Ibiza epic fail
Ok, so it’s been a little while since I’ve written a good epic fail post but I think the saga surrounding my trip to Ibiza definitely deserves one. After we visited Portugal with my family earlier on in the year, I got bitten by the travel bug and was desperate to get another holiday in the diary. After agreeing the dates and booking them off work, we decided to go for a last minute deal.
Now, I’ve heard a lot about last-minute deals. There’s no end of people who recommend them and seem to get fantastic deals booking just the week before for like £100 each or something crazy so we thought we’d give it a go, having never done it before. It seemed pretty simple – all you have to do is book your desired dates off and find a holiday on those dates. I presumed it would be even easier for us as we didn’t care where we went.
A month before we were due to travel we started looking on IceLolly.com where the deals seemed too good to be true. Fuertaventura, the Balearic Isles, Greece, Italy; there were plenty of holidays ranging from self-catering to all-inclusive with prices starting at a super reasonable £250 per person.
Being the cool spontaneous couple that we are (or, more likely, that we WANT to be) we decided to risk it for a biscuit and wait until the week before to book something, thinking that the prices would surely be dirt cheap by then as companies would be desperate to get people on their holidays.
However, in the meantime, a few things were happening that were to scupper our chances of finding a cheap deal. Firstly – Tunisia. The horrific events that happened on a beach in Souss meant that tour operators were shuffling around their guests to other resorts, limiting availability and pushing the prices up for holidaymakers. This kind of put us off traveling to other similar resorts – Turkey, Egypt, Morocco – as things seemed just a little unstable and I wanted this to be a super relaxing holiday.
Then Greece. All the uncertainty over Greece’s economy and the Euro was a bit of a worry for us but we wouldn’t let it put us off visiting there. It wasn’t number one on our list as we have a Skiathos trip planned for next year for my cousin’s wedding, but like I said we weren’t fussy and we weren’t really in a position to be.
I’d looked at booking the flights and accommodation separately and had literally checked every single package holiday website I could possibly find but there seemed to be no amazing details to be had. We spent more time looking for a holiday than we would actually spend on holiday.
The week before we were due to leave we started trying to book something. Back to trusty (or not so much) IceLolly.com. This is truly the worst website in the world. We rang up for at least three of the deals listed on there and each time was told that that deal was no longer available or that the price displayed wasn’t actually the price. After this frustration, we decided to give up on Ice Lolly completely.
On Wednesday before we were due to leave on Saturday we decided to visit the travel agent. After work we hot-footed it to Meadowhall in Sheffield and tried to visit Thomas Cook. After hanging around for 10 minutes and being completely ignored, we quickly went downstairs to Thomson. It was packed. After waiting half an hour to see someone we finally sat down with a travel agent to explore our options. We soon found out that we didn’t really have any.
After lots of searching where most holidays were coming up way over budget the travel agent finally found us a suitable holiday to Crete, booking as a third party through Jet2’s website. I was particularly pleased about this as Jet2 offer 22kg of luggage with their flights. After going through the entire booking process twice because the website crashed, we had been there for over an hour as the website was so slow. We handed over our hard-earned pennies and the travel agent clicked on the BOOK button and…a flashing error message appeared. This couldn’t be happening to us.
As we are quite used to things going wrong for us, we both looked at each other and sighed. The travel agent rang the Jet2 contact centre for an explanation. Apparently someone else had pressed book at exactly the same time as us and it had pushed the price up by over £200! To say we were fuming was a bit of an understatement and I began to really worry that we were going to be spending the week in a caravan in Skegness rather than the romantic beach getaway I had envisioned.
Jet2’s customer service was non existent and they just said there was nothing they could do. We spoke to the manager of the store who was wonderful and told the travel agent to find us another holiday and they would be able to discount it a little bit. So they found us a week’s holiday in Portinatx in Ibiza and we were like “YES QUICK BOOK IT” and the holiday drama was over. Or was it…
We were due to fly in the afternoon on Sunday and so we spent a lovely chilled morning eating bacon sandwiches and watching Sunday brunch while we finished off little bits of packing. As we were about to set off, I checked the flight times…and realized it was an hour earlier than we thought it was. Now, I should know from previous mad dashes to the train station that we always get the times wrong for things and definitely should have checked the night before.
Cue major panic and us literally chucking our cases in the car and speeding off to the airport. At this point, I began to think that we weren’t supposed to go on this holiday.
What followed was a pretty tense hour and a half car journey. When we arrived at the airport car park, the barrier, of course, didn’t open then the slowest ever parking attendant opened it for us, we couldn’t find a parking space so literally abandoned our car and then there was what seemed like an hour’s wait for the transfer to the airport.
We have several people to thank that we actually made our flight:
1. The bus driver who went to Terminal 2 first when it was supposed to be last
2. The check-in desk at Enter Air who stayed open for an extra 10 minutes so that we could check-in
3. All the people that we pushed in front of to rush through airport security
When we got to the boarding gate, we breathed a sigh of relief when the plane hadn’t actually boarded yet as our flight was delayed. By the time the plane actually did take off, it was LATER than we thought the original time was – you couldn’t make this stuff up!
Ibiza epic fail learnings
1. Always book holidays in advance. If booking a late deal, try and book a few weeks in advance to avoid stress before the holiday.
2. If you are booking a late deal, it’s better to be flexible with dates, so you can travel on a different day if that works out a bit cheaper.
3. I now price check holidays over a few weeks, I start looking a couple of months in advance so that I know what sort of price is normal, and then book them as soon as they’re reduced.
4. Check, double check and triple check flight times.
Luckily we had an absolutely amazing time on our holiday when we eventually got on it, and I fell in love with Ibiza all over again.