We hope that this series of stories will bring you some comfort during these difficult times. This story tells how two travel advisors worked tirelessly, overcoming some very difficult obstacles to get a traveler home safely.
When the announcement came down the night of March 12 that European travel bans were now in place, Jolene Nichelson, executive international advisor with Travel and Transport, went to work immediately. Jolene’s main goal was to get travelers the help they needed in securing new flights back to the U.S.
One specific executive traveler was contacted that the bans were going into effect and that our team was working on getting him home as soon as possible. To add to this situation, the traveler had completed all government-required paperwork to secure his green card and was simply waiting for the documentation to arrive. He and his family were very fearful that he could be detained because of this situation.
Jolene and her colleague Alexis Yracheta worked tirelessly to review the government directive to determine what this traveler could be facing when he arrived at the airport. In their thorough research, they discovered he would indeed be considered a non-US citizen and could certainly be detained at the border. It was critical to get him home before the border deadline to ensure he would not be denied re-entry into the U.S. and separated from his family indefinitely. Jolene worked to find a direct flight from Johannesburg, South Africa to New York City’s JFK airport to ensure that he would not take a risk in being detained at his connection. The flight was approved, secured, and departing in 4 hours. Without a minute to spare, the traveler successfully made the flight, returned home, and was extremely grateful for Jolene's assistance during this emotional situation.
When Jolene was referenced as an unsung hero, her response was "We do everything we can for our clients. That is simply what we do." When she was later asked how she was personally doing during this unprecedented time in the industry, Jolene said, "Right now I am overwhelmed with the state of our industry but I will continue to do anything for our clients to ensure we get them to their destination."