Travel Chaos is something that the media love to exaggerate in this age of 24 hour news channels that have too much time on their hands so spend most of the time looping the same footage for hours at a time. However what has amused me over the last few years is that when a travel crisis hits anywhere in the world, there is only one man that will know the answers and that mans name is Simon Calder.
The name on its own probably means little too most of you but I can guarantee that you will know his face. It would appear if you a run a newspaper or TV Station, the name that must be in your phone is Simon’s number filed under “Travel Expert” and he will be in the studio before you can say “Volcanic Ash”.
It has been a source of amusement to me for sometime how he seems to be the only “Travel Expert” that we have so thought it was about time I delved into this man’s past to see exactly who he is and how is able to get the entire British Media eating out of his hand.
I was hoping to find some sinister conspiracy but instead found details of how a young Simon started his career as a cleaner for British Airways at Gatwick, and then a security guard. It was during this time that he began Hitch-Hikers Manual: Britain and even held the record for the quickest hitchhike between Land’s End and John o’ Groats. Unfortunately though Norris McWhirter is no longer around to confirm this.
He went on to write man successful Travel Guide Books, and earned his stripes to be unveiled as a “Travel Expert” in 1980 as the fellow spectacle wearing Simon Bates program Studio B15 on Radio 1 way back in 1980.
Calder went on to became travel editor for The Independent in 1994, and started to appear on our screens on familiar shows such as Travel Show, Perfect Holiday and Departure Lounge.
Back in 2005, Jeremy Clarkson caused offence by referring to Simon Calder as ‘that chap who looks like a cross between CNN’S Richard Quest and Stephen Hawking, which although is a little harsh is more than a little amusing.
So it seem that Calder has more than earned his place as Travel Expert of the nation, but my fear is who could possibly replace him? If he ever feels ill and BBC Breakfast News, ITV News and, Sky News are calling, who would advise the people how to cope with volcanic ash, British Airways strike action, Emergencies abroad and the increasing of taxation to flights?
If you would like to be the nations reserve travel expert, I suggest that you send your CV to all the main TV Stations as I hear they are very short of people in this particular field. Until then though Simon Calder we salute you.
If Simon thought 2011 was going to be a quiet year he was sadly mistaken, a biblical January in which we have already seen earth quakes, floods in Queensland, a bomb at Domodedovo airport in Moscow and of course BA are thinking of going on strike again.
With a workload like this our travel expert Simon Calder could burn be in danger of burning out so if you fancy giving him a hand, now would be the time to be tweaking your CV.