to think this is really poor customer service from a holiday company when pregnant(7 Posts)
I'd appreciate some thoughts on how to progress with this.
In short, my husband booked and paid for me to go on a week's holiday to Turkey in late July while I was 30 weeks pregnant. It was a treat; a final fling before we had DS, and while my husband went fishing in Scotland (*I'm not a fishing fan)
None of my friends could join me, so I went on my own, grateful for the chance of some rest and sunshine.
Prior to booking the holiday, he verbally clarified with a call centre representative that I would be safe to travel as I was pregnant, planning to fly at 30 weeks and return at 32 weeks. He asked if there were any fit to fly requirements; specifically, whether a GP letter was required, and was told that this was not the case.
In addition to this verbal clarification, we both checked the website to ascertain whether there was any fitness to fly requirements for pregnant travellers. Currently, there are none specified.
However; preferring to err on the side of caution, I decided to create my own travel pack of maternity related documents so that I had a sense of confidence and reassurance in travelling during my pregnancy. These documents included
- my NHS hospital notes
- a GP letter that I had arranged and paid for in advance which stated that I was fit to travel on the intended departure and return dates
- I also paid for specific maternity insurance to cover any potential repatriation costs.
The departure flight was uneventful. At check-in, I offered to show the GP letter and insurance certificate, but was told this was not necessary.
However; the return flight back to the UK with the subcontracted Turkish airline was a disaster. Despite showing them all my documents , I was told that I could not check in and that I had to remove my case from the conveyer belt.
The verbal explanation given was that I had not complied with their pregnancy requirements which require a fitness to fly letter dated no more than a week prior to travel.
As I had been away on holiday for 10 days, this was something of an impossibility (!) - and of course there had been no mention of this requirement when booking the holiday, or even any mention that there was a subcontracted airline, prior to booking the holiday.
I was absolutely stressed out as it was hot, and no amount of begging would get me on the plane (ended up calling husband in desperation, in tears).
I asked to see a holiday rep and he was no help at all, simply reiterating that those were the subcontracted airline's t&c's.
At this impasse, I asked what needed to be done to prove demonstrably that I was in good health so that I could get on the flight. I was told to see the airport doctor there and then. At this point, it was 4:10pm; the flight was due to leave at 4:50pm – I was in some state of desperation, and eager to do whatever I could do board the flight.
I went in haste to the airport doctor who asked me to lie on a bed, and he ran a doppler monitor over my tummy to confirm that there was a fetal heartbeat. I paid 60 euros for this, and got my fitness to fly cert.
This allowed me to get on the flight.
On my return in the UK, I sent a complaint letter to the travel company. However; they have rejected the complaint on the grounds that :
Whilst we do work closely with the 3rd party airlines we aren’t able to comment directly on their own conditions of carriage and do advise that as the customers the onus would be on you to research necessary information.
My contract is surely with the holiday company that I booked with?
Prior to booking the holiday, I carried out research as to their fitness to fly requirements and also took additional precautions to ensure that I absolutely didn't encounter this problem.
Finally, there is nothing on the 3rd party Turkish airline website referencing pregnant passenger fitness to fly requirements.
I reasonably do not see how I could have known otherwise.
I am really angry at how this all turned out, particularly as the holiday company promote themselves as a family friendly, and I don't like being dismissed in this way.
Yanbu and i think you should escalate your complaint. I imagine someone will come on in a minute who knows who to complain to. What a pain but at least it happened at the end of the holiday so you still presumably got to enjoy your trip. What a nice thing for your husband to do. If you dont get anywhere just put it behind you. Dont let it take over you final weeks of pregnancy.
If you don't get any joy via the normal complaints channels I'd contact the weekend press - eg the consumer champion of the Guardian or someone like that.
Did you know that a third party airline was being used?
If not, how can you know to research their requirements?
Maybe have a look on the Which? website for advice.
The holiday company should know all the T&C's of the airlines they use. Don't let it go. Our local Radio jump on stories like this. You should at least get your €60 back and an apology/explanation.
Heavily pregnant in Turkey in July - you must love the heat! I'm sweltering just thinking about it
Escalate by all means but really what harm was done? Ok it was unpleasant and stressful (and you'll soon discover that most travel with young kids is like this even if nothing goes wrong). I'd be demanding the £60 and maybe suggesting they update their information but beyond this I think I'd just let it go.
Absolutely no way should you have to pay!
That is absurd, I would be really cross.
I flew at 28 weeks and just wore a scarf over my bump and didn’t mention it to the air hostess, and she clearly could see I was pregnant but didn’t want to ask. If you mentioned it to the airline staff on the way back they may have felt obliged to ensure your safety - overcautious but understandable. But I would have just quoted the original airline’s t&cs and not engaged with it, you booked with that airline not the subcontracted one so it should have been fine.
To clarify, The woman at the check in desk asked if I was pregnant and I said yes (it was hardly a big lunch!). I didn’t think anything of the question as my being pregnant hadn’t been an issue flying out only 10 days earlier.
I’m not a confrontational person by nature and yes, there’s part of me that’s relieved just to have got back, but it was a horrible situation to be in - there was a point where I really thought I wasn’t going to get home.
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