I read an article in today’s paper about Alison Redford former Premier of Alberta. Alberta’s auditor general found “false passengers” booked on some government flights so the then Premier could fly alone. It reminded me of an event I had to deal with in the 1980’s when bringing Irish children to PEI for a four week holiday away from the sectarian violence of Northern Ireland. We raise funds all year for this four week event and the biggest cost was of course the return flight to Belfast. I asked several travel agents to make there best offers of flights and prices.. One particular agent came up with what looked like a almost unbelievable low cost. However, after closely checking the departure places this offer quickly became impractical. In order to create his low cost, the agent had the twelve children plus two adult chaperons flying out of a small Dublin airport, landing in a secondary airport in Glasgow before boarding the trans Atlantic flight to Toronto. No mention was made of how the group first get to Dublin from Belfast. No mention was made of how they travelled across Glasgow to the main airport. Added to this the chaperons would need to herd these twelve young children between airports hauling their luggage with them. All the while struggling to be on time for each flight. I turned this agent’s offer down and decided to book with another local firm. That was when I ran into trouble, my new agent said she couldn’t book a flight from Toronto to Charlottetown. Apparently someone had booked a block of seats on the flight and no other seats where available. Strange! this was not known as a busy flight and we had never before experienced a problem on the Charlottetown leg of the journey. After a bit of digging I discovered the original and cheaper agent, had booked the block of seats just to force me to come back to him. He knew if I couldn’t get the group from Toronto I’d have to look for alternatives, and of course that was him. I confronted him and naturally he denied the bookings, but is was clear and obvious he was lying. He was a Jehovah Witness so I suggested I might attend his church and tell the congregation of his actions. He told me to go ahead no one would believe me. Nevertheless, the following day the block of seats miraculously disappeared and my agent was able to book the children through to Charlottetown. It was the end to a very unpleasant situation, one designed for personal profit while giving no thought to the interest of the children we were trying to help. Also, not a particularly nice recommendation for the members of the church of the Jehovah Witness.
God Bless and keep reading