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Thomas Cook, Tui and First Choice named worst package holiday providers in Which? survey

Helen Coffey

Thomas Cook and Tui, two of the UK’s biggest tour operators, have been ranked the worst package holiday providers in a new survey.

The Which? Travel report asked more than 4,000 consumers to score 11 of the country’s leading providers on a range of criteria: average price per day, customer service, accommodation, description matching reality, organisation of holiday and value for money.

Thomas Cook, the UK’s third biggest tour operator, placed last, with a quarter of the 289 respondents who had holidayed with the company saying they had experienced a problem during their trip.

Issues often related to holiday reps, with holidaymakers complaining that they were unhelpful or impossible to track down.

“We never saw a rep the whole time we were there,” reported one customer. “All there was, was a number on a noticeboard.”

The holiday company received a customer score of 69 per cent and three-star ratings for accommodation, customer service and value for money, while holiday reps received just two stars.

A Thomas Cook spokeswoman told The Independent: “Many millions of loyal customers come back to Thomas Cook year after year. It seems they are not represented by the sample of fewer than 300 of our customers which was used for this Which? report.

“We take the views of our customers very seriously. Our own customer satisfaction scores – which incorporate the feedback of tens of thousands of customers – are significantly higher than those reported by Which? and this year, satisfaction is up in all areas, including our rep service and quality of hotels.

“This weekend is set to be the busiest for travel as the schools break up and our 600-strong team of reps in destinations across the world are ready to make sure all our customers have an incredible holiday.”

Tui, the country’s biggest tour operator, and Tui-owned First Choice placed 10th and ninth respectively, despite being package holiday specialists.

Although they received slightly higher ratings of three and four stars across the board, some Tui customers complained about poor customer service, unprofessional holiday reps and disappointing accommodation facilities.

“We are disappointed in the results as our customers are at the heart of everything we do,” a Tui UK spokesperson told The Independent.

“We offer great flexibility, a wide choice of destinations and holiday types and will continue to do all we can to ensure our customers have the very best experiences when they are on holiday with us. We recognise the importance of great customer service and must do even more in the future.”

At the other end of the spectrum, Trailfinders claimed the top spot, with an overall score of 91 per cent and five-star ratings for customer service and holiday organisation.

One Trailfinders customer said “Everything ran smoothly. I was able to personalise my holiday to my taste, and the hotel was stunning.”

The company specialises in tailor-made trips all over the world.

Jet2 Holidays, the UK’s second biggest tour operator, also performed well, garnering a score of 87 per cent and four-star ratings across the board.

Holidaymakers were impressed with the company’s customer service and luggage allowance, which offers a free 22kg bag for every passenger.

“Jet2 is well-managed and consistently excellent on all fronts,” said one happy customer. “Take note Thomas Cook, Tui and others.”