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Picture the scene. TWO weeks in Florida, being exposed to some of the BEST customer service that the world can provide. In Disney world, even the toilet cleaners are called CAST MEMBERS and are as polite as anyone could be given the role they do.

On balance, Americans have high service levels, Disney and Universal et al take this to a new level. Imagine then my disgust at the APPALLING level of customer service on the flight back to the UK from Thomson, the holiday company.

I have been on a couple of Thomson Super Family holidays and they have always been exceptionally good. When I booked my family holiday to Florida and paid A LOT of money to go, I assumed my holiday experience was in good hands. How wrong could I be… sort of.

The booking experience at First Choice was excellent with great customer service. The flight from London to Orlando was OK but nothing special. The experience of picking up our travel itinerary from the reps including the Villa key and the car hire was adequate but could have done with more staff.

The we have two weeks of EXCEPTIONAL service from Disney and Universal and the general American customer service ethos.

On the last day we reluctantly packed our suitcases and head back to the Airport for the long trip home. This is when it all started to go wrong.

If you consider the service anyone has just had being in Disney parks for two weeks it is pretty fair to say that Thomson airlines have a lot to live up to when it comes to customer service. But it appeared it wasn’t something they wanted to TRY to live up to.

If you LOVE your job it will show, if you HATE your job it will show. My guess is the cabin crew on this flight home hated their jobs because they looked like a wet weekend in Skegness (apologies to those who think Skegness is a good day out :))

From the moment we boarded the plane (with LOTS of kids as it was Easter) most (but not all, to be fair) of the cabin crew simply could not be bothered to raise a smile in themselves let alone recognise that their customers were making judgements of them based on what they had experienced the previous two weeks.

The ‘meals’, and I use that term loosely, were all but thrown down when they were served. When the coffee and tea was served the lady who did it made ZERO eye contact and said TEA TEA TEA in such a way it made you think twice about saying Yes Please.  At one point the in flight entertainment (for those that didn’t pay £5 a seat for an ‘upgrade’ to be able to have access to a few extra movies) stopped working for everyone. After 15 minutes, their was no acknowledgement from the cabin crew as to why this had happened or what they were doing about it.  As a cabin crew member walked past my step son’s seat (12) he politely asked what was happening with it. Without even breaking stride she looked and just barked a reply, I Know….and walked on.

I later asked her what the situation was and got a similar, if not more focused reply.  All it required was a tannoy announcement saying the system was down and was being rebooted and all would have fine. But no, Thomson staff decided to do the 1980’s way.

As many of you may know, I fly A LOT in my job. Anything from Cathy Pacific, Emirates (where I am today in Dubai), British Airways and even the budget airlines, Ryan Air and Easy Jet.

I can say today that it would take A LOT for me to ever set foot on a Thomson flight again.

To not recognise the needs and mindset of your customers seems such a wasted opportunity for them. Maybe they need a reminder of customer services and HOW to treat people so the have a great experience when paying good money to fly with them.

If they come calling for some training, I may be able to help them but the training would have to take place in the UK first as I wouldn’t want to fly again until they had it sorted 🙂