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Airtours employed me the summer of 2002! My role was as an entertainer, I set of in April and was all set to spend 7 glorious months in sunny Tenerife.
I found the job advertised in the stage paper and decided to go for it, I sent off for an application form and filled it in as soon as possible and sent it back. I then got invite to an audition, which took place in a hotel in London. For the audition I had to prepare a 3min audition piece, which could be anything as long as it was suitable for a family audience.
I decided to sing for my audition piece, but all the pieces were varied, some sang, danced, comedy routines. Then audition day was very well organised, there were around 20 people at my audition day, and we spent most of time completing tasks in small groups, taking part in role-play. The afternoon was spent taking it in turns to do our audition pieces; we each auditioned in front of the other. Lastly we all had a 30min interview.
I came away from the audition feeling pleased and very excited about the prospect of working for the company.
THE TRAINING COURSE:
The next day I got a call telling me that I had been successful and I was invited to take part in the training course, the course was to last a week and would be held in Preston, near Blackpool. The training course would determine our placement.
For the training course we and to bring backing tracks, costumes etc.. I was all set and ready to go. The training course as the audition day was very well structured and well thought out. We were staying at a holiday park for the week and were placed in accommodation sharing with 5 or 6 other people. The week consisted of listening and learning, we learnt about the company as a whole, and about the job. We learnt all the duties we would be expected to run while in resort. These ranged from water polo to childrenís mini disco.
At around 5pm everyday they would split us into groups and give us the task of only having 3 hours to plan and perform a whole evenings entertainment. Each night we were given a different theme for example Seventies Night, Top of the Pops and Las Vegas.
This was great fun but hard work, running around finding costumes and putting the show together in less than 3 hours, people quickly choreographing routines and singing in duets.
The whole time we were being accessed, not just on our performance but on our participation in the creation of the piece, how well we worked together.
At the end of the week we were all called in one by one to be told if we had been successful or not. This was a very emotional moment for me and the others on the course, we had all bonded very well and people were coming out with all sorts of results, some were coming crying saying that they hadnít got in and others were screaming with joy that they where off to Gran Can in 3 days.
I went in and was told that I was going to Tenerife for 7 months; I was due to leave in 2 weeks. I was very excited; I came out of the room and was thrilled to find out that my housemate Jane had also been placed in Tenerife as well! Along with two others from the course called James and Astra. We were all very excited!
FLIGHT TO TENERIFE:
Unfortunately no matter were you live in the country you are only flown out from Manchester Airport, as that is the main base for Airtours. It is also more convenient for them as you need to collect your uniform before you fly. This is were the madness begins, I lived in Brighton so had to get the train to Manchester the night before my flight, I got a Virgin train that went direct, I was thankful for this I had two suitcases and a hand bag! (I was going for 7 months) I got to Manchester with only 15 mins to collect my uniform before it shut, a mad dash in taxi and I was there just in the nick of time. I was then booked into an airport at the hotel (Paid for by airtours). There I was lucky enough to meet up with Astra the girl I was going to be working with, we both tried to came each others nerves and arranged to meet in the morning before the flight. James also met us at the airport so we all set off together. The flight was only 4 hours; I was of course a bag of nerves the whole flight!
THE ROLE OF AN ENTERTAINER:
Here I go with a brief job description of an entertainer:
To create and implement a day and evening entertainments schedule for both adults and children. Running activities including the following: Water polo, Aqua Aerobics, Quiz Time, Pool, Darts, Fun Races, Rounders, Football, volley Ball, French bowels, Face Painting, Balloon modelling. Evening events included the following: Mini disco, Kids Games, Bingo, Quiz Time, Game Shows, comparing and cabarets.
Also we had to help the reps in Welcome meetings, promote and sell excursions and airtours merchandise. Try and help solve customer problems and complaints if reps were unavailable. Liaise with the hotel management with regards to budget and materials for shows.
OUT IN RESORT:
I have to say was very impressed with the audition and training programme that I had attended. I had high hopes for airtours as a company and have to say I was very unimpressed with what presented me out in Tenerife! We were a small team of only 7 Entertainers for 3 hotels, our hours varied from hotel to hotel. In the end I was working 10 hours a day, 6 days a week and for two months I went with out a day off at all.
We were always short staffed due to a large turn over and you were never allowed to go sick. I was unfortunate enough to become very ill while I was in resort, I got a skin disease called Infertiago, it is highly contagious and I was not allowed to work at all. But Airtours had other ideas, I was taken off daytime duties but I still had to work, they got me doing admin work for them instead. I still had to perform in the evening. As a result of this I never fully recovered and I have very bad scaring today.
Our shows (The part you most look forward to as an entertainer) were awful we had no time to rehearse at all and our team leader had no money to buy costumes etc.
We were getting paid by a monthly salary of £615 a month, we did not get any extra if we worked more hours than expected of us.
We were supposed to get free accommodation and food as well, food is free at the hotel managerís discretion, which basically means no food. The accommodation we were given was very basic and our cooker did not work so we could not cook at home at all. Also we were living in a Spanish apartment block and the water kept cutting out so sometimes we had no water. Despite our many complaints the resort management did nothing to sort this out.
BENEFITS TO WORKING AS AN ENTERTAINER:
Fun Job. Great to meet nice families. Fun life style, party, party, party. Cheap drinks at a rep discount. Get discounts on excursions. Itís a real confidence boast. Lots of mates, all young people on resort. Sun, sea and the other!
DOWN POINTS TO THE JOB:
Paid very little. No time off. Always short staff, large staff turnover. Work long hours with not much thanks. Sales obsessed, takes the fun out of the job!
LEFT WITH A BAD TASTE:
I worked very hard all season and never complained, I was the only original member of the entís team to make through the whole season, so I was over the moon when I was rewarded for my efforts by winning the award for entertainer of the season. My prize was £100. But my happiness was short lived when I found out they wanted me to stay for another month, I couldnít stay as I had flight booked for a well-deserved holiday and they knew that. According to my contract Airtours are to supply you with a flight home at the end of your season, however because they didnít want me to go they refused to book me a flight. I was outraged, how dare they try and keep their, they had no right! I did not know what to do, I was angry and upset, so I packed up my bags two days before I was due to leave to get myself a flight home. When I reached the airport you can imagine my horror when I found that my manager had been around and told all the Airtours and my travel airlines that I was not allowed a flight because ďI did not have permission to leave the islandĒ. In the end I flew with another company and after a nine-hour wait I got the last flight out of Tenerife that night. It cost me 200 Euros to get home.
Once I was home I wrote a long letter complaint to Airtours and youíll be pleased to hear that I got my money back for my flight and after much debate also got my reward money. I also told them I no longer wanted to work for the company.
It is a great job if you just want some summer fun! It is not well paid and bare in mind itís bloody hard work. It is not a career you can progress in through the company, if you work as an entertainer the highest you can evolve to is a Team Leader and they only get paid £50 more a month to take on a lot of stress and paper work.
OTHER JOBS WITHIN THE COMPANY:
Holiday Rep: Holidays reps collect and take customers to and from the airport, book them into their hotels and sell them excursions, They are also their to solve all problems and deal with complaints. As a rep you also get to work long hours and get paid even worse money, you do work on commission though, so you may find yourself turning into a selling monster if you leave it too long!!
Childrenís Rep: To run childrenís activities in the daytime and help with repping duties in the evening, airport runs and excursions. Your payment is roughly in the middle of an entertainer and a rep.
Escapades Rep: Airtours version of 18-30, you need to be mad and crazy, your job role is pretty similar to that of a rep however you do run a lot more excursions.
Airtours itself is now part of the My Travel umbrella including companies such as Direct holidays, Panorama and Going Places.
To check out other job opportunities check out this website: www.mytravelcareers.com
Very interesting but shame about the way you were treated.
eve6kicksass 30.05.2004 12:07
Well, glad you got paid back for everything, though it was still wrong for them to not live up to their promise...glad you had fun while it lasted though,,,i dont think I would be able to handle it...even though handling Secret/classified info sounds harder, it really isnt'...loved reading this!!! Chris xxx
CherryBlossom 12.05.2004 00:55
If I'd been considering anything like this, your review would've been incredibly helpful. Very detailed and offering both the good and bad points. I'm not sure it's something I'd want to do, too much like slave labour if you ask me but I can understand why young people would enjoy a season of it. ~Sharon