Thursday, 17 April 2014

How to turn that frown upside down

I always read the complaints section of “Which” and the Sunday papers.  Most of the time they obtain a positive result from the travel company /bank/insurance company/electricity supplier/ etc that has failed to rectify a problem. No doubt the threat of publicity sometimes does the trick but at least the publicity warns the unwary or the less dogged when it comes to complaining. 

Sometimes you don’t really need to do very much and that is when the frown becomes a smile.

I wrote earlier about our recent trip on the Hurtigruten ferry along the Norwegian coast into the Arctic Circle.  Despite just a brief glimpse of the Northern Lights we had a fabulous trip.  But it didn’t start so well.......

Number One Husband and I are notorious for being exceptionally early for everything. Miss a plane or train – doesn’t happen to us.

We arrived at Gatwick Airport for our flight to Bergen long before we needed to – lots of time to have a leisurely breakfast – and as we walk to the empty check-in desk I am composing an amusing text to our children about being so early that no one else was there.  We were somewhat stunned to find that the flight had just closed – at 8.15.  Our paperwork said 10.40.  We were shown to an information desk where we found another couple with the same problem.  Over the course of the next hour sixteen of us assembled (known from then on as the Gatwick Sixteen). They contacted Hurtigruten who agreed that they had given us the wrong paperwork.  These were their actions:

-        Immediately £20 in cash each to get some breakfast
-        return at 1100 to be transferred by coach to Heathrow
-        rebooked on a flight at 2000 (OK not my most fun day)
-        coach waiting to take us to the ship (we were promised they would not   sail without us)
-        dining room kept open so we could have a meal
-        a bottle of wine in the cabin (value about £36)
-        a letter of explanation and apology with a cheque for £100 each this week (not just a credit for a future trip which some travel companies do).

Apart from a hassle at the start and although it was not how we were planning to spend the first afternoon of our holiday it was dealt with efficiently, politely and blame accepted right from the start.

I recommend them.

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