Maureen: Compensation over legroom? It's Easter madness...

Maureen: Compensation over legroom? It's Easter madness...

Maureen Hill is a regular columnist for Travel Weekly and works at Wessex World Travel, Gillingham, DorsetYou don’t knee-d that

Easter. The rabbits are hopping playfully and the punters are hopping mad. One of ours, recently returned from Egypt, popped in to warn us that his wife was on the warpath.

“She wants words about the flights to Sharm el-Sheikh,” he said ominously.

“What was wrong with them?” I asked. “Were they delayed?”

“No,” he said. “It was the seats. Too close together.”

“It was a Thomson flight,” I said, “and you were offered the premium seats for more money, weren’t you?”

This remark he chose to ignore, preferring to tell me instead about the ‘bloody big old boy’ sitting behind his wife, whose knees kept digging into the back of her seat.

“The wife had to hold me back else I’d have given him a tuppenny one!”

“A tuppenny one?” I asked.

“Yes. A right good wallop!” he replied. “We had a good time at the hotel, but the wife was worried all the time we were away that the same bloke would be on our flight home and she couldn’t settle down and enjoy herself. So she’s written to Thomson about the lack of leg room and the trauma of not being able to relax. She wants compensation.”

“Compensation?” I repeated.

“Yes. That holiday wasn’t cheap.”

“I don’t think you can hold Thomson responsible for an unknown passenger’s knees but I’d love to hear their response.”

If they do get any cash, I’m the Easter Bunny!

A weighty issue

It seems that other clients have been touched by Easter madness, too. Take the lady who called in to cancel the holiday she was due to depart on within days.

“You do realise you’ll incur full cancellation charges?” my colleague Rick said. “What exactly is the problem?”

“First, I can’t get up that early,” she said, “and second, I’ve just found out that I’d have to carry my own case. Apparently the coach driver doesn’t do it.”

Rick suggested that before she made a hasty decision, he’d check with the coach company. We were all flabbergasted to hear she was right. Due to health and safety issues, the driver had indeed been instructed not to carry any client’s bags.

The client was adamant that, without help, she could not travel and, short of Rick offering to accompany her in the capacity of porter, there was nothing to be done. She cancelled. Easter egg-centric!

Fists could fly

And then we had the perfectly egg-straordinary. I answered a call to a client who greeted me by name and hoped I’d remember her. I didn’t, so I checked on our system and it didn’t remember her either. Hmm.

“I wonder if you can help me?” she asked. “I need to know what a ‘restricted ticket’ is?”

I explained the rules that apply to restricted tickets, which seemed to satisfy her. She then asked what baggage allowance she could have. All rather odd, until she finally came clean and revealed that her daughter was on the net booking flights as we spoke, but didn’t quite understand what she was doing.

I was rather curt as I pointed out that my job as an agent meant that I could book flights on her behalf.

“That’s quite alright,” she replied, “Lucy’s just entering her credit card details now. But it’s nice to know we’ve got such a helpful local agent whom we can call on for advice, and we’ll definitely be in touch again.”

The kind of ‘in touch’ I have in mind involves a clenched fist and a little mild violence. Oh, I know, it’s wrong, wrong, wrong!

In memory of Ema

And finally, a sad note on which to end this week. It was with great regret that I heard of the death of Ema Smith.

Some of you may remember Ema from her days at Emirates and Wings Holidays. Indeed it was her old Wings colleague Deborah Vinton who broke the sad news.

Ema was an attractive, vivacious, friendly and extremely hard-working woman for whom going the extra mile was a matter of course. Unassuming, she never sought the limelight but was held in the highest regard by all who knew her.

The industry has lost a lovely soul and I would like to extend my deepest condolences to her family and friends; it was a privilege to know her.

Maureen Hill works at Travel Angels in Gillingham, Dorset


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