Wow where do I start? I will hopefully keep this quite brief and get to the point. In a nutshell I have had an awful experience with Thomas Cook today.
We booked to go to turkey last year when there was no trouble going on. We have been so excited about the holiday up until the recent goings on over there. I know the destination that we should be staying at is nowhere near Istanbul however there is still a high risk of a terrorist attack in tourist areas. After looking on the Gov website it says a an attack in tourist areas is highly likely.
I called up Thomas Cook who very kindly agreed to let us swap our holiday to another destination for a price of just the admin fee and anything extra for another hotel. They said go away look at where we want to go to and call back up to confirm and change over.
We are looking at going away peak season with less than 12 weeks till travel and it there isn’t much left to choose from. We found a nice hotel in Cyprus flying out a bit later than our original date on the 31st Aug and returning on the 14th September. The flight was a later flight so we land back into Manchester on the 15th at 0035.
This is now where we run into a LOT of problems, lies and a lot of stress for me.
I will put this in as simple terms as possible as it gets complicated. My son is 2 on the 15th September (very relevant)
Thomas Cook has advised me that because WE LAND BACK IN THE UK on the 15th September I have to pay full price for a seat for him. Even though on the flight out to our new destination and the departure back he can’t use the seat because he isn’t 2. He can however use the seat for the last 35 minutes of the flight because he will be 2. Well technically he wont because he wasn’t born until 0900 on the morning of the 15th Sep.
So after speaking to a manager who said in the T&Cs it states child’s ages on RETURN DATE BACK TO THE UK, he said he would see what he could do and call me back.
He then what looks like to me didn’t have the balls to call me himself and got another lady to call me. She advised me they had checked and the T&Cs do state Child’s age on return date back into the UK. Although on the website when booking it just says return date. (see picture below) I said… that’s fine please send me through the terms and conditions and just highlight where exactly it says that and then I shall drop it.
After being put on hold for another 10 minutes the lady came back and said she has spoken to her manager, to which I politely stopped her and said…All I would like to see if the T&Cs please. She was trying to skirt around the issue of sending me the T&Cs and I instantly clicked that there was a problem with me seeing these. She then admitted to me she had seen the terms and conditions and IT DIDN’T SAY CHILDS AGE ON RETURN BACK INTO THE UK (oh what a bloody surprise) She admitted that it just said Childs age on Return date. I started to realise we were getting somewhere, so when I asked what the return date was and she said the 14th Sep and she then agreed with me that my son was only 1 on the 14th I thought I would be able to go ahead and book, nope they still kept giving me fob off stories to try to get out of booking us onto this flight and holiday with my son going as an under 2 year old.
THIS picture clearly shows when booking it asks for child’s ages on RETURN DATE
This picture clearly shows our return date is the 14th September. It says return right next to it, yeah??? That’s not the 15th its the 14th!!
This is a picture of the T&Cs that Thomas Cook have sent me… Clearly says infants under 2 on the day of RETURN. Nothing about day you land back into the UK. DAY OF RETURN
NEXT BIT IS REALLY IMPORTANT… Speaking to EasyJet direct…
This is a Thomas Cook holiday but with an Easyjet flight. So I called up Easyjet and said… I am just looking to book a flight with you. Our return date is 14th Sep landing on the 15Th at 0035. My son is 2 on the 15th Sep so do I need to put him down as a 2 year old or under 2? The lady advised me and the call is recorded from my end, he HAS to go down as under 2 because the return is the 14th and he will be under 2. So it seems not only are Thomas Cook trying to break their own Terms they are also trying to break Easyjet terms as well??
About the Hotel…
I was advised that the room we wanted to book wouldn’t be available because it could only take only a max of 3 full paying guests and 1 infant in a cot. Once my son is 2 he is classed as a full paying guest so they say he needs a bed. We want to book a swim up room with a double bed, single bed and then have a cot. This is fine if Thomas Cook book him as being under 2. If they book him as being 2 then we are unable to have this room because he is classed as needing a bed. For the whole holiday though he will be 1 years old so why can’t we have this room?
A holiday is supposed to be a relaxing time, I feel totally let down by Thomas Cook that I would be quite happy to have a full refund and never book with them again. Since writing this post I have been inundated with tweets and message from people with major problems with Thomas Cook. I am yet to speak to someone with a positive experience on Twitter, Facebook or through my blog. My blog is a place for me to write about our family and it shouldn’t have to be a place for me to have to do posts like this.
So since writing this earlier I was extremely busy. I then call Thomas Cook back tonight. I was on hold for 59 minutes, the phone then rang and surprise surprise I got cut off. I then called back only to hear a message saying that because the lines closed in half hour and there were lots of customers in the queue they were no longer adding calls to the queue and to call back tomorrow. Below is the last picture I took of the time I had been on hold for.
My absolutely joy and relief of being told we could swap our holiday due to the problems in Turkey has turned to despair and stress and upset. I have cried today in front of my children, my eldest asking me why are you crying Mummy, that’s not right! We do not want to change our holiday through any fault of our own, we want to swap so we know we are taking our babies on holiday to a safer place. I say safer because I actually believe no where is safe at the moment, but the are safer places to choose from.
The hotel we had booked was 5* AI and all inclusive to us is very important with the kids. We were offered a 5* HB however HB isn’t an option I don’t want to be worrying about getting food etc for the kids. I like to know we will have breakfast, lunch and dinner with snacks and drinks in-between for the kids. We were then offered a 3* AI, which still isn’t what we want not being snobby but we booked 5* because we want a 5* holiday not a 3* holiday. Apart from that we were offered Mexico and Dominican republic which are both too far to travel with a child that does not have a seat of their own. The holiday we were offered were for earlier dates hence not having the age issues.
So I would be really interested to hear what Thomas Cook have to say. I would be interested to see how they try to talk their way out of their T&Cs and I would be even more interested in what they have to say about Easyjet T&Cs which states he is only 1 on the return date.
UPDATE: Thomas Cook have agreed to look at their T&Cs as they agreed that they are not black and white enough. My son has been put through as a child but we only paid infant price, I am so glad I stuck to my guns and fought my corner. I didn’t back down as I totally believe that I was in the right and that Thomas Cook not be more clear in the terms. So whilst we are now sorted I have no idea if someone else in this same situation would do. I assume it really isn’t something that occurs all the time, however this needs to be addressed as it could cause someone else the same problem as we have had.