Travelers Care sees growing demand for travel companions among seniors
Natalie Stephens, 73, with Travelers Care Founder and CEO Shelly-Ann Cawley at Newark International Airport, Traveling to West Palm Beach Florida.

Even in conventional times, travelling by air with senior citizens can be challenging. Since the coronavirus emerged in early 2020, that task has become more taxing for relatives.

Enter Travelers Care, a Los Angeles-based company that offers accompaniment for seniors from North America to the Caribbean and Latin America.

Jamaican Shelly-Ann Cawley launched the company two years ago. Since then, its staff has accompanied “vulnerable travelers” such as seniors, persons with psychological and physical challenges, minors and puppies on flights within or from the United States, Canada and the Caribbean.

In recent months, Cawley says her venture has seen an uptick in senior clients.

“Yes, it certainly has. We find that a lot of the time, family members do not have the time to accompany their loved ones, whether it's because of their busy schedule or they themselves aren't good travelers. With the entire travel industry currently being impacted by continued workforce shortage, weather delays and other factors creating irregular operations, traveling can be even more difficult especially now in a pandemic,” she said.

With the quality of service posted by Cawley and satisfied clients, Travelers Care has seen demand from outside traditional markets. According to Cawley, inquiries have come from potential clients in Germany, Costa Rica, Cayman Islands and the United Kingdom.

Like Cawley, Travelers Care 'travel companions' worked for years in the leisure and airline industries, which makes them experienced to navigate the client's most challenging needs. It is a critical component of the company's service.

“Our Travel Companions are very equipped to fly with vulnerable travelers. Most are former or current Flight Attendants as well as airline employees who have received special needs passenger training.  A Travel Companion will fly with you door to door, airport to airport or door to airport,” Cawley disclosed.

The Travelers Care package also includes arranging all flights; baggage, check-in and TSA processing; ensuring all paperwork is completed and in place for travel; assisting with all travel authorizations; ensuring international requirements are met; arranging wheelchair and other assistive services; arranging transport on the ground with transportation partners; working with airlines to ensure compliance with FAA and ADA regulations; completing personal assistance onboard the aircraft; and providing updates, pictures, and constant communication between clients and family. 

Born in Kingston, Cawley launched Travelers Care after working for over 20 years with Air Jamaica, Delta and Sandals Resorts. During her time in the airline industry, she got first-hand experience of dealing with seniors and minors, many of whom were unaccompanied on flights.

The challenges posed by the coronavirus has been tough on her fledgling enterprise, but  Cawley is pleased with Travelers Care's position going into its third year.

 “Travelers Care has grown tremendously, we still have lots of room for growth but we are grateful that we get to make our mark where families trust us with their loved ones. We are committed to keeping vulnerable travelers and pets safe and giving their loved ones peace of mind,” she assured.

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