I tackled a customer’s request with gusto – but they failed to score tickets to the final, says Spear Travels Wolverhampton’s Kim Kent
I must tell you a true story about a couple who called me on a Wednesday afternoon asking for flights to Australia to attend the Fifa Women’s World Cup final just four days later.
I quickly got on the case after putting the phone down and found Etihad flights from Manchester for a six-night stay, with the outbound flight due to land in Sydney on Saturday afternoon, just in time for the big match on Sunday. The price came to £9,150 with accommodation at a five-star hotel and economy flights.
The chap called asking me to check the application, at which point I discovered they had filled in the [visa] application only for him and not her!
The clients were happy with this and wanted to go ahead, but when I asked them if they had visas, they said, “Oh no, what’s that then?” It dawned on me this wasn’t going to be straightforward but I replied, “No problem.” I talked them through it and explained that visas usually took only a few hours to be approved but could take up to three days. A short while later, the chap called asking me to check the application, at which point I discovered they had filled in the application only for him and not her! I instructed him to return to the process and complete a separate application for her.
Despite not yet having the visas approved, he insisted I book the trip and he would wire me the money. He said he was a gambler and it would be fine to lose the money if the visas did not arrive in time. It went against all my principles to do this, but fortunately the visas came back within an hour, so all was confirmed. They came into the shop on the Thursday morning to collect the tickets, at which point I asked if they had booked a hotel at the airport before their early morning flight the next day. “Ah, we hadn’t thought of that, can you book it for us?” replied the woman. So I did that, before printing out all the necessary paperwork and putting it all in a wallet for them and discussing the flight details at length, as there were many questions.
Despite not yet having the visas approved, he insisted I book the trip and he would wire me the money. He said he was a gambler and it would be fine to lose the money f
Later that night, as I was driving home for a well-earned glass of wine, I received a call from the client. “Are you OK?” I asked. “No, not really,” she replied. “We’ve left all the tickets on the sideboard at home.” Oh dear! Thankfully they confirmed they had at least managed to check in to their hotel at Manchester airport.
I asked if they picked up emails on their phone and was very relieved when they said yes. When I arrived home, I fired up my laptop and emailed all the documents to them and called to check they had everything. After a bit of a performance, they confirmed they had. I didn’t sleep very well as I was worried about them, so at 7am I messaged and asked if they had checked in. They had, thank goodness, so then it was time to relax and keep my fingers crossed.
I later discovered there was another twist in the tale: it transpired they didn’t actually have tickets to the final – and didn’t manage to get any!
But I later discovered there was another twist in the tale: it transpired they didn’t actually have tickets to the final – and didn’t manage to get any! That was the one thing we hadn’t discussed and the one thing I couldn’t help them with. I hope they at least managed to find a nice bar to watch the game in, even if the result wasn’t what we’d all hoped for.
Client poses an age-old dilemma
I am extremely worried about a very frail 94-year-old client whose dream is to return to Lake Garda. He hopes that dream will come true very soon, as he has booked to go with his wife for a week at the end of September. This is a very expensive holiday as he wanted a deluxe lake-view room in a five-star hotel.
Last year, his granddaughter and her husband went with them to assist, but this year they are on their own. However, the gentleman called recently to say he will now be going alone as his wife no longer wishes to travel. It’s a dilemma for us, and one which I’m sure many of you have faced.
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