Small holiday firms offer best deals
Friday 03 January 1997
People are more happy with their holidays if they book through small specialist tour operators, while some of the largest names are among the worst in delivering customer satisfaction.
According to a survey of 11,500 Consumers' Association members for Holiday Which? the high street giants Airtours, First Choice and Inspirations came bottom of more than 50 tour operators.
The small independents Swiss Travel Service and VFB Holidays were the most popular. Value for money was not only about cost, said holidaymakers. They rated some top names, who tend to be cheaper, lower down the league.
Thomson, which owns the companies through which 60 per cent of all package holidays are booked, beat its two main rivals for customer satisfaction. About 48 per cent of its customers would recommend the company, compared to 28 per cent for First Choice and 25 per cent for Airtours.
Accommodation was often a source of dissatisfaction: one in 14 readers thought standards could have been better. And while three-quarters who travelled with Swiss Travel Service, P&O Cruises, Style and Hayes & Jarvis were satisfied, less than half were satisfied with Airtours, First Choice, Sunworld, Cosmos and Skytours.
The survey also found that one in seven people were unhappy with their holiday representative, and in the worst cases the figure rose to one in five. One in 25 felt they had been misled by brochures.
For long-haul travel, Virgin Holidays remains the favourite, followed by Travelsphere, Titan HiTours and Kuoni. Airtours, Unijet, First Choice and Thomson trailed.
Patricia Yates, editor of Holiday Which?, said: "These results show again that your choice of tour operator is just as crucial as your choice of resort and you are more likely to get a holiday that matches your expectations if you stick to an independent tour operator.''
But Airtours accused Holiday Which? of "applying pop science to holidays". It argued that the people that responded to the survey represented 0.03 per cent of holidaymakers who choose to travel with the company.
n Despite tragedies such as the Lockerbie bombing, many countries have not introduced legislation requiring screening of all hold baggage on international flights, said Holiday Which? About 8,000 unaccompanied bags find their way onto international flights every year.
The UK, however, is leading the way in airport technology. Ten of the world's 25 CTX5000 screening machines, used to detect plastic explosives, are installed in Manchester Airport.
Apple has been hit by complaints about the 1.1GB download
Liam Neeson's Downton dreams
Thriller is set in the secret world of British espionage
Bomber jacket worn by Mary Berry sells out within an hour
Much-loved cartoon character returns - without Sir David Jason
Actress to appear in second series of the hugely popular crime drama
Matt Smith is set to join cast of the Jane Austen classic - with a twist
- 2 Scottish independence: Five reasons Salmond is secretly hoping for a 'No' vote
- 3 Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
- 4 Scottish independence: Andy Murray backs Yes campaign in eleventh hour decision
- 5 Have you heard about the film Singapore has banned its people from watching? Well, you have now
Thailand beach murders: Thai PM suggests 'attractive' female tourists cannot expect to be safe wearing bikinis
Scottish independence referendum live: Latest news as Scotland votes Yes or No
Scottish independence: Final opinion polls show undecided voters could swing result either way
Scottish independence: Almost half of No voters have felt 'personally threatened' by the Yes campaign
Isis plan to 'behead random member of the public' in Sydney thwarted by Australian police
Daniele Watts: Django Unchained actress detained by Los Angeles police after being mistaken for a prostitute
The political class is doing what Hitler couldn’t – destroying Britain
Scottish independence referendum: A nation divided against itself
Scottish independence: Nationalist leader Jim Sillars threatens pro-union companies with 'day of reckoning' after independence
Scottish independence: David Cameron is becoming the 'George Bush of Britain'
Russia freezes Ukraine into submission: Kiev admits country doesn't have enough fuel for winter
Negotiable: Randstad Education Crawley: Randstad Education can provide you wit...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: Randstad Education is currently ...
£25000 per annum + 25 days holiday: Ashdown Group: *** HR Advisor - HR Office...
Competitive Salary: Randstad Education Group: TEACHER OF ENGLISH NEEDED for lo...