Sunday 9 August, 2020

Jamaican travel care provider takes flight again after COVID setback

Shelly-Ann Cawley of Travelers Care and 11-year-old Amyah Cawley headed for Dallas, Texas.

Shelly-Ann Cawley of Travelers Care and 11-year-old Amyah Cawley headed for Dallas, Texas.

On July 3, Shelly-Ann Cawley packed her bags and  travel documents in order to accompany her 11 year-old relative Amyah Cawley from Ontario, California to Dallas, Texas.

It was the first assignment for Travelers Care --- the company she started in January, 2019 --- since relaunching in early June.

Like many fledgling businesses, Travelers Care has been hit even harder due to COVID-19. Because it specialises in assisting seniors, minors and the health-challenged by plane, the airline industry is its lifeblood.

"This is our first flight since re-opening June 1. It’s pretty slow with the new 14- day quarantine sanctions from New York’s  Governor (Andrew) Cuomo. If you are traveling to New York City, New Jersey or Connecticut one must quarantine for 14 days, so travelers are skeptical," said Cawley, who is from Kingston, Jamaica.

Because it is home to a massive Jamaican populace, the tri-state area is a strong market for Travelers Care. According to Cawley, since California Governor Gavin Newsom gave the go-ahead for the state's economy to re-open in early May, it has been like starting from scratch.

Shelly-Ann Cawley with Amyah Cawley at Ontario International Airport in California.

"We are taking a holistic approach with regards to relaunching, providing customers with safety guarantees that restore trust. We are constantly considering and looking at new ways Travelers Care can pivot to adjust to the new normal," she explained.

Travelers Care has agents in other major American flight hubs ---Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Orlando, Philadelphia, Boston, Atlanta and Los Angeles. Cawley disclosed that there is at least one company representative in each of the United States.

Cawley founded Travelers Care after working for over 20 years in the leisure industry with the Sandals hotel chain and Air Jamaica.

While with Air Jamaica, she gained experience monitoring the pre and post-flight movement of unattended minors and seniors. At times, Cawley accompanied the children of her friends to Jamaica.

Though she is happy to get Travelers Care off the ground again, there are hurdles to overcome.

"The greatest challenge I would say is government regulations. We operated our last flight with a customer on March 20th, however we still have to continue to pay government taxes and fees when there is no income," she stated. "Sometimes it feels like a bottleneck. You have to care about every single advertising, taxes.....it’s easy for you to receive violations and violation threats."

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