Written on: 04/08/2012
We bought a package from Thomson to a very swish hotel in Crete. The hotel, because of the hotel not because of Thomson, was superb. No problems there, except that we now suspect we could have booked direct with the hotel and probably pay the same or less. But really that's our fault. We didn't do the math before booking.
In our case it's the booking process and some aspects of the flights that failed to please and need to be aired.
We were first perplexed immediately after confirming the booking on the Thomson website when we received an email telling us about holiday extras, one of which was being able to book seats on the plane. This is how it's stated in the email: "If you decide to pay extra to reserve seats together, you'll get the added bonus of being able to choose your seat numbers free of charge. Our Select Your Seat service lets you take your pick without paying a penny extra." So, you pay extra but it's free! Everyone must be hooked by this, unless they really don't care if they sit next to their travelling companion. Reserving our seats cost an extra £34. After having just paid £3542 we were not pleased. This started to set the tone with Thomson.
The day before departure we received a text from Thomson telling us that we had a chance to win back the cost of our holiday if we replied at a cost of £1. We didn't take the bait, but we wonder how many people do. Is this really the behaviour of a professional company?
At Stansted we were charged £48 to carry an extra 4kg of luggage over the allowance. This turned out to be odd because we were under the allowance on return from Heraklion airport. We're not sure what to make of this.
At the hotel the Thomson rep was fairly useless and we ended up being relieved that we didn't need to call on her services. The hotel looked after us very well indeed! We bought two days out from the rep, one of which was very good, the other being little more than a cynical money making exercise. Again, if we're honest about this it's clear that more pre-departure effort on our part would have led us directly to the supplier of the good trip, and saved out money on the bad trip. The shame for Thomson here is that their local rep can't be bothered to do anything but sell from a list.
Finally, on the flight home, we were asked to fill in a survey because Thomson "always listen to the views of their customers." We decided to complete one, but then found that the survey wanted to know about our lifestyle and our email addresses and phone numbers. Did we want a conservatory? When was our home insurance due for renewal? We didn't hand the survey in! We will, however, send Thomson a complimentary copy of this review, along with an assurance that we're unlikely to travel with them again.
Shame on you Thomson. Had you been content to honestly charge the full amount for our holiday up front, and simply allocated us with plane seat numbers with no fuss and without messing with our heads, then you'd have got a 5 star rating from us. As it turned out, it was the hotel that did all the hard work for us, you were just a slightly grubby middle-man outfit. It's the hotel that got you 3 stars instead of 1.
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