to the venue. Thankfully or sadly, depending how adventurous you are, the bike managed to get through and get our speaker to the venue in time for the slot.
We’ve had a well-known breakfast TV presenter’s black-tie suit locked in a production car on location by one of the production staff with presenter having to leave it there to travel to the event without his tux’ while speaking to us in transit about getting a replacement. We did and had it at hand but access to the locked vehicle was managed (not sure how) and said suit was reunited with the host who then of course had a great story to recount at the event which the client - unaware of the proceeding drama – was able to enjoy without the anxiety.
As previously mentioned these more drastic occurrences are very rare but we hope it shows that – by pooling our considerable knowledge and experience – we are able to battle the odds, tackle the most adverse weather conditions, overcome distances, provide what is lost, potentially airlift speakers from situations without an adjustment, alteration or an amend being made to their given or – as the case may be – their stage name.
Pictures courtesy of Wikipedia (Adam West) and Pixabay (rail strike).