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Holidays! Don’t we love them, a time for rest and recreation, something to look forward to, and more importantly if you work – a time to be away from all the stress of daily life.
We get the usual holiday brochure (I hate to think how many trees are used on brochures!) and we browse through them picking out places or hotels that appeal. Then my husband draws up a list of suitable choices and we check flights from Scotland for availability and time etc. Remembering to add on the awful flight supplements, to the total cost. I must not get on my hobby horse about the supplements at this point!
Back in March this year we did all our searching and came up with Sardinia. A place neither of us had been to and there was even a flight from Edinburgh, so avoiding the need to leave the car in a car park at Glasgow. I booked through a firm which gives discounts to NHS staff, we ordered books and maps on Sardinia and we sat back and relaxed. Well to be truthful we took a holiday! Those of you who read my last Diamond will know we went to our timeshare in Malta.
My husband after 18months of worrying about being made redundant was kept on, and as nearly everyone else had left by then his workload is huge, so he was working on a Sunday morning at the beginning of May, when a colleague came in and said he had heard an airline, who they were doing landing gear for had gone bankrupt. Panic, he knew that was who we were travelling with, although it hadn’t said in the brochure, he had checked the details.
I then swanned off to relax at Stobo Castle (and that’s another review!) and be pampered, not really worrying, but the firm we booked with were on the ball and telephoned with information. In the end the holiday had to be cancelled as no other airline could take over at short notice, an alternative was offered, but as there was only one seat left on the plane from Manchester at this point we declined! Incidentally we are still waiting for the refund of our deposit! That could be another story!
Back to the brochures etc, etc. but we could not decide. Eventually we discovered a Getaway break through our timeshare company to Sardinia but we needed flights and that is how we came to use Lastminute.com. Hope you’re still with me, you might have thought the story so far was complicated but it gets worse!
We searched for flights, and came up with different options. There was many a night when I couldn’t get on Ciao as possible flights were examined, for goodness sake we only needed two seats in September to Sardinia, was it really this difficult. Amazingly enough there are 3 airports there so we wanted the closest but because we live in Scotland it made things difficult. Flights were available from London but it meant flying down and staying overnight, making it very expensive. We then found Lastminute.com which doesn’t only deal with flights, in fact there is so much on the Home page it is a wonder we found the section for flights!
Cerise pink is the bright colour that meets the eye, the name is in pink and the borders on the different sections are highlighted. There is a lovely picture of sea and sun, all I wanted, was to be transported. There are sections on hot beach deals, last second hols, resort hotels, all available on the homepage. Under travel there is holidays, city breaks, flight and hotels, flights, hotels, cruise, airport parking, car hire, ferry tickets, Insurance, and train tickets. The entertainment section includes dating, days out, DVD rental, health and beauty, music, nights in, restaurants, sport, takeaway food, theatre and UK activities. Gift section includes auctions, experiences and unusual gifts. And if that isn’t enough there is a section called “More”! Under this heading there is affiliates, be a supplier, casino, credit card, help and FAQ’s, help us improve, investor relations, my orders, and TV and mobile.
Finding a flight
Having clicked on the heading flights, boxes came up which needed to be completed with the departure date and a choice of time e.g. don’t mind, after 12pm or after 6pm.You need to choose a destination city or country and the return date and there is a helpful calendar to be clicked on here. Also, if the return ticket is required or one way and type of class. Then choose age of passengers, adult, seniors (over 65), children (2-11), Infants (0-2). There is a tick box for direct flight only and then with all details completed press search.
Whilst you sit back after all that hard work, you are asked to wait whilst the page is loading and searching 100’s of flights. It states the price includes airfare, hotel, and all taxes and is for all passengers. Make huge savings on car hire, and you are also able to book tourist attractions. The price promise is that they will refund the difference if you find the same product cheaper on any UK website within 24 hours of purchase. It was surprisingly quick, maybe because we have a fast internet connection, but I was happy with the time I waited- just time to have a sip or two of a glass of wine!
The search reveals a choice of flights and gives the price including tax, and if indirect you can click for details, both for the Outbound and inbound leg. It gives the flight number, departure and arrival time and even the terminal number if appropriate. It is then your choice which of the outbound and inbound flights you want. After selecting it, the total price is shown e.g. in our case Edinburgh to Olbia and the departure and return dates. It states it is supplied as a paper ticket and you can view the full itinerary. Going on to the next step you are told the total price and given the option for travel extras. We have our own insurance, so didn’t need that, but could have added it then, also airport parking, the new total is worked out. Then you type in the complete passengers names, and choose what sort of seating is required. Now is the time to add car hire if required and they were offering £20 discount for lastminute.com customers. All we had to do was continue to the next stage and pay, it seemed a simple quite painless operation. The prices were better than we had found on other sites.
We should know nothing in this life is simple! Hubby decided to upgrade the car, and went back to do this, unknown to us the flights reverted to the original suggestion after their search and not the later one we had chosen. Our mistake! Well HIS MISTAKE! He should have rechecked the details for everything not just the car! Result is we have to get up VERY early for a flight from Olbia to Rome and hang about in Rome for several hours, so no doubt there will be a review on Rome’s airport sometime in the future, unless we manage to deposit the cases and get a taxi! The flights are not wonderful, as we also have to change at Birmingham coming home but we are prepared to accept them and take it as part of our holiday so that we can get to Sardinia. We enjoy people watching so there will be plenty of time for this!
We received a confirmation e-mail and the tickets came through very quickly. Once I had realised the mistake, I contacted them but the reply was that we had confirmed the booking. We were directed to FAQ’s were it states “If changes are permitted there is a £45 administrative fee per person. Airline tickets are mostly non-changeable and it is recommended to have travel insurance. It is possible to book by telephone but there is and extra fee of £10. Funnily enough we are return the car at 7.30am but as our flight leaves at 7.00 I think we will need to be at the airport earlier! So somehow it remembered we had planned the later flight but you can’t argue with a computer can you.
We choose to have our tickets delivered by Royal Mail and we received them within 2 days, there was a tracking number to check if you wanted on the service. The tickets were from Travelselect.com who is part of lastminute.com. The envelope also advertises them and holidayautos.co.uk, travel4less and Globepost travel services al part of the same group.
We printed out the details from the computer and as it said there was a voucher for £20 off virgin wines, my husband who also likes a bargain logged on and ordered a case. We then got another voucher on the e-mail so ordered another case saving more money. The second case had 13 bottles, cleverly arranged so we are enjoying sampling some different wine! We’ve had another e-mail with more money off but there is a time limit, so may give this one a miss as we are hiding wine all over the house, as we already had a good stock before ordering.
Since ordering our tickets we have received a weekly newsletter with all sorts of holiday bargains, if we get fed up we’ll need to see if we can stop them.
I have only used the flights on lastminute.com but have browsed through the other choices and discovered I could book Tea for 2 at the Ritz for £64, or for someone who has everything you can help them become a Lord and Lady of the Land! The takeaway food does not cover every area yet but they are hoping to extend it soon. Overall we were pleased with the choices of flights to get to Sardinia, the mistake lay with us, but the system could be improved so it didn’t revert to their suggestion. It's worth looking at this site if you want to check hotels and flights.
Hopefully all will go well, if not I’ll be adding to this! So eventually we hope to get to Sardinia, and maybe one day I'll write a review and add some nice pictures!
Liked the review and you did have a few problems but got there in the end. I have only used Expedia and it seemed trouble free. Dave x
Lancashire_Angel 10.08.2004 15:45
We've looked at several internet travel agents but we always end up booking with a phone-line travel agent from Teletext, they always turn out to be cheaper and simpler, as you can ask the travel agent tons of questions and make sure he/she has everything right before you get off the phone!