That’s the message from Success Tours and their agent, Adventure, Sports & Social Company, Spice.
The French Strikes are crippling France with planned disruption for two days out of every five. So when entrepreneur and Chartered Accountant, Elaine Clark, found herself facing a holiday with a return on one of the strike days she immediately contacted her travel company for an update.
Elaine takes up the story:
“I’m due to travel by train to Cannes, along with a party of 40 other members of the social group Spice, with the travel operator Success Tours. Getting to Cannes would not be a problem as we depart on Friday, a non strike day. However, the planned strike action on the day of our return seems to mean that we’ve no hope of getting back as planned.
Naturally I contacted my travel provider, Spice, for an update on what’s happening to be told that the holiday would go ahead and they would let us know on Sunday if our train would be cancelled for our journey back.
From what I’ve seen in the news the whole of France has been thrown into chaos; scenes of dangerously crowded platforms with people falling onto rail tracks isn’t an environment I want to be sent into. I find it abhorrent that the travel company are prepared to put us in harm’s way. It seems that it’s profit over safety.
I understand that the strike is outside of their control. If it had happened without warning whilst we were away then that’s a different matter but to knowingly send us into this commotion, without contingency plans for our return, defies logic. Not only that but the Tour Company tell me that if I cancel I’ll get no money back and if I go I’ll have to cover any additional travel costs that I may incur for onward travel back from St Pancras to home. It seems that I am a caught between a rock and a hard place.
I booked this holiday last year and have been looking forward to it for ages. Holidays are supposed to be relaxing but this is far from that. For a Tour Company to think it’s acceptable to put me in harm’s way is abhorrent. Safety should come before profit at all costs.”
Elaine has been told that the Success Tours will provide a further update on Thursday morning. She says:
“I need to travel to London for the early start of the holiday on Friday. The lateness of Success Tours further update means that I’ll be sitting with bags packed waiting for my taxi to take me to the local train station, for my onward travel to London, when an email may ping into my inbox telling me that the holiday is off. This whole thing has turned into a debacle. Surely a travel company with the 35 years of experience that Success Tours claim to have could handle this better?”
Notes for Editor
Spice representative is Richard Coulter of Spice West Midlands, Tel: 0121 353 6161, Richard@spicebham.com
Details of the Tour can be found at http://www.spicebham.com/bookit/bkiteventwriteup.asp?eventno=036599#.WsSNNs-YbmI
Email from Spice:
I promised to give you all an update today on the potential threat to our Cannes trip posed by the French Train Strikes.
Strikes are by their nature designed to cause maximum disruption and the uncertainty makes the whole situation very stressful for all concerned. Spice are operating as agents of Success Tours and we will do all we can to represent your interests to the tour operator and to ensure a successful and enjoyable trip.
Here is what we know at the moment:
1) There is no current threat to services on our outward travel day of Friday April 6th.
2) The French rail unions have earmarked our return date of Monday 9th April as a ‘potential strike day’.
3) Eurostar/ SCNF cannot currently confirm whether our trains will be cancelled on Monday 9th and this is currently thwarting plans by our tour operator (Success Tours) to put contingency plans in place. The announcement of which trains will be effected on a strike day is made 5pm the day before (ie 5pm on Sunday 8th).
What options do we have?
The tour operator cannot be expected to cancel a trip or offer the opportunity for individuals to cancel at this stage based on a ‘possible issue’. However, if it is announced on Sunday that our return train has been cancelled, the Tour Operator will be responsible for getting us home another way or for providing accommodation until the rail service resumes the next day.
If such changes cause additional unrecoverable costs incurred outside of the package such as travel tickets back from London etc, these would need to be claimed through your travel insurance policy.
Please be assured that the team at Success Tours and the team here at Spice are very mindful of your needs and concerns and that we are doing all we can to be prepared for any potential difficulties. We will keep you informed of any developments.
All the very best
Email from Tony Flanagan General Manager at Success Tours
We are currently assessing all possible options available with reference to your trip to Cannes with Spice West Midlands.
To allow reasonable time to review these options whilst consulting with Richard Coulter at Spice West Midlands we will make a final decision as to whether to operate this trip at 9.30am on Thursday 5th April.
If at this time our decision is to cancel this trip, you will receive a full refund.
If our decision is to operate this trip and you decide to cancel, please note 100% cancellation charges will apply.