Tour Operators blown off course by Wilma
Almost two months on from Hurricane Wilma, it’s interesting to reflect on the experiences of some of the estimated 8,500 British tourists who had booked their holiday with a tour operator and who were in and around Cancún at the time Wilma struck.
The Times (London) has published a selection of their emails and subsequent attempts to get adequate refunds. The messages suggest that some of the big names in travel need to face up to some unpalatable truths: Will I get a refund because of Wilma?
For example, Dianne Taylor (Lincoln, UK) wrote "we will never use Thomas Cook again. The hurricane was a natural disaster but our holiday was ruined by Thomas Cook’s handling of the situation."
William Metcalfe lays into another giant, Thomson: "They knew about the hurricane the day they flew us out but still took us. Even 12 hours before it hit Cancun they didn’t evacuate us. I will never travel with Thomson again."
The newspaper even published William Metcalfe’s holiday diary, featuring "seven extraordinary days involving barricaded rooms, prison escapees and a broken down bus."
The Times’ own Mark Frary reminds consumers of their rights, which seem a little limited in the face of a natural disaster…and there are a few defensive responses from the tour companies themselves.