This was originally written in October of 2001 and re-written in Nov 2002.
If you read the papers or watch the news you might have seen that Airtours Holidays have somewhat of a financial problem at the moment and are shedding jobs left, right and centre.
You may wonder why, when they supply such good quality, bargain package tours. Well these are my experience of Airtours in the past few years.
I hate Airtours, especially after this last holiday. I have been with Airtours three times now and they have buggered up my holiday three times.
Let me start with the first holiday we had with them. We went to Costa Del Sol in the south of Spain, to a little place called Puerto Banus. A lovely little town, about 40 miles west of Malaga. The problem here was the flight. The flight to the resort was late. 5 hours late and the flight home was also 5 hours late. Okay, so this isn´t so bad but it kind of put a dampener on what otherwise was a brilliant holiday.
The second time we went with Airtours was over the Christmas period 2001. We went to Roqetus del Mar, Costa Almeria. Once again in Spain. The problem again, was with the flight. We arrived at the airport at 4 am as our flight was at 6:20am and booked in. I asked, “Is there any flight delay?” I was informed there would be a delay of 20 minutes. Fine, I thought, no problem.
Oh! How wrong was I to think that? At 1pm we where still sat in the departure lounge. We had not been told what was going on and we had been hearded to the gates and back to the departure lounge twice. We had been given no explanation as all the information we where given was via the tannoy system. Not once did any member of the Airtours staff appear to explain anything.
Now, when we did get to see the Airtours rep, at 2pm, she informed us that there had been a problem with not being able to get a plane to the gate. I know this was untrue as I saw my bags going on to the plane at the gate we got on the plane at, this was at 5 am. So, what was the real cause, I still don´t know to this day.
What also surprised me about this holiday was that once we arrived that the “Welcome meeting” we where the only couple under tha age of 60 and the rep in charge said the magic words “Welcome to you Golden tours holiday” He then asked us if we had the right room as we looked completely out of place. Nevermind even though we spent Christamas and New Year with about 60 old people we had a fantasic time. Who ever said old folk dont know how to have a good time is soooo wrong!
Luckily for the plane fiasco I had good travel insurance (I would never recommend you use the travel companies insurance as it leans heavily towards the travel company and not you! – I speak from past experience), this meant that I got compensation for the first day I lost of my holiday. We should have arrived at the airport at 9:30am instead we got there at 5:30pm. So we effectively lost a days holiday.
However, the third holiday with Airtours was a complete and utter disaster. From the moment we left Manchester airport to the moment we arrived back in Manchester.
First off let me say that I did not know that I had booked an Airtours holiday until I actually arrived in Gerona airport and we where met by an Airtours rep. All of our tickets said Aspro, our receipt and booking details said Aspro. The only thing that said Airtours was the flight details. Flying to Gerona flight AIHxxx via Airtours International.
You can imagine my horror when I found this out.
Anyway, we arrived at the resort of Fenals which is a small bay right next to Lloret del mar, or as my wife called it Toilet del mar.
The Airtours rep got us off the coach pointed us at reception and then departed. Very convenient. We checked in and went to our room, which didn´t take long, as it was right next to the lift. We went into the room and it was clean, so no problem there. We retired for the evening, and where woken shortly after as the lift was used for the first time. At 4am, then 4:28am, 4:40am, etc you get the picture I am sure. Then to cap it all at 8:30am when everybody starts to go and get breakfast we can hear the footsteps on the stairs as there only about 4 inches from our heads.
We decided to go and get breakfast and went down to the food hall. Now I class myself as a bit of a food expert as I eat quite a lot and a full English is my favourite. Full English was on the self-service menu but I would never in a million years call it that. Have you ever seen bacon with more fat on it than bacon. Me neither, up until this moment. The rest of the breakfast was much the same. I now know why the food hall was nearly empty in the morning. The bar next door to the hotel did a roaring trade for breakfasts I can tell you. There was a queue to get in most mornings!
Next we decided its time to complain to the Airtours rep about our room, having had little or no sleep we where both a bit irritable.
We asked the Airtours rep if it was possible to move rooms and the best she could offer us was another room on another floor in the same location. “What´s the point of that then?” I asked. She didn´t reply. Here attitude and comments where “I have offered you another room you can take it or leave it as the hotel is full” My wife then went on a full out offensive as the reps attitude was pretty bad. She still refused to find us another room even though we shouted at her for over 15 minutes. The male Airtours rep commented that this was one of their better resorts and the food and quality of this hotel was excellent. I had to ask him how many hotels he´d stayed in. “3..” How can you make a comment like that after staying in only 3 hotels. I have travelled lots in my short little life and I have stayed in better and worse hotels, but not much worse.
Apparently, if they offer you another room and you refuse it they are not at liberty to offer you another one.
As you can imagine we where both livid as we had specifically asked for a quiet room when we booked the holiday in February. Apparently this is just a request and the Holiday Company has no obligation to meet these requests. So why do they offer them then??
So we went left the hotel and went to find another one. We found a better hotel with the same facilities but full of older couples rather than families only 200 metres down the road. We even got a room with a sea view, we had a room with a sea view at the Airtours hotel, but you couldn´t see the sea unless you stood on top of the balcony railings and leaned outwards. So we stayed in this other hotel the whole holiday. It was a much better hotel, with loads better food and most important it was quiet.
I don´t know about you but I go on holiday to relax and always choose a quiet hotel, which is why we chose this one from Aspro as the brochure said it was a quiet hotel, in a peaceful location which would ideally suit the retired, elderly or couples as we cater mostly for Adults. Ideal for me, and my wife. We both prefer a quieter hotel.
I am not saying I think family hotels are bad but I have no kids or my own and this is a decision me and my wife have made, therefore I don´t want to have to put up with the children of others for the duration of my holiday, because the parents cant be arsed themselves. After all we all go on holiday to relax. I have seen parents leave there children alone whilst they go off to the local pub. This leaves their little brats to run riot, as there is no disciplinary figure around to look after them. Whilst in Benidorm last year I heard a parent say “You stay here as me and your mum are going shopping, if you have a problem go and see the lifeguard” How irresponsible. Plus it´s not the lifeguard´s job to be wet nursing other people little B*statrd´s, They´re your kids, your responsibility, you look after them. If anything had gone wrong the parents definitely wouldn´t be blaming themselves either, more likely the hotel!. (Please note: I was being polite here, this is not the sentence I originally wrote down!).
Anyway. We enjoyed our holiday at the non-Airtours hotel and are awaiting pickup for return to the airport. We arrived early, About 9pm for pick up at 11:20pm. We sat near the door so we could see the coach arrive or hear the rep shouting for us.
At 11:30pm I am starting to panic a bit as the coach hasn´t shown up. At 11:50pm I am really panicking but I ask the rep on the next coach along “Where is the coach for Manchester?” “Oh! Its was late leaving the last hotel it will be here soon” The next coach arrives. No, sorry this coach is for Bristol the Manchester coach was late leaving the last hotel, it will be along soon ”The truth is the coach has already gone.
I did try to phone the Airtours 24 hour information line at this time, but having tried from my mobile and not getting even a ringing tone I tried from the hotel phone and got the same thing. No ringing. What a useful help line!
Now, we have to get a taxi to the airport. £24 down the toilet.
Now on arrival at the airport, I approach the rep responsible for the areas our hotel was in, explain the situation and he goes off to ask the rep in charge of our coach.
Me: “Where was the coach”
Rep: “Well sir, she says the coach did arrive on time and she did shout your names”
Me: “If you shouted our names why didn´t we hear her. We where right by the door?”
Rep: “Well she says she did shout you but you didn´t respond”
Me: getting a bit mad now “Nobody shouted us, as the tickets where in my wives maiden name of Tauchi, a very unusual surname and I am damn sure we would have heard it”
Rep: “Well we always shout people if they aren´t waiting for the coach”
This conversation lasted for over 20 minutes and they wrote out a complains form out but I bet I never hear anything back. During this time I am approached by a number of fellow traveller who were on the coach who backed me up that we where not shouted by the rep. This was wrote in the report by the Airtours rep.
Note: I never did hear anything back even though I complained 3 times to Airtours directly and rang them on more than a few occasions and wrote several times. They didn´t even have the common Courtesy to ring me back! How´s that for P**s POOR service.
Basically, is was the Reps word against mine. Now I have nothing to loose by lying, so I didn´t. What would she have to loose? Hmmm! Her job, maybe.
I am completely and utterly unimpressed with the levels of service and responsibility of the reps at his resort and with Airtours in general. They say in their brochure they pride themselves on the quality of their holidays, but having pride in something as bad as this isn´t worth having pride in.
I will never, ever, ever book another Airtours holiday. The holidays offered by this company maybe cheap but they are definitely not cheerful.
Also i´ll be making sure when I book my holiday that the company has nothing to do with Airtours, such as Aspro Holidays. When we booked our last holiday, I asked the travel agent “ Its not Airtours is it?”
After a quick check I was informed that it wasn´t, but it bloody well was… !
To sum up, if you want a stress free holiday then look elsewhere as with Airtours you´d be better off flushing your money down the toilet and staying at home.
Think carefully before you part with your cash, you might just be departing for a nightmare.