Global marine travel experts ISS GMT host our mid-month Triton Networking event on May 16. All yacht captains, crew and industry professionals are welcome to join us at ISS GMT’s offices off 17th Street in Fort Lauderdale from 6-8 p.m.
Until then, learn more about the benefits of traveling as a marine professional from ISS GMT Yacht Sales Manager Shawn O’Brien.
Tell us about ISS GMT? What do you do?
ISS GMT is a niche travel agency that provides marine fares on more than 50 airlines and their partners worldwide. Our goal is to save our clients time and money by presenting the best routes and fare options, including regular published airfares and low-cost airlines.
Who can use your services?
Captains and crew, of course, but also brokers, surveyors, technicians and shore-based management personnel traveling to/from a vessel. Please note everyone must carry a sponsorship letter outlining the purpose of the travel, including the yacht details, when flying on a marine fare regardless of whether one has a seafarer’s book in their possession or not.
What is a marine fare?
A marine fare is an industry-specific, one-way refundable/changeable ticket including extra free baggage allowance. It’s a unique product for the maritime industry and eliminates the need to purchase a round-trip ticket and lose or waste the return part. It’s especially effective on international routes, as the one-way marine fare will be cheaper than the regular published rate you would get online. The eligibility is extended and applies for shore-based support companies flying technicians or engineers to service the vessel. If they need to extend their stay, we can change the dates at minimal or no fees.
It’s so easy to book an airline ticket online nowadays. Why should crew use you?
ISS GMT holds private marine contracts with most major airlines worldwide, including their commuter partners. These contracts are not offered on any airline nor consolidator website. In addition to those contracts, we also have access to the regular restricted airfares that are found on Skyscanner or Expedia, plus low-cost carriers not listed in either database. Additionally, we provide 24/7/365 customer service via our own staff; nothing is outsourced, nor do we charge a service fee outside “normal” business hours.
A key benefit and difference with the marine fares is we can book and hold courtesy reservations without the passenger having to purchase the ticket immediately. And we are happy to create an individual traveler profile for instances that they are paying for their own ticket.
Crew should understand that marine fares might not be the rock-bottom lowest price every time. The advantage is that it’s refundable and changeable, something you don’t get with regular fares. Still, we will always research any published airfares, as well as low-cost carriers, and include the options for crew to compare.
Can marine fares be booked in advance?
Of course, but they do not require advance or instant purchase. In fact, we are able to secure these fares and issue tickets until about three hours prior to flight time (adhering to airline check-in policies).
We do recommend, however, that when the yacht season changes and known crew rotations are pending, it’s wise to get courtesy reservations in place since it gives them the increased checked-baggage allowance. It’s always easier to change existing reservations later rather than start from square one at the last minute when seats may not be available.
The same is true for brokers attending trade shows, surveyors traveling to shipyards, or personnel attending training courses/licensing exams or anything similar that is industry or yachting specific.
What’s new at ISS GMT?
At the request of our clients, we’ve implemented a dedicated in-house private air charter division, staffed by experts who already have the relationships and knowledge of the FBOs to book everything from heli-ops to turbo props, light jets, BBJs and 777s, cargo aircraft as well as medevac and air ambulance services worldwide. An associated division was acquired for humanitarian and missionary travel, including disaster relief flight services.
We’re also pleased to announce Julia Russell has joined us in the role of marketing manager and are thrilled to have her here.
How long have you been in business?
GMT (Global Marine Travel) started in 2002 by Tim Davey, a former cruise line executive. At that time, airlines offered refundable airfares to crew on cruise lines, oil rigs and cargo tankers. Seeing the fast-growing yachting industry, Tim pitched the airlines to extend their contracts to yacht crew and this is how GMT started.
In 2010, GMT was acquired by Inchcape Shipping Services, one of the largest port agencies for commercial vessels. The company rebranded to ISS GMT, with Tim still in charge.
ISS GMT is “always open”. How does that work?
Yachting is anything but a 9-5, Monday-Friday industry. Our operations are around the clock, 24/7/365, just like our clients. So whether it’s a Wednesday morning, Sunday night or Christmas Eve, we’re here for our clients. Our agents are located in our Fort Lauderdale headquarters as well as stationed in other parts of the United States, Canada and Europe and can be reached using a single phone number or email, as well as live chat or any of the VOIP phone numbers listed on our website.
I need a flight tomorrow, is that possible?
All we normally need is at least three hours prior to departure, as there is no advance purchase requirement on marine fares. In a case like that, we suggest contacting us by phone versus email. Where would you like to go?
ISS GMT is hosting Triton Networking on the third Wednesday in May (May 16) in the parking lot of its building at 1800 S.E. 10th Ave. in Fort Lauderdale (33316). No RSVPs are required; just bring business cards to network and meet new people.
For a map, click here.