Deb Chapman, Flight Centre Independent

Open Jaw

Where were you born? In Moncton, NB, and I live now in Kentville NS.

What was your first job? Working in a convenience store when I was 16. It was fun! 

How long have you been in the business? Since I was 19 – it’ll be 39 years in September.  After attending Westervelt College in London, ON, I returned to the Maritimes and worked at Canplan Travel in Halifax. 

Tell me about your first airplane ride. When I was in high school we did a school trip to Rome and Athens on a charter flight with Olympic. We had a long mechanical delay on departure during which we were told to amuse ourselves! That first trip changed my life.

How has the business changed since you got into it? Oh, my goodness! A lot. We didn’t have computers and it was all manual, you had to update the fare books every week as the new pages arrived, work with OAGs, call the airlines to make reservations. There were just two or three tour companies to choose from. And we sold a lot of Florida. A totally different industry.

Do you have a specialty? Not really. I’ve been around for so long that I do pretty much everything, and never turn business away. 

If you could have any job in the business what would it be? Right now, it would be doing what I’m doing. I love being home-based, meeting my clients, helping them take a trip of a lifetime, making my own hours. It’s a pretty sweet job.

What was your best FAM? A Norwegian fjords cruise with Royal Caribbean – a seminar at sea.

What drives you crazy? People who want free information and go off and book it themselves. Sometimes you can waste a lot of time!

What’s the first thing you do when you get into a hotel room? I check the bathroom and turn back the sheets on the bed to make sure they are clean. 

Do you have any time management strategies? I have a diary that everything goes into. I like the old-fashioned paper methods.

What do you do to keep your clients loyal? I tend to give excellent service and keep in touch with them on a personal level between bookings. Birthday cards, anniversaries and through Facebook I’ll send them a little note.

If you had to spend six months in a destination, which one would you pick? Mexico, the west coast, because we’re thinking of retiring there anyway and we go there quite often. I’m very comfortable there already but also curious. There’s so much to see and do.

If you weren’t doing this, what would you be doing? I could well be retired (laughs). And travelling full time!

If you or someone you know who is a front-line travel agent in Canada would like to be featured in Biting Questions, please contact us.




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