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Seamless Service During Hurricane Sandy

American Express Global Business Travel Delivers, Against All Odds


One day shy of Hurricane Sandy slamming into the East Coast of the United States, locals nervously hunkered down, waiting for the rain and wind to come. Batteries and non-perishable foods disappeared from store shelves. Mass transit systems and airports cut off service so workers could prepare for flooding. And businesses made last-minute calls on whether to open their doors the next day – many preemptively closed. No one yet knew the destruction Sandy would bring, but the superstorm was on everyone’s mind, including the travel manager at a New York City–based company that provides communications, aircraft and national security solutions to governments and government agencies.

While other New Yorkers stocked up on canned soup and candles, the travel manager called American Express Global Business Travel to figure out how to handle the hurricane before it hit. If Hurricane Sandy reached the full potential forecasted by meteorologists, flights could be grounded for days, and the client wanted to get ahead of the curve and make sure its travelers, particularly the board of directors, en route to a meeting in New York, would catch the next scheduled flights.


The client’s call came on a Sunday, so American Express GLOBAL BUSINESS TRAVEL immediately put three home-based travel counselors, part of our AXCESS@HOME VIRTUAL SERVICING NETWORK, on the job. The team began to monitor flights scheduled when the hurricane was predicted to make landfall, and ran reports to show pending reservations for the entire upcoming week so they would have a contingency plan already in place if and when airlines began to cancel flights. Travelers who had provided their home phone numbers were contacted the same day regarding potential changes to their travel plans.

When Hurricane Sandy did hit the following day, knocking out power and transportation across the region, the client benefited from having travel counselors on the AXCESS@HOME NETWORK. Offices remained closed across New York City, but the client’s virtual servicing team could keep working on travel re-arrangements from their homes for 400 impacted travelers. Still, with so much of the Tri-State Area impacted by Hurricane Sandy, many travel counselors who typically serviced the client had lost power, too. But that didn’t stop them. Those who could kept right on working, re-booking flights and hotels, and re-booking again multiple times as floodwater slowly receded. One travel counselor even fueled up his personal generator to keep his business phone and computer online – he prioritized powering his work equipment over his own home to make sure he could support the client throughout the week, until New York City airports re-opened and travel in the area resumed.


During a natural disaster as powerful and widespread as Hurricane Sandy, delivering seamless service to travelers can become nearly impossible. Thanks TO AXCESS@HOME, a network staffed entirely by virtual travel counselors, the client didn’t have to worry about its American Express Global Business Travel support team going off the grid. And the client continued to receive world-class care they could count on, against all odds.