When you book your next holiday, doubtless you’ll want to use a travel company that has treated its customers well during the pandemic and swerve those that have refused refunds for cancelled trips or simply ignored their customers altogether.
To help you decide who are the good guys, MoneySavingExpert.com (one of our favourite websites, by the way) carried out a survey in which readers were asked for their feedback on how companies dealt with cancellations caused by the pandemic. Firms were then ranked by subtracting the percentage who had a poor experience from those who had a great experience and it has compiled a list of the travel companies praised and panned for their customer service during the crisis.
The Good Guys
Travel Counsellors, which employs a network of independent travel agents across the UK (most of whom work from home) tops the list with net score of 91%.
Hays Travel, which snapped up Thomas Cook shops last year to become the largest travel agency chain in the UK, comes second in the MoneySavingExpert survey with a net score of 70%.
Airbnb comes in third place with 56%.
Jet2Holidays, with a net score of 54% is in fifth place and is ranked as the best tour operator, significantly higher than its rival TUI, which is placed well down the table by MoneySavingExpert, which examined responses from more than 27,000 customers.
Booking.com scored +18% and British Airways +8%.
The Bad Guys
Of the 53 firms that MoneySavingExpert received more than 100 responses for, travel agency Travel Trolley was the worst with a net score of -95%, followed closely by TravelUp, also at -95% (but with a slightly lower proportion of ‘poor’ votes), and Teletext Holidays at -94%.
Of the big names, the worst airline was Ryanairat -82% and the worst tour operator was TUI(the UK’s largest) at -60%.
Virgin Holidays, which got fewer than 100 responses, scored -73%.
Click here to see where your travel company ranks.
MoneySavingExpert.com will be compiling a full, detailed report of travel firms’ behaviour, with both the ratings and people’s experiences, and sending the findings to the Government’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, as well as the Competition and Markets Authority.
MoneySavingExpert founder Martin Lewis said: “This is a tough time for the travel industry. It’s one of the sectors worst hit by coronavirus, but it’s a tough time for the public too, many of whom are also in dire straits. And they’ve been strident in telling us that they’ll remember how firms dealt with them during this time – good and bad.
“People aren’t just judging on whether firms failed to give a refund – though that plays a big part. Many poor ratings are also about difficulties in getting in touch, being given the run around, and terrible management of expectations – such as Ryanair sending vouchers to those who’d specifically requested cash refunds.
“People shouldn’t be annoyed with firms offering to move bookings or offering vouchers as refunds. Indeed, I’d encourage those who don’t need the cash to take them, especially from firms with solid financials, as it’ll help keep the industry going and keep people in work. Yet when people are entitled to monetary refunds, to make them sit on phones on hold for hours, often getting cut off to get it, when vouchers are available at the click of a button leaves people feeling rightly riled.
“Sadly, out of the 53 companies rated, only 17 were net positive. But that means they should get even louder plaudits for trying to do it right. They’re struggling, but are protecting customers too, and the likelihood is when this is all over, they’ll come out stronger and with more brand loyalty because of it.”