Ex-airline cabin crew launch travel agency

A group of former airline cabin crew have launched a travel agency after fearing for their jobs during the Covid pandemic.

Doors2Manual has joined the Hays Travel Independence Group consortium and will serve customers over the phone, on over video link or email.

It is to utilise the vast travel experience and customer service skills of the former crew members  “to become a very unique type of travel agent”. The initial four crew-turned-agents are Laura Reynolds and Janna Beech, who both worked for Virgin Atlantic, ex-British Airways crew member Elaine Graham, and Fiona Mallinson who worked for Titan Airways.

They will be available at flexible hours, not sticking to a 9am-5pm working schedule and will sell both long-haul and short-haul trips, city breaks, adventure travel, and beach holidays though Abta and Atol bonding with Hays.

The agency is already taking bookings, and two more crew are due to join within the next few weeks with “several more” to follow ahead of 2022. By the end of the first quarter of 2022, Doors2Manual hopes to have a team of 20.

Crew have experience of travelling worldwide, and promise a “vast, untapped, pool of travel and destination knowledge”, claiming “there are very few agents and operators that have travelled as extensively”.

Director Sally Henry, who is handling Doors2Manual’s launch, said: “This is the first time airline crew have come together in such a way to share their vast travel knowledge gained from years and years of flying experience.

“The crew’s passion and love for travel resonates strongly and it’s fantastic we keep this talent and knowledge in the industry, rather than lose them as a casualty of Covid.

“By partnering with Hays Travel I’m confident that the Doors2Manual crew will have access to the best-in-class systems, support, and suppliers. People’s holidays are now more important than ever before, and the concierge crew will be able to offer insights and insider tips from their wealth of experience to ensure customers receive the very best service.”

Natasha Marson, head of Hays Travel Independence Group, said: “Right from our initial contact with Doors2Manual I was excited by their ideas, catchy name and unique crew culture.

“We are thrilled to be able to support this team to build their business in a pandemic, with full sales support from business development manager Helen Williamson and our internal Sunderland-based teams.”