By Darren Isaacs - 28 September 2021
Our intrepid Covid-19 blogger, Darren Isaacs, picks up his blog where he left off as he sets off for 14 days of forced quarantine to visit his family in Australia. In this limited run of Covid Diaries, Travel Edition, he will share some of his travel and quarantine experiences alongside his musings on topical HR issues our clients are facing.
First of all, to set the scene just a little more, I flew from London via Singapore to Brisbane, on Australia’s East Coast.
I acquired a ticket months and months ago in the full expectation that there was less than a 50% chance I would get here, and yet here I am. Brisbane is a nice part of the country but, for immediate purposes, most importantly it is Anywhere-But-Sydney: flights into Sydney are being badly affected by the current pandemic surge there, but Brisbane is located in a different State and is doing quite well – thus, so far so good.
I had the most lovely flight attendants on my flights from London to Singapore, and again from Singapore to Brisbane. I shan’t name the airline though some of you will know it nonetheless. I flew economy on both legs, largely because the ticket prices were already eye-watering without the extra £5,000 (US$8,000) I would have needed to stump up in order to pop myself into business return. £5,000 buys a lot of Farrow & Ball. Not that it really mattered: we had about a dozen economy fliers on the London to Singapore leg, and only four of us from Singapore to London. There were so few Singapore-Brisbane passengers that we all had a dedicated cabin crew member (DCCM). My DCCM knew me by name before I even set foot in the cabin, told me to sit where I wanted, take up an entire row (or two, if I fancied it), that I could have whatever I wanted on the menu, and then said I could just eat whenever I wanted. I pressed the button once during the trip for a cup of coffee, and I swear she was by my side before the thing even lit up. So basically identical to business class anyway.
So today I have been reflecting on how the pandemic, and the alleged return-to-normal, has affected and continues to affect so many businesses and their staff in such different ways. The legal sector has not really suffered, at least not the big-end-of-town-firms nor those of us running HR-related practices. It has been the exact opposite – if anything, we have struggled at times to keep up with our clients’ needs given the various fast-moving HR issues they have been dealing with. And yet, you take a sector like travel and it is patently still suffering.
I fear that with the UK government’s subsidised furlough coming to an end later this week (30 September), we may be in for a bumpy October in the HR world. We shall see. In the meantime, if you do need to get on top of this final month of furlough rules, we still have some guidance for you here though it will soon be yesterday’s news.
If you would like to read more Covid diary entires please click here.