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Live webchat with Luke Gaskins, First Choice Family Travel Expert, Thurs 29th Jan 1 - 2pm

(89 Posts)
CatherineMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 23-Jan-09 14:16:45

Luke's career in the travel industry began during university summer holidays when he was an activity instructor for school groups in France. He then spent 2 years with leading adventure tour operator, Explore Worldwide, before joining First Choice Holidays, where he undertook a number of roles, including the management of all Family Holiday concepts. He'll be available to answer any questions on family holidays such as where to go, what to do and how to get there.
As ever if you can't join in on Thurs then post your questions in advance.

TheWizardofOz Fri 23-Jan-09 14:20:24

Why is it impossible to go away with THREE children without splitting rooms?

In fact why is it impossible to go to the med ( no scrotey places)in school holidays with three kids for under 4k?

Three kids are not unheard of are they?
IN fact if you launched a web page for three kid families I would book with you.

MumHadEnough Mon 26-Jan-09 12:16:56

Wizard I think you can get three kids in a kids den suite at the First Choice holiday villages. I'm sure you can have two kids in the bunk room, another on a sofa/camp bed and then the double bed for the parents. I'm sure Luke can confirm that. But I do agree that they are VERY expensive in the school holidays. sad

Anyway, my question for Luke. Were you involved in the concept of the Holiday Villages. I've been to Turkey twice, the CDS one twice and am off to Egypt next week, can't wait!!! Well congratulations on those as my family and plenty of others I know absolutely love them, they just work so well and I've found myself comparing everywhere else I go to them.

Do you have plans to open more anywhere else? I especially think more Canary Island ones could work well or perhaps somewhere like Bulgaria?

WingsTHEangel Mon 26-Jan-09 12:17:06

Why do they have to have high prices in summer,or any school holiday ?

I can't afford the prices of holidays abroad and would love for my children to see more of the world.

basementbear Mon 26-Jan-09 12:35:08

I would like to say that the First Choice website is very good, I am venturing abroad for the first time this year with the DCs because of the dismal weather we always have when we go away in the UK! However, the one thing that puts me off is the times of the flights - so far I have only found flights at a decent time of day to Majorca. I can't think of anything worse than getting a flight at 6am, meaning having to get to the airport by 4am, leaving the house at 3am - aaargh! The horrifying thought of having to wake DS2 in the middle of the night is enough to make me think I'd rather have a week of rain in the UK! So, my question is: Why aren't there more day-time flights available ??(6am is still night-time in my book!!)

Flier Mon 26-Jan-09 12:38:34

I'd like to ask when we can expect to see fuel surcharges reduced - didn't they go up last summer when guel prices were so high? They don't seen to have gone down yet.

TwoIfBySea Mon 26-Jan-09 13:02:04

What are the best options for a single parent taking two under 10s on holiday (boys)? I've noticed that online, when I price a holiday, I get financially hit for daring to be one adult.

I also will need to take my children out of school for a week as the huge increase in cost during holidays is ridiculous. In Scotland, a few years ago, there was a move by the government to stop parents taking their children out of school during term time and the idea was holiday companies would be made to lower their prices. While it is looked down on to take children out of school what are less well-off families supposed to do? Never go anywhere?

RTKangaMummy Mon 26-Jan-09 13:45:15

We have just come back from 2 weeks in Maldives with First Choice ~ {the Maldives are deffo brill and that part was great}

However, we would NEVER fly again with you until you are able to reserve seats ONLINE beforehand {we were told at return checkin the seats were already done in London}

We paid £60 for sitting together {3 of us} it would be better to pay for reserving our seats online beforehand.

The crew onboard do NOT like giving out water as they want you to pay for drinks. The advice given in the on~board magazine and by doctors is to drink plenty of water ~ especially during a 11½ hour flight

And when on a 11½ hour flight why does the entertainment film/tv loop last a lot less than that?

The day before check in at LGW was dreadful as there was 1 girl checking in 4 flights going that night and us for the next day ~ the other staff were standing around chatting on the walkway above her. It took over 3 hours!!!!!!!

There is one positive about First choice and that is the leg room in economy is very good


follderol Mon 26-Jan-09 14:03:27

We went away with First Choice two years ago and never again. Why is your customer services so appalling? You lie in brochures and your service reps seem unable to help sort it out. You cannot go into a shop when you have booked online even though your website says you can. Your reps abroad managed to run our credit card through for one excursion three times, it took 3 months to get the money refunded.

How do you build a brand with appalling customer service?

follderol Mon 26-Jan-09 14:05:48

Oh yes the cost for sitting together I forgot all about that part. A sneaky tax after booking.

Did I mention that I hung on the phone for almost half an hour once to speak to your telephone reps, after we had booked. And she failed to answer our question, put us on hold and then cut us off.

Flier Mon 26-Jan-09 14:20:09

We stayed in the Holiday Village algarve last year and I must say that the reps were absolutely fantastic, so hard working.

MouseMate Mon 26-Jan-09 14:36:27

Can you book just a Hotel with First Choice - or do you only do packages with flights?

If not, why not?

(would like to see anyone try to sit me away from my child on a flight....never gonna happen, and never gonna pay extra to sit together......last year we were the very last people on a fully booked flight and funnily enough we all still got to sit together, so I feel bad for the poor buggers who paid an extra 60 odd quid to get what we got for free)

RTKangaMummy Mon 26-Jan-09 14:54:26

The problem is that kangaboy is now 13 and is classed as adult so we couldn't really play the my child needs to sit with us line iyswim

I agree a 13 year old isn't really and adult but when it comes to flying he is

I didn't want him to have to spend 11½ hours sitting with a stranger

geordieminx Mon 26-Jan-09 17:05:50

I would love 11 1/2 hours on a plane without my ds wink

Just a comment really - it would be nice to have a few more "luxury" hotels that a family friendly. Going away with a small child or 2 doesnt always mean basic apartment in a tourist cramed resort

wordgirl Mon 26-Jan-09 17:33:44

I would like some suggestions for somewhere beachy and hot for a family of five (boys aged 15, 14 and 10) - during the school summer holidays, preferably all inclusive and for less than £3,000. Will go anywhere really but the one big proviso is that it must NOT be somewhere where people put towels on sunbeds to reserve them for the day. Thank you.

StarlightMcKenzie Mon 26-Jan-09 18:14:09

Message withdrawn

luckylady74 Mon 26-Jan-09 18:25:01

Please could you link me to any holiday that is in any of the school holidays, will accommodate 2 adults and 3 children in the same apartment, is somewhere warm and costs less than £2500 for 2 weeks.Thank you smile

Rosa Mon 26-Jan-09 19:10:10

Why should you pay to pre book you seat so you can sit together when travelling with children ?
As a charter holiday company you should automatically guarantee people travelling with children under the age of 12 that they will be ALLOCATED seats together. It is a way of making people panic into paying extra money just incase at check in Little Johnny gets put 4 rows behind . In an emergency situation what do you do go for the exit with Kid 1 that you were lucky enough to have in the seat next to you or try to clamber back 4 rows to get Johnny thus blocking any form of order that could be in the aisles? It is proven than in an emergency panic sets in and nobody would give 2 hoots about helping you ! Ok so you make extra money for this service but for what really - It is a charter plane so not overbooked like a scheduled company and how family friendly is it really ???

scrooged Mon 26-Jan-09 19:59:19

I'm a single mum with one child. I don't think it's fair that I have to pay adult prices for my child when two parent families are able to get a free child place. Holiday companies should know that one parent families have a much lower income then two parent families, even most hotels charge per person which works out alot as the room is classed as under- occupied or I am made to pay 2 adults for my son and me. I'd love a holiday but it's expensive.

We have been given eurostar tickets to go to paris and am hoping to go mid April. Can you recommend a cheap (£100 per night per room) hotel, clean and close to the eiffel tower? smile Many thanks.

basementbear Mon 26-Jan-09 20:22:54

Can you please reassure all of us about to book our summer holidays that First Choice won't be a victim of the credit crunch - and if we book with anyone else who goes bust, what are our rights?

bebee Tue 27-Jan-09 10:50:22

Hi Luke

Where would you recommend for this Easter hols - ideally want warm sea with good snorkelling and doable with kids aged 3,7 and 10 - plus 2 adults...

Also half terms are always tricky - how to find sun without breaking the bank in Feb and Oct. What are your top suggestions for family destinations at those times of the year?


PlainOldPeachy Tue 27-Jan-09 12:03:27

We're hoping to start going abroad but have vetoed it this year because of our autistic child. Where can you recommend that would be tolerant? (we're talking funny noises / mannerisms level)?

FrazzledFairyFay Tue 27-Jan-09 18:47:08

Where can we go in April/May, with a 21month old and a 3.6 year old. We would ideally like some form of childcare or activities, so that we all enjoy the holiday and get some time to relax and recharge

tatt Tue 27-Jan-09 20:26:25

Fist we find your website easier than most to navigate, one reason we have traveled with you more often than most.

I have a child with a nut allergy. You are very good at promising not to serve peanuts on flights but when I get on the aircraft the staff have rarely been told about us. It is always worse on the flight back - but that is just as much a risk as the flight out! PLEASE can you sort this out.

I have to disagree about the leg room, the seats are designed only for children......

SameAsYou Tue 27-Jan-09 21:09:26

Another single mum and son here - please say there are measures in place to not charge a three year old the same price as an adult??

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