Advantages in op
Disadvantages in op
|Where did you book|
|How often have you booked through them|
|Value for Money|
|How good were the guides?||Average|
|How satisfied were you with the Hotel/Appartement||Very satisfied|
|Quality of the tour in general||Average|
Package holidays aren’t normally my thing, but when all you want is a week somewhere hot, with everything arranged for you, they usually don’t do that badly. I’ve travelled with numerous companies, usually to Spanishy places, but never before with Thomson. This wasn’t why we chose them though, nope, it was their choice of departure airports. There are very, very few companies who fly from Blackpool, and even fewer who fly from Blackpool and who can be booked through work, thus offering me a discount. Thomson fitted the bill though, and so Thomson it had to be.
I booked through Thomas Cook on a Pricebreaker holiday. This basically means that they’ll allocate you your accommodation on arrival, but it will definitely come from a given choice of 3 from their winter or summer sun brochure. I wasn’t fussed where we ended up, and since this way was £200 cheaper, it was an easy decision to make. I ordered a vegetarian meal when I booked, and rang up 2 days before to confirm this. They’d “lost” the reservation, but promptly reissued it. On both flights we were given one, but we did have to make a fuss since on the way out, the one meal they had had someone else’s name on (someone else who, incidentally, wasn’t on board).I received out tickets 2 weeks before we flew out, but no other documentation from the company apart from a little leaflet which was mainly adverts. Still, I had everything I needed and so there wasn’t really a problem. Even on my discounted holiday, I could have added their “extras” to my price if I’d wanted to. These included upgraded seating on the plane, taxi transfers in resort, flowers, wine of fruit in the room on arrival and various other bits and pieces. In certain hotels you can pay extra to ensure a low room, a high room, a sea view, a double bed and so on. These are well advertised throughout the brochure, although the prices do vary from country to country, and resort to resort.
Thomson have various brochures incorporating short and long haul breaks, package holidays and discounted no-frills trips. You can book over the phone or in almost all travel agents, but not as yet online at their website. The brochure we booked from was accurate enough – nothing they said was false, but there were quite a few things they hadn’t included.
Our flight was on time, and there were a whole host of reps there to meet us. We collected out allocation details and found the coach, complete with very Spanish driver Jose, and very English rep, Alex. The transfer was bearable but we didn’t get the useful info about the resorts you sometimes do. We were the last drop off – we always, always are – and although there were no reps in the accommodation, the hotel staff were obviously expecting us and had everything ready.The next day they dragged us away from our sun loungers to sit for the longest “half hour” welcome meeting I’ve ever been to – probably because it lasted nearer to an hour. Here we met 2 of our 3 local reps and were told all about the resort. Or rather, we were told all about their wonderful trips and nights out, that we just wouldn’t want to miss…. I’m probably a little critical here, not least because I’ll be repping for one of their competitors this summer, but they were pretty hopeless. They said they would serve us drinks at the meeting, but they didn’t. They said the weather would be lovely and sunny the next day. It wasn’t (not entirely their fault, but still. And, for someone who has been living in that resort on that island for 3 or 4 years, one of the rep’s local knowledge was pants. Plus, they could all have used some public speaking skills.
At the meeting we were given a booklet listing their trips, but it really was just that – a list, with no explanations. We were told to book than before we left, but we went away and came back that evening to sort things out. The reps made daily visits to the accommodation – about 4 or 5 hours most days I think – but really just seemed to sit there whenever we saw them.As for the trips, well they were well organised but quite expensive. We went on a tour of the mountain and surrounding areas, and although the reps sold this trip over others on offer based on the fact we wouldn’t be given sales pitches from their sponsors before we set off, they proceeded to drop us off for 20 mins at what cannot really be described as anything more than a glorified pearl jewellery shop, from which they were obviously getting a commission.
One thing that was most annoying was the coach for the trip home. It was supposed to be at 4.30 am, and so all of us were duly waiting in the lobby at 4.15am as instructed. Half an hour later, we were still waiting. It eventually got there just after 5am, and although there was a rep on board, he made no apologies or even comments on the delay. What he did do, however, was proceed to tell us in great boring detail how to check in. Now bearing in mind that everyone there must have checked in at an airport at least once in their life, and some, like me, have checked in 8 times in the last 6 months, this wasn’t really necessary – a quick “ok, gates number 32 and 33” would have sufficed.
They were ok and I would travel with them again, although I wouldn’t make them my 1st choice (and incidentally, I wouldn’t make First Choice my 1st choice either). They got us from the UK to the island and back again, but not in a memorable way. They weren’t outstandingly good or knowledgeable or even all that nice and friendly, but they were ok. And, they gave me an idea of what not to do this summer :p
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