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Your traveller, however, is apt to drift whither, he listeth, and he is also apt to demand luxury accommodations wherever he finds himself. Seeing that he gets them takes extraordinarily efficient staff work.

To get an idea of the magnitude of the problem, consider the matter of a lodging for the night. For the season of 1950, American Express reserved approximately 350,000 beds (the unit represents accommodation for one person for one night) in European hotels and 200,000 beds in hotels in the continental United States. Each person for whom one of these beds was reserved had to be in the right place on the particular night specified, or, if he was not, his reservation had to be changed.

In addition, the Travellers had to be provided with ship, rail, or plane reservations, automotive transportation, meals, guides, tickets to museums, theatres, bull-fights, or whatever artistic, dramatic, or sporting events were the main attractions in the places they visited. Their baggage had to be taken care of and delivered to them in the proper places at the right times. And finally, all the vagaries of human nature and the fallibilities of transportation systems were constantly conspiring to upset the schedules. American Expressmen in the Travel Department have to be able to think on their feet.

The American Express Travel Service is the largest organization of its kind in America, and the leading challenger for the position of largest in the world. For administrative purpose it is divided into two sections, Foreign and Domestic, and these sections are subdivided into such departments as Cruises, Conducted Tours, Foreign Independent Travel, Domestic Independent Travel, Catholic Travel (very active in a Holy Year), Special Movements, etc.

Bert E. White, vice-president and general manager, has over-all direction of travel. During World War II, White was chief of passenger traffic for the United States Army, in which capacity he handled troop movements of 42,000,000 men. He is, in fact, very good at moving people around.

White is responsible for all the escorted tours, cruises, and the great special movements such as the Catholic pilgrimages.

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What next? The Fight Against Crime

The Fight Against Crime

An even more serious threat faced American Express in the summer of 1949. A gang suddenly began passing counterfeit Travellers Cheques in sever, large American cities. These Cheques were different from those which had appeared in Europe in 1947. The Inspectors Department and the F.B.I. tore into action so fast that the attempts were stopped short in three days. The Secret Service aided in locating the counterfeiters' plant in New York and in identifying the engraver and printer, who in the meantime had been arrested on another counterfeiting charge. Forty-two members of the ring were arrested as a result of the investigation. The ring was broken up, and while the case has not been closed, prison terms ranging up to twenty years already have been meted out. American Express redeemed all the counterfeit Cheques which had been innocently accepted and paid. President Reed, in explaining this policy to his stockholders, said, "While we are not legally obligated... see: The Fight Against Crime

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