If other Chelsea fans are experiencing the same problems that I am – there will be naff all Chelsea supporters in Moscow on Wednesday night. As I write, I still have received no written details from Thomas Cook about my trip to Moscow, which leaves in less than 24 hours. This in spite of their emailed note of a couple of weeks ago claiming that “travel itineraries and accommodation vouchers will be sent out 3-5 days prior to the trip”. What rubbish! All I have in my possession is an email telling me to standby for details.
Chelsea Football Club has delegated all responsibility for the trip to Thomas Cook and their agents. Thomas Cook have shown blatant disregard for Chelsea fans’ personal circumstances and – in fact – their lives. I personally have business work to do and family life to organise, yet in spite of this I am expected to standby – not knowing what is going to happen to me over the next four days. How am I expected to run my life?
Thomas Cook and their agents have charged truly exorbitant rates for what is effectively a simple 4 hour plane trip plus hotel stay. Yet in spite of this, they have signally failed to step up to the mark, and been unable to cope with the logistics required to handle such a large task. I wonder, did they assign any extra staff out of this vast sum to deal with the extra work? Have they worked any overtime to get the job done? Even though it was within the final 3 days, did they work over the weekend just gone to get the paperwork out? Have they kept in contact with their customers throughout this sorry process? No is the probable answer to all questions – in spite of the fact they banked our money many days ago.
Over the last couple of weeks I have had to telephone Cooks four times to try and get information and progress about each stage. Each time I have had to wait on a call centre line for at least 15 minutes. Their service has been nothing less than appalling. It has even been incorrect, as they told me erroneously that the Club had to confirm my eligibility, causing an unnecessary exchange emails. Did they assign a special helpline for the extra thousands going on this trip? No. For the huge amount of money they are taking, did they assign any extra staff to deal with our queries? I doubt it. Has there been any apology for their incompetence and delay, or any explanation for their behaviour. Definitely not. What have they been doing?
After a weekend devoid of news, information or contact, with some concern I yet again telephoned Thomas Cook at 9am this morning. Am I actually going?? I don’t actually know. This time the wait was 30 minutes – “because of the POPULARITY of their sports trips” said the recorded message!!! Their incompetence they mean. I expect I was one of thousands jamming the line. When eventually a terrified young voice replied, I was told that an email would go out “later today”. LATER TODAY!
That will be around 12 hours before travelling. Only after I insisted on some verbal information was I told that I have to get myself to the airport by 05.30 tomorrow morning. WELL THANKS! That’s easy with absolutely no notice. Who do these people think they are dealing with?? For the privilege of shelling out £1600 for a 3 day trip I have half a day’s notice that I have to leave home at 4.30 tomorrow morning.
As I write I have been given no meeting arrangements. No flight numbers. No firm return times. No arrival details. No customer service. No care. No concern. No apology. And no guarantee that things will be all right. These people are clearly incompetent and greedy profiteerers who do not deserve the club’s business.
The next time Chelsea offer away trips I will be checking to see if Thomas Cook have been given the contract. If so, you can count me out – and all my friends.