Where were you Riviera when we needed you.

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FRANKPOINT's review of Riviera Travel

★★★☆☆

“Where were you Riviera when we needed you.”

Written on: 04/08/2014 by FRANKPOINT (1 review written)

Krystal Palace Hotel superb. Riviera tour manager brilliant. Return home, worst nightmare.

Here is a brief description of our return transfer from the hotel Krystal Palace, Lake Garda to Milan Malpensa airport.

THE RETURN HOME
Coach transfer, the Riviera guide informed us that due to heavy traffic / congestion on route, the toilet / break stop needed to be 20mins max. I know the coach driver has to meet given deadlines but during our journey, removing his jumper while driving the coach with both hands off the steering wheel. During the journey he was tailgating vehicles in an attempt to move them out of his way so he could pass, most uncomfortable being on the front seats of the coach. The tour guide travelling with us at the time made no attempt to point out this dangerous behaviour to the driver?

AT THE AIRPORT
We arrived at the airport at 17:25 and proceeded to check in, only to find we still had approx. an hour to wait before the check in desk opened (so why the rush on the coach).

IN THE AIRPORT
Having checked in we headed for gate 18B, passing through passport control and security. Arriving at gate 18B our scheduled 20:25 flight was now at 21:45. At approx. 20:30 flight time now 00:30. Passengers using there phones to get information came up with varying reasons, technical faults, plane still at Birmingham Airport ?
Now the fun begins,  we were approaching the midnight hour and the question was do we or do we not fly. Luckily we thought were off, time for take off 01:00, being very tired we trudged our way to the departure gate. People going through, onto waiting bus to take us to the plane, nearly there , queue half on the bus half off. Lets call a halt to this while the two airport staff at the gate decide to debate some matter for half an hour without any explanation to the people waiting to get on bus. At last we get the call your not going ANYWHERE. To late to take off, mysterious technical fault which keeps cropping up?

ABANDONED IN THE AIRPORT
Have you ever wandered aimlessly around an airport in the middle of the night with two girls (airport staff ?) who have not got a clue or a care what do do with you. One lady passenger who quiet clearly had walking difficulties, trying to keep up finally lost it, she gave the two girls a very verbal going over. I must admit at 2:30 in the morning are patience was running thin since nobody from FlyBe or Riviera was there to try and sort out this mess. At 03:00  are patience finally ran out, a young Italian lady who after berating airport officials phoned the police and can you believe it they turned up. This finally produced some action, we were then told a coach was to be provided to take us to a hotel 10mins away. I must stop being so optimistic, NO COACH they cannot find one, TAXI, if you pay for it yourself because FlyBe will not. Anyway the hotel we were going to stay at provided us with a minibus which carried 8 people at time plus luggage. First 8 people to go went at approx. 04:15, round journey taking 20/25 mins. Pity the last to go, 07:15, they got to hotel with the announcement be at reception for 09:00 for further flight information, sleep well everybody. This journey to the hotel did meet a lot of opposition with some passengers, they seemed to have the misguided idea that all they wanted to do was get us out of the airport. We were becoming a bit of a nuisance since we did not believe a word they said to us, paranoia setting in.
Just a quick tale about thrill ride to hotel. The guy who drove the minibus must be related to our coach driver only this is the super fast version. We hurtled along the road at breakneck speed, why go around a roundabout on 4 wheels when its much more fun on 2. My wife clinging to me, being on the front seat we're getting closer to the action than most, believe me this guy was having fun because he kept looking at us with a big grin on his face. Thank god we've arrived as I've just realised are travel insurance ran out at midnight.

AT THE HOTEL
At the hotel still no sign of anyone from FlyBe os Riviera but we are being treated with curtesy and respect by the hotel staff, makes a change. After a 1 hour sleep(if your lucky), shower / freshen up and breakfast we are at reception, you've guest it NO NEWS, 30mins later however, coach to take us to airport at 11:30. All this information is coming from a lovely Italian lady on reception who's english is not the best but she gets the message across (she should get a job at the airport). No coach 11:30 but guaranteed 13:40 and guess what 13:30 it turns up, smiles all round we're going home.

AT THE AIRPORT
At the airport go to information desk and told to go to checkin 15, this is a BA counter, I remember somebody saying earlier that FlyBe did not have a plane for us so maybe BA were flying us home. Remember were getting pretty desperate now so we'll believe anything, still no reps. Finally we end up at checkin 17 where we're meant to be. Finally we are at gate 23, onto airport bus, ferry us to plane. 
Again just a quick word about an old lady who required a wheelchair for mobility, passengers from our group had to find her a wheelchair and generally look after her, where are these reps?

ON THE PLANE
Finally on are way home, give the captain his due he did apologise and we all got a free soft drink. Next the stewardesses explained to us continually and in great detail about flying through storms, struck by lightening, apparently we were the lucky ones delayed for 20hrs. It's a shame the never bothered to ask us about are ordeal, then again i don't suppose they really cared.

I have tried to convey the personal side of what we endured plus the facts as I saw them. I think the photo at 03:00 in the morning sums it up.
To sum up we were treated very poorly by the very people who were supposed to be looking after us.

I'm sure most of the people who travel with Riviera have a very good holiday, the reviews say it all.
I have been it touch with Riviera Travel and they keep telling me that they are very disappointed with the way I and my fellow travellers were treated. It's been a month now since our return, it seems to me that, apologise as they may words are cheap and action on our behalf is not forthcoming. Riviera Travel did mention compensation from FlyBe airlines but like I said to them I don't go on holiday for compensation.
Will I go on a Riviera Travel holiday again, unfortunately NO.

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