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RETROSPECTIVE


CUTTING- EDGE TECH


This is what state-of-the-art looked like in BBT’s debut year.


lines and, a couple of years later, the BlackBerry. In issue 6, when travel manager Jeannette Harrison (later a Business Travel Awards Travel Buyer of the Year) said her most useful gadgets were “my Filofax and palmtop”, readers would have purred with envy. On the other hand, some of the technology seems pretty old school even for 2003. A BMI advertorial in issue 2 boasted about a Diamond Club airport lounge with business facilities, including “fax, photocopier as well as TV and Teletext”.


BMI, formerly British Midland, struggled on in various incarnations right up until February this year. Other carriers mentioned in early issues of BBT disappeared far sooner. Anyone remember Buzz? VLM? Duo? Also, lots of old friends who are no longer (to the best of my knowledge) in the industry are quoted – names including Mike Platt of HRG, Matthew Davis of American Express, Loraine Holdcroft of the Institute of Travel Management and former ITM chairman Ian Hall of Unilever. Platt, a journalist’s favourite for his articulate but not always on-message opinions, warned in issue 1 that travel managers should make hotels their number one focus for improvement because “companies are still letting people book their own rooms” – arguably an even bigger problem today. This wasn’t the only prescient comment. By far the


best feature in the first year was star contributor Bob Papworth using issue 2 to rubbish airline alliances as quasi-monopolies in the interests of their own buying power rather than their corporate clients. This was long before the joint-ventures which cemented airline strength much further. In issue 3 founding editor Mike Toynbee mourned the demise of Concorde, predicting there would be no super- sonic replacement any time soon. Other forecasts proved less accurate. In his issue 1 article, Platt proclaimed confidently that “this will


70 SEPTEMBER/OCTOBER 2019


THE LOST GENERATION


If you were going to launch a low-cost carrier today, you probably wouldn’t choose the same name as this short- lived budget spinoff from SAS...


NEVER KNOWINGLY UNDER-DRESSED


Perusing snaps of travel execs across the years, it’s notable how much scruffier we have become. Two TMC style gurus always noted for their, er, flamboyant dress sense were Peter Kite (almost invariably attired in matching tie and kerchief) and Sue Kavanagh of HRG and CWT respectively. Look and learn, younger generation!


buyingbusinesstravel.com


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