Due to family illness, Gerard’s mother is 96 years old and has not been well recently, we found ourselves having to hop across the Channel for a family visit. Usually we enjoy visiting and whilst not so far away, (we were only travelling to Lyon) it always gives us the sense of a different culture… however, right from when we arrived at the airport we were struck with the poor service that is begrudgingly offered.
We flew EasyJet… not by choice, but because the flights were available and the times suited. The ticket prices weren’t cheap and by the time baggage and speedy boarding was added on it was certainly not a discounted airline price; however, the attitude of their staff on the ground at check in certainly makes you feel like you are cattle fodder and they go out of their way to ensure you have the most stress and most inconvenience possible….. it got no better in terms of customer service when we arrived in France- a walk from the plane into the baggage collection area which felt as though it was almost as long as to have walked from the UK; easily 15/20 minutes. Is that acceptable at an airport? Personally I don’t think so.
Airports aside the “service”, (I use the term very loosely), we encountered in Lyon was mostly truly appalling. Many of the staff in shops, restaurants and in taxis were happier by far to say “Goodbye” rather than “Hello” and few made any effort to be helpful, friendly or have any pride in their jobs…. I suppose we noticed such bad manners and lack of care because we are in a service business ourselves, but people just seem so accepting of poor service and that seems so sad. We did find a few happier souls who did smile and were more helpful but it truly was a handful.
The icing on the cake for the trip was at the airport when we were flying home… they have created a terminal especially for EasyJet customers- with minimal seating, no refreshments, no air conditioning (and probably no heating in winter). You can only check in exactly 2 hours before (but you wouldn’t want to arrive early anyway) as you are merely herded into what is essentially an airplane hanger- this is 2012 in a civilized country- are such conditions acceptable when you’ve paid over £600.00 for airplane tickets? Even when you have checked in, in our case by a surly chap who made three phone calls whilst dealing with us at the desk and who showed such a lack of interest in the customer that his arrogance was breathtaking. However, when we passed through to departures, the situation was even worse- so few seats that elderly people and mother’s with babes in arms were forced to stand or sit on the floor- we were all crammed in and the whole area was dismally inadequate for the numbers of passengers passing through- rarely was I ever happier to return to the UK, which let’s face it isn’t so great in many aspects either, but on the evidence of this French trip we are oh so much better.
Apologies for the rant this week, but the reason I’m so stirred up by the poor service we received is that despite the fact that our team work their socks off, always try to give their best and offer guests the best service they possibly can, sites such as Trip Advisor allow people to have a voice which is often nasty and unfair… people can complain about the colour of the walls and the fact they didn’t like the organic, local lavender products and that if they wanted a hand made, large sized, individually wrapped ginger bread dog, there was a mini bar charge… how do people think we pay the staff, the not inconsiderable rates, the mortgage and all the other overheads the hotel incurs if we don’t charge for items consumed… our team give so much of themselves and it really rankles when you visit places such as our recent French trip and others don’t and no one seems to notice, care or be bothered by the fact that they are treated in such an ill mannered and uncaring way- well I do care and hence my frustration when our team are so nastily complained about- thankfully it’s not often and mostly we have lovely guests who appreciate all they do and how hard they work.
Till next week