More sex please, we're British

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The Independent Online
LIZ SEARL

Tired of being taken to task by holidaymakers moaning about their packages, travel agents yesterday revealed their own list of the more difficult complaints they have to deal with.

They reacted after a court awarded two British women pounds 3,000 for "trauma" after being pestered by waiters in a Tunisian hotel.

According to the Association of British Travel Agents (Abta) and tour operators, First Choice, some consider a lack of sexual harassment as cause for complaint.

In one of the 100,000 complaints received by Abta over the last 10 years, holidaymakers demanded compensation from First Choice for imposed celibacy. "We remained sexually frustrated for the duration of our holiday because the apartment was too small," they wrote.

Another woman complained that she had conceived on holiday. She demanded the association track down the father - but she only knew his first name and that he came from Bolton.

Some complain when they do not make it as far as the holiday. One woman stated: "I wish to cancel at no extra charge because due to no fault of my own, I have fallen pregnant."

A tactful Abta spokesman sugested that many complaints may be the result of people's "lack of experience of travel". This presumably includes the couple who said that while on holiday they had had to check out of their room every day.

It emerged that a notice on their bedroom door had told them to vacate it by 10.30am, so every day they dutifully packed their suitcases and left them in the lobby.

It would also include the man who wrote to complain that the aircraft he was travelling on "landed four feet from the ground".

According to Keith Betton, the head of corporate affairs at Abta, all complaints are taken seriously. "Holidaymakers have had the facility to sue tour operators under Abta rules since 1990, and [the Tunisian case] does not alter anything."

Some disappointed tourists apparently try harder than others. Like the woman who tried to sue after a holiday in Rome. The brochure had advertised a trip to the Vatican and an address by the Pope.

She had only booked the holiday because she thought she would have a personal chat with the ponitff. Determined to sue, she promptly called the Pope as a witness. Her attempt, together with her claim, was unsuccessful.

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