There are many benefits from booking with a tour operator – from the expertise of our team that gives you a better itinerary and saves you time to the expertise on the ground which gives you greater insight into the country to which you are travelling and that you know has been vetted by us – but it is when something goes wrong that one key value emerges – the safety net and duty of care we provide. The British Airways IT failure last weekend was a good example of this.

We have a duty of care to our clients and unlike many of the airlines it is something that we take very seriously. As soon as I received an alert that there were problems at Heathrow, I ran a report to see which clients we had travelling where and was immediately in touch with our duty manager to work out a plan of action. Thankfully not so many clients were affected but those that were, we were in contact with making alternative arrangements. For one couple this meant purchasing a whole new ticket for travel the next night – a cost to us that was worth it as long as the clients were happy.

But for many that booked flights and travel themselves, the misery does not end with last weekend. In his article travel journalist Nick Trend recommends that British Airways should compensate “its long-suffering customers with free flights”. But you and I know that is unlikely to happen – not least if you agree with The Sunday Times which says that “British Airways is expected to be downgraded to a three-star rating because of declining standards.” Indeed a different article in the Telegraph states that BA is encouraging its customers to seek compensation via their own travel insurance.

If they had booked through Steppes Travel it would have been an altogether less painful experience