Customer tales: Crossing the Atlantic the hard way

Sleep deprivation, hallucinations and hunger aren’t usually problems that Global Travel Management customers suffer, when crossing the Atlantic.

In fact, getting from one side of ‘the Pond’ to the other is almost always completely straightforward and simple for nearly every Global Travel Management customer.  But there’s one very clear exception.  We have taken a look at an unusual set of circumstances.

Perform Logistics Managing Director Neil Mason: ‘a reliable travel management company is priceless and allows our team to concentrate on their own job at hand’

Perform Logistics is a UK-based freight transport, supply chain and logistics business, based in Colnbrook, Berkshire, close to London’s Heathrow Airport.  

The company specialises in moving and setting up consignments nationally and internationally predominantly in the events and exhibition sector. 

They work with a number of blue-chip clients, including Harrods, London’s Excel exhibition centre, Evolution Sport and Cignpost Diagnostic, the healthcare and diagnosis company that manages Covid-19 testing facilities for clients like the BBC, Netflix and the PGA European Tour

Perform also works with competitors in the world-famous endurance event, the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, known as “the world’s toughest row” organised and run by Atlantic Campaigns

Perform’s Founder and Managing Director Neil Mason explained: 

We work directly with several competitors in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge, transporting boats to the starting point at La Gomera in the Canary Islands and meeting and collecting them, 3,000 miles away in Antigua.

The event starts in December and the participants endure gruelling conditions, suffering from lack of sleep, malnourishment and even hallucinatory events as they navigate their craft, mile after mile, for weeks on end. 

As usual, Perform carried out their task of delivering boats on time to the start-line in their usual, no-fuss way.  But, as Neil explained, there was a new challenge this year. 

Changes due to Brexit meant our central European participants couldn’t bring their boats to the UK prior to the event without the new Customs requirements as is normally the case.  So we re-planned to ensure there were no customs and Brexit hold-ups and moved our own start line for these entrants to The Netherlands. 

Swiss Raw completed the challenge in eighteen minutes less than 35 days. The Perform Logistics team recovered Swiss Raw in Antigua, and ensured the boat was pressure washed before being safely loaded into its container ahead of its journey back to Europe. The logistics exercise took months of planning and included collaborations and partnerships across the UK, Switzerland, the Netherlands, Spain and Antigua made sure it was a successful project.

After the race started, it was clear Perform needed to change plans again.

We monitor the event in real-time back in the UK.  This year, the conditions changed part-way through the event and the participants made better time than originally planned.  That’s great for those taking part, but our team had to change flight dates, hastily. 

The team at GTM helped us and took care of all the flight changes and alterations to all itineraries required to get our people out to Antigua earlier than originally anticipated and ensure they were there to greet one of our clients – the overall event winner who finished, in an amazing 34 days, 23 hours and 42 minutes!

Congratulations to Roman Möckli, Ingvar Groza, Jan Hurni, and Samuel Widmer – the first ever team from Switzerland to win the race. 

Global Travel Management Managing Director Scott Pawley explained 

We’re used to organising complex travel itineraries and it’s not unusual for plans to have to change at the last minute.  So, when Perform’s staff had to get to Antigua several days earlier than originally planned, we got straight onto it.  I am happy we had the chance to help Perform meet their obligations.

Neil explained more of the complexity of the event 

The leading participants can take around 35 days to complete the event.  But other crews – some of them being solo competitors – can take more than twice that length of time to reach Antigua.  So we need to monitor the race closely to ensure our team is there to meet each boat as it finishes. Given this may be weeks apart, having a reliable travel management company to oversee and manage this on our behalf is priceless and allows our team to concentrate on their own job at hand .

Scott explained that re-arranging a full set of itineraries was far easier than the obstacles the participants in the Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge faced. 

We had to make sure the flights and travel were booked in the right timescale for our clients.  We absolutely couldn’t let our clients down. Because if we failed to re-arrange the itineraries, some very tired sea-farers might have had to turn around and row all the way back again!

Congratulations to the successful Swiss Raw team,
completing the 3,000 mile event ahead every other team
(video from Atlantic Campaigns/YouTube)

Travelling in Europe after January 2021

From 1 January 2021, new rules apply to UK citizens travelling to Europe.

We have listed some of the main issues travellers from the UK will face, as well as some links to useful resources. But, if you need advice on business trips to countries in the EU or EFTA, contact your GTM Account Manager.

At border control, UK travellers may be required

  • to show a return or onward ticket
  • to show you have enough money for your stay
  • to use separate lanes from EUEEA and Swiss citizens when queueing

UK travellers will not require a visa for short trips (up to 90 days in any 180-day period) to most EU countries, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Different rules will apply to Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus and Romania, where visits to other EU countries will not count towards the 90-day total.

EU border control staff may ask you for the purpose of the visit; where you plan to travel and stay; how long you intend to remain in the EU; how you propose to fund your stay; and whether you constitute a threat to public health.

It’s important to check the entry requirements for the country or countries you are visiting. Travel to Ireland will not change from 1 January 2021.

You may need to renew your United Kingdom passport earlier if you are travelling from 1 January 2021.

On the day you travel, you’ll need your passport to have at least 6 months left AND be less than 10 years old.

If you do not renew your passport, you may not be able to travel to most EU countries and Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It’s important to check whether your passport is valid for the country or countries you are visiting.

You should always get appropriate travel insurance with healthcare cover before you travel.

The UK Government has confirmed that the European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) continues to be valid in some EU countries.

However, it’s particularly important you get travel insurance with the right cover if you have a pre-existing medical condition. This is because the EHIC scheme covers pre-existing conditions, while many travel insurance policies may not.

Apply for a free European Health Insurance Card (EHIC).

From 1 January 2021, the guarantee of free mobile phone roaming throughout the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway will end.

Check with your phone operator to find out about any roaming charges you might get from 1 January 2021.

A new law means that you’re protected from getting mobile data charges above £45 without you knowing. Once you reach £45, you need to opt in to spend more so that you can continue using the internet while you’re abroad. Your phone operator will tell how you can do this.

You should check that your qualifications will be recognised in the EU if you provide services like legal services.

You’ll need to have your UK professional qualification officially recognised if you want to work in a profession that is regulated in the EEA or Switzerland. It will need to be recognised by the appropriate regulator for your profession in each country where you intend to work. You’ll need to do this even if you’re providing temporary or occasional professional services.

Travellers departing GB for EU countries will be able to buy duty free goods (alcohol and tobacco) once they have passed security controls on the same basis as currently applies to those travelling to non-EU destinations.

The extra statutory concession that currently permits tax-free sales beyond security controls, on goods such as perfumes, electronics and clothing will be withdrawn.

Passengers will no longer be able to bring unlimited amounts of alcohol, tobacco or other goods for personal use when travelling from the EU to GB.

Personal allowances will be extended to those travelling from EU to GB. The amount of alcohol that passengers can bring into GB will increase. Passengers bringing in any goods over their personal allowance must declare them and pay the relevant tax/ duty.

You must declare goods that you take with you to sell outside the EU – for example if they’re in your baggage or in a private vehicle. You’ll need to declare goods you take to sell anywhere outside the UK from 1 January 2021.

If you’re taking your own vehicle, you will need a green card and a GB sticker.

Please note that, for the green card, you will need the physical document – you cannot rely on an electronic copy.

Flights will continue in the event of a no deal Brexit

BREXIT: Advice for travellers

Today (7 March 2019) the UK government confirmed details of measures that will ensure flights will continue if the UK leaves the EU without a deal.

This follows the publication of technical notices in October 2018 which clearly stated that the UK would adopt a pragmatic approach to securing flights.

This announcement comes as the EU is also about to finalise its no deal aviation regulation that will protect UK airlines flying into Europe. Both these proposals will ensure continued aviation connectivity in any scenario.

Aviation Minister Baroness Sugg said:

Measures put forward by the UK and the EU will ensure that flights can continue in any scenario; deal or no deal.

This is good news, not only for the industry but most importantly it reaffirms the fact that passengers can book flights with confidence, as normal.

We expect these contingency measures will never be needed and our efforts remain focused on securing a deal from the EU.

The government has set out how it will reciprocate to EU airlines the rights granted to UK airlines by the regulation.

Around 164 million passengers travel between the UK and the EU each year so these measures will ensure that passengers can continue to take business and leisure flights in a no deal scenario.

This announcement gives industry certainty and the public the assurance needed to book and fly with absolute confidence.

These proposals are a no deal contingency measure and will only come into force if the UK leaves the EU without a deal. The UK remains committed to securing a deal but continues to prepare for all scenarios.

ABTA has welcomed UK Government’s confirmation that flights will continue in a no-deal Brexit.  Mark Tanzer, Chief Executive of ABTA – The Travel Association said

Today’s announcement provides further assurance that, whatever the outcome of Brexit, travellers can continue to book holidays and business trips with confidence.

Europe is the most popular holiday destination for UK travellers with 58 million trips1 made to the continent each year. More than three in five people2 are planning to take a trip to Europe this year, so travellers will be pleased to see the final confirmation from the UK on their ability to fly even in the event of a no-deal.

It’s worth remembering that if the UK and the EU agree a deal, we will be in a transition period and everything will stay the same for travel until the end of 2020 – meaning people can continue to travel to the EU exactly as they do now.

While it is encouraging that there are plans in place for a no-deal scenario, we encourage politicians to work to avoid a no-deal Brexit.

ABTA and its Members are offering advice to holidaymakers and business travellers heading to or from the UK after Brexit – with the latest information available at