Useless Thomson

Thomson is not a company I would willingly use, if there were available options. Their holiday representatives are useless, flights cooped up with drunks and screaming out-of-control kids. I prefer to book my own hotels and flights, but sometimes these options are not available, hotels stuck in the Dark Ages, blissfully unaware of the existence of the internet or quote silly prices when you try to book direct.

If you fly, it is necessary to provide Air Passenger Information at least 24 hours before you fly. All airlines require this, advise will be denied the flight if not provided.

Thomson is no exception. Their paperwork is quite explicit, even highlighted in bold, that API is required, will be denied a flight if not provided, and directs to a webpage. Only when you go to the webpage, it only provides information, directed to another webpage to sign in, then directed to yet another page to provide the information, and that is where the problems begin.

Asked to provided name, e-mail address, booking reference and date of flight.

For a security check, would expect to send an e-mail, click on a link (or maybe enter a code), but no, simply accepts the e-mail address. Nor is a password required.

Buttons for various things, but button for API greyed out.

Number on booking paperwork called. This turns out to be a local Thomson Travel Agency, so why give an 0845 number, rather than the number of the local office?

They are told of the problem, they say have to confirm the flights, click on active button Check in & Book Last-Minute Extras and then click continue, cack-handed and bad design to say the least.

This is tried, it does not work. An error message is generated with an error code. It remains on the same page.

They are told of the problem, and that they need to inform their IT people they have a problem with their web server.

No, there is no problem, as they are not experiencing a problem and they would have been told if there was a problem.

Er, I am telling you there is a problem.

They refuse to inform their IT people, on the grounds there is no problem, and if there was, they would already know.

I tried later, and it did work.

That was Friday.

Try again Sunday, two days later, and as Friday, taken to map of plane, and find I have been pre-allocated a seat. I never picked this seat. Friday I was allocated seat 38D. Sunday 39D.

This is one of the scams Thomson run. Have to pay for seat allocation, £9-50 a seat. Then there is the luggage scam.  Allocated 15kG, less than the international norm of 20kg, then have to pay a premium to ‘upgrade’ to 20kg.

Why no levy for fat people?

Then have to click continue again, to extras.

I do not want any extras, another excuse to take more money off passengers.

Click continue and finally taken to where API, or as they term it, Add Travel Documents.

Clearly stated (at top of the page):

Thomson Airways (and all other airlines) are required to collect and provide additional passenger details to government authorities for the purpose of border control and security. This includes information contained within your passport or travel document and flight information. This is applicable for passengers travelling to any destination. In addition to this, passengers travelling to the U.S and some other countries are required to provide further details. A full list of the required information is available on our API information page. It is a condition of your booking that this data is provided. Failure to provide this information will result in you being unable to travel.

When I called the local office, they falsely told me I do not need to provide this information. I pointed out it was emphasised on the travel paperwork (with refused travel if not provided),  was on the webpage I was directed to (I never got this far). I had two people, including an idiot called Ben, who told me no, you do not have to provide.  Ben even claimed, you will have no problem, you will be allowed to travel even if you have not provided this information.

Passport details provided, begs the question: why grey out, why cannot provide, as for example British Airways or easyJet, without all this rigmarole?

Click continue.

Then taken to a page of what I can and cannot take. Standard stuff.

Tick that you have read. I find that it is already ticked.

A boarding pass generated and I am taken back to original page.

I would have expected the Boarding Pass to have been e-mailed to me, or at least an option to do so.

Check in, is now greyed out. Add travel documents still greyed out. What if mistake made? No means to correct. Print boarding pass now live. I do not have a printer.

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4 Responses to “Useless Thomson”

  1. Peter Coulson Says:

    Why not just put the boarding pass in Wallet on your phone? Then you just show that at the gate and they scan it directly.

  2. keithpp Says:

    There is always a way around, but as usual, missing the point.

    Systems should be designed for ease of use, not struggle to find ways around badly designed systems.

    If only a laptop, no printer, not possible, though could save, e-mail to oneself, or copy to a memory stick, then go to a library or net café and print.

    All I was wishing to do, was enter API, which now is a requirement, which proved extremely time consuming to do, and when first tried, web servers were delivering error messages and not allowing to proceed. Added to which, staff in travel shop blatantly lied and said it was not a requirement to provide API.

    I was not wishing to obtain a boarding pass or check in.

    I turn up and check in, and get issued with a boarding pass.

    With British Airways and other airlines, I check in with my passport.

    Being able to scan boarding pass on tablet, assumes airport has this facility. EasyJet warn not all airports have this facility.

    For easyJet, have to have printed boarding pass in advance, not at airport.

    As already noted, I use passport to check in. But, I always print and have a hard copy of confirmation of my flight.

    What if, I present my passport, sorry sir, no record of you having booked this flight. I can then show my hard copy. I have never had to use my hard copy, but it is better to be prepared.

  3. Peter Coulson Says:

    Enjoy your holiday, anyway.

  4. Maria Virginia Says:

    It is being impossible for me to buy a flight ticket with this company. I called several numbers they told me, but nothing works.
    Also I see they have a lot of different problems. I stop trying to fly with them. It seems everything, but a serious company.
    Thanks for your post.

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