Bucket and spade travel
Thomas Cook seem to have garnered a lot of complaints if today’s Which survey is to be believed.
I do not want to appear judgmental but if, on one hand, Thomas Cook claim high levels of customer satisfaction and, on the other hand, Which report high levels of dissatisfaction, there must be something wrong.
Being brutally honest here, I would not want to travel with Thomas Cook – not because of the company but because of the passengers and their needs. I have done it. I went with a friend and her two young children and never again. I mean never again with young children rather than never again with Thomas Cook.
In fairness to Thomas Cook and their staff, it must be dammed difficult to provide any level of service to an aircraft full of screaming, crying and generally out-of-salts infants and children. The parents (and even me as a hanger on) are tired and fretful before the journey even begins. How can two infants require so much stuff for a short break?
As a travel writer, I hear and make a lot of critical comments about service levels falling below expectations. Often, these are justified and I campaign against the companies for improvement, recompense, etc. But the key word here is expectations. Should one reasonably expect the same level of service on a Thomas Cook bucket and spade holiday flight to Spain as one expects on say, a BA business flight to Berlin. The answer is obviously not but setting the correct expectation level is so very difficult.
Is the screaming child kicking the back of your seat the fault of the airline, the fault of the overwrought parent or just part of travelling on a holiday flight to a holiday destination? Do you expect the cabin crew to be as polished and as well turned out on Monarch short-haul as they are on Virgin long-haul? Do you expect the same levels of cleanliness and punctuality?
As a first-timer travelling with someone else’s young children, I was horrified. I hated the journey and so immediately hated the company.
I know that I was being very unfair. I hope that Which are not being too unfair on Thomas Cook.
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24 June 2010, 06:55AM
I am a young Mum and I travel with my two. I have used First Choice and they were really nice and went out of their way to help me.
Justin Wilks, London
24 June 2010, 02:13PM
Looking at the reviewcentre.com it seems that the 'Which' survey is not off the mark where Thomas Cook is concerned. 1.6 stars out of 5 the average out of 246 reviews, with complaints ranging from poor customer service, tiny and cramped planes not appropriate for children and poorly trained and rude staff.
24 June 2010, 02:37PM
I think this is a case of 'you pay for what you get' with Thomas Cook, although it is disappointing that family's on a strict budget get such a poor service.
M Khanom, Kent
24 June 2010, 05:19PM
I used Thomas Cook once, and after flying with them it nearly put me of flying completely.
Mark Davis, UK
25 June 2010, 04:12PM
Thomas Cook is the worst airline I have ever flown with. Had a 3hr delayed flight to Sharm from BHX, no explanations provided. Then finally get on the most cramped aircraft (B757-200), seats extremely narrow. Set in a 3-3 configuration my partner who is only 5ft 4in was in the centre seat with 2 average sized males either side - she could not even read her magazine as she could not hold her arms up to turn the pages. Crew poor, couldn't wait to get the commission based duty free and on board snack/drinks trollies out. I will certainly not use this company again neither will I recommend them to anyone either.
28 June 2010, 04:56PM
Premium is not a lot better than economy with Thomas Cook. We paid £500 extra for premium seats, but the service we were given does not justify that extra money. The food was poor, I had been under the impression there was a choice in the premium cabin. Whilst we did not expect a luxury service I feel paying £500 extra should give you a far better service than we received. Crew on return flight were just not bothered and spent a lot of the flight behind the curtains. Entertainment systems kept going wrong. Slightly more legroom - thats the only positive thing.
Bill J, Kent
28 June 2010, 05:42PM
I had a very reasonable trip with Thomas Cook flying LGW-YVR return. Return ticket for £300 which was a very good price for the trip. We were given two hot meals of reasonable quality on both sectors and service was very courteous. The flight out was delayed by 30 minutes and we had to re-route to avoid the ash cloud which made for a longer flight and on the return the flight left on time and we arrived 30 minutes early. All in all, excellent value for money.
29 June 2010, 11:04AM
My Manchester to Vancouver flight with Thomas Cook was appalling. I am only 5/4, but struggled to get comfortable with the restricted leg room, again on our flights many people were forced to stand, including an entire rugby team, because they could not physically fit in their seats. I was 18 weeks pregnant on my return flight, I had my tray table out and when the person on front reclined it nearly cut me in half! On both journeys the in flight entertainment did not work. The response from the 'Customer Care' team acknowledged TV problems and that the volcanic ash prevented them from sending planes to Abu Dhabi for repair, so if they knew there was a problem, why didn't they tell us.
Sarah Taylor, London
30 June 2010, 03:11PM
I agree that it must be difficult for Thomas Cook to provide any level of service to an aircraft full of screaming, crying infants and children, but other airlines seem to manage it, why are Thomas Cook staff so intolerant?
Philip Jones, Kent
1 July 2010, 01:08PM
The travelling public and airlines need these critical surveys from the likes 'Which'. Perhaps Thomas Cook might see this and start offerering a better service and value for money.
5 July 2010, 11:55AM
I was very impressed with a Thomas Cook flight in premium class on A330 LGW-Toronto in. No queue at check in. First aboard as companion in a wheelchair. Nice welcome from crew with a choice of water, oj or sparkling wine. Legroom & seat width seemed fine and seats didn't feel hard. Bottles of water, blankets, pillow, amenity kit, headphones, magazines in place or distributed. Nice hot lunch served after take-off, ice cream served mid-flight. Duty Free service with good prices. Pre-arrival afternoon tea served before landing. Glasgow-based crew worked hard and constantly looking after the passengers, very cheerful and helpful.
Jo Taylor, Nottingham
14 July 2010, 02:13PM
These airlines don't get a bad reputation by accident, there are obviously a great number of disgruntled Thomas Cook passengers wanting to get their voice heard through 'Which'.
9 September 2010, 02:36PM
avoid at all costs
Jane R, Glasgow
24 September 2010, 05:01PM
Worst travel company I have ever flown with. Supposed to fly from Glasgow and was put on a filthy, dirty bus to Manchester due to 'technical difficulties'. No one to tell us where to go or what to do. A complete farce from start to finish! And when you try to complain, their answer is 'contact your insurance company'. NEVER AGAIN!!!!
Garry Walden, Birmingham
11 October 2010, 08:51AM
Flew back yesterday 10-10-2010 from preveza to gatwick. i am 6'4" and literally had to wedge myself into seat. Numerous people complained about the lack of seat room but only response was, 'sorry the flight is full'. So called cheap airline Ryanair provides far more comfort. Thomas cook worse flight i have ever experienced and i cant actually believe it met with leagl requirements.
16 November 2010, 02:04PM
I would never travel with Thmas Cook again, enough said I think!
Richard Buswell, Skelmersdale
19 January 2011, 11:41AM
Booked with Thomas Cook direct last year - holiday was fine, but ordered (and paid for) vegetarian meals both ways for 2 - they didn't show up. After 2 months of getting nowhere with customer service (who didn't recognise their own booking number) - wrote to CEO Ian Derbyshire. His office passed it on to their subcontracter Olympic, who told me the charge was not refundable because it was not for *special meals* but for *meal service* - not actually for meals then. Not best pleased as you can imagine. Take your own butties or book with someone else!
19 July 2011, 01:57PM
I recently returned from a holiday with Thomas Cook and found the whole experience first class. The hotel service and accommodations was of high standard and our flights were stress free.
Sylvia, New Forest
21 July 2011, 12:01PM
It is a complete shame to have to write a bad review, but after using Thomas Cook for my Christmas holiday to Tunisia, itís now confirmed to me that itís the worst holiday company ever. Whatever has happened to this once great company? From the state of the flight staff to the 1 star accommodation that we never booked. NEVER EVER AGAIN EVER not even if they have a share in a travel firm, will I ever travel with them again.
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