Our objective is to travel from London to Amsterdam for a meeting in one month’s
time, starting at 11:00am and finishing around 4:00pm.
We need to keep expenditure to a minimum.
The risks include:
We arrive late.
We get to the meeting very tired.
Costs of the complete trip are over our expected budget of £300.
The meeting may be cancelled, and we therefore lose money paid for non-refundable
There will be other risks, possibly arising from our choice of transport. For example,
an accident is more likely if we go by car. There’s no point in taking account of
these risks if car travel is not the preferred choice.
What decisions do we need to make in order to reduce our risks to a level we’re prepared
The first decision is the mode of travel (plane, train or car), since this will affect
the first three risks above.
Depending on the amounts of money at stake, we may decide to accept the final risk.
Depending on the time of travel, we may need to decide on accommodation.
I’m not going to go through all the information but will just provide examples.
We know that the meeting is in our organisation’s office, ten minutes tram ride from
the main station.
The first information we have to gather is availability of transport. This will provide
times and costs. At the time of writing, booking four weeks ahead, the first train
leaves at 8:04 taking around 5 hours, with a change at Brussels so there’s no chance
of travelling on the same day as the meeting. The last train leaves at 17:19 arriving
back at 21:03 (Amsterdam time is one hour ahead of the UK), which is early enough
for us to get home. However, we don’t know if the meeting is likely to finish late.
Total cost is around £230, excluding the cost of an hotel room.
By plane, a British Airways flight leaves London Heathrow at 7:25 and arrives at
Amsterdam at 9:40. That will just give us time to get to the meeting. Cost is around
We live near Heathrow, so shouldn’t have to get up too early!
We know that we’ll have to take three days by car, which is more expensive than the
plane, when Eurotunnel and hotel costs are included.
Timeliness is important; to make sure the seats aren’t sold, we need to book as soon
This has to be balanced against the risk that the meeting is cancelled.
We could try to be accurate about costs and times.
There’s no point about being too accurate on costs. We can work to the nearest £20
and still know whether we are within our budget.
There’s not much point about being very accurate about times. We have to arrive at
the airport at least 30 minutes before the flight departs and can only estimate the
time from the aircraft landing to our arrival at the office to about an hour, plus
or minus 15 minutes. It will be tight but we can manage that risk by asking for a
slight delay if we are late. (We know from experience that these meetings rarely
start on time).
We travel by plane on the same day as the meeting as it’s the cheapest option, taking
the least time.
There are risks that we will arrive tired and maybe late but they are acceptable.
If they were not, we would travel the day before. We would need to check that the
plane was still the best option.
If the meeting is cancelled, we lose the money paid for the tickets. This risk is
acceptable compared with the risk that we might not be able to book such cheap fares
nearer the date of the meeting.
We have not taken into account the wider environmental risks of travelling by plane
instead of train.