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.
- 1 BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
- 2 18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
- 3 US? China? India? The 10 biggest economies in 2030 will be...
- 4 'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
- 5 Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
General Election 2015: David Cameron catching up in polls – but he badly needs a clear lead
South Africa xenophobic attacks: Shops looted and violence on streets of Johannesburg as foreigners are forced to hide in police stations
18th century sex toy found in 'toilet of sword fighting school' in Poland
'I wish my teacher knew...': Young students share their 'heartbreaking' worries in notes
Rebecca Francis accuses Ricky Gervais of using 'influence' to target female hunters after receiving barrage of death threats
The only black face in the Ukip manifesto is on the page about overseas aid
If I’m being racially abused I don’t need a stranger with a saviour complex to rescue me
Ukip is the only main political party to not address LGBT rights in its manifesto
BBC election debate: The one photo that summed up the whole 90-minute leaders debate
Religion isn't growing, it is becoming vigorous in its demise, says philosopher AC Grayling
Food banks: One million Britons will soon be using them, according to Trussell Trust
£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...
£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...
£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...
£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...