Maureen: Flybe staff vs Colin Heal? No contest

Maureen: Flybe staff vs Colin Heal? No contest

Travel Weekly columnist Maureen HillColin Heal, TTA Worldchoice  chairman, popped in to wish us luck with our new office in Gillingham. This was a particularly kind gesture as we are part of Advantage, but just goes to show what a gracious and magnanimous man he is.

As ever, Colin had a tale to tell. His role as chairman had recently taken him to Ireland and he’d checked in for his Flybe flight back to Southampton, tired and ready for home. You can imagine his frustration then, when he was told by check-in staff that the flight had been cancelled.

I’d hazard a guess those check-in staff don’t often come up against types like Colin. He demanded to know where they were going to put him up for the night, only to be met by blank faces and silence. Eventually, he was told Flybe would not be paying for a hotel. Colin drew breath and repeated verbatim the obligations to which the airline had to adhere under EU rules.

It did the trick and, hotel agreed, Colin rebooked for the following day, this time requesting that he be booked onto the flight to Exeter in the unlikely event that the flight was cancelled again.

Of course, the flight was cancelled and he was glad he’d made a plan B. Along with other disgruntled passengers he boarded the flight for Exeter.

An air of frustration hung over the flight. How were they to get to cars parked in Southampton once they had landed in Exeter? Would the airline provide a coach? The answer: no.

Colin located the number of a local coach company who had a vehicle available and negotiated a £20 deal for himself and other passengers with cars stranded in Hampshire. Problem solved.

Colin confesses that he did smile inwardly when one chap, congratulating him on his trouble-shooting, said: “You did really well sorting this out, you should be in the travel industry”.

Surfing of a different kind

A friend of mine asked my opinion of ‘couch surfing’ and whether I thought it a safe practice for her undergraduate daughter.

“Shouldn’t you be asking that woman that does the sex education programme on Channel 4?” I said.

Turns out couch surfing is a travel-based social networking thing. You plan your trips around other users’ couches (or spare rooms) where you stay, cost free, for a couple of nights before moving on to the next one. They have members in 246 countries and 2.7 million users.

Am I too old to take up surfing?


This is a community-moderated forum.
All post are the individual views of the respective commenter and are not the expressed views of Travel Weekly.
By posting your comments you agree to accept our Terms & Conditions.

More in Advice