Week 21, twenty one weeks, 147 days since the first announcement that Coronavirus was serious and we were going to be locked down and not able to move about as freely as we had before, or as we ever would again for a long time.
We finally got confirmation this week that our holiday in September to Morocco has been cancelled by BA and they have refunded our tickets. To be honest we knew it was coming, in fact we hoped it was coming. As much as we really want to go to Marrakesh, and were looking forward to this trip we didn’t think the timing was right at the moment. This was my birthday present from my parents last year and we wanted to spend a few days mooching about the city, wandering the streets, taking photographs in the souks, eating and drinking out and heading off into the Atlas Mountains to spend time with the locals. None of that really works with Covid-19 in our midst, and we also didnt want to do any of those things if they weren’t going to be buzzing.
If we cancelled we were worried we wouldnt get the money back (my parents money) so we actually had our fingers crossed that BA would do it for us, which they have. And we were pleased they had refunded the money almost straightaway. Unlike RyanAir. They cancelled flights we had booked last year, for a trip in July and they still haven’t refunded the money. They don’t answer tweets, you cant do the online chat and there is no phone number on their website to get through on either. I even looked into claiming through the small claims court but since they are in Dublin it isnt possible to instigate legal proceedings, it is so frustrating. At least I know I am not alone, one look at their Twitter mentions and there are quite a lot of us that have yet to receive a refund. Such a terrible way to run a business and I will definitely think twice before booking a flight with Ryanair again, and if I do it will be with PayPal so I can raise a dispute straightaway.
Grrr I hate moaning but really, bad customer service really does push my buttons. I wouldnt mind if they didnt have people working at the moment and were consistent with that message but their social media feeds are full of them pushing people to book more holidays with them so people are clearly working. They should focus on keeping the customers they do have happy first, but then maybe that is just me.
It did mean that we were then able to book something else though, although we are wary of doing anything involving flights. Quarantine rules are changing daily, with France initially declared “safe” it looks like they too might be on the quarantine list shortly. So who knows what might be possible, or impossible, in September. We therefore decided to book a week away in a fancy hut in the woods on an estate in the Brecon Beacons. Confirmation it had WiFi and was within walking distance of a pub and I had booked it in an instant. I don’t even care if it rains.
In slightly happier news we snuck out for dinner for only the second time since February 29th. I decided at 5pm I really couldn’t be bothered to cook dinner and so we declared we were going out. Out out. it was interesting to see how different the local restaurants are in their approach to welcoming people back now. One local pub has disposable menus that you write on for the server to collect; or you use their new app to order at the table. Both ideas I thought were great for keeping you socially distanced. Another very much wanted names and phone numbers beforehand, the tables were very spaced out and masks are worn by waiting staff. Sadly both of those options were fully booked when I tried so we ended up on the high street in one of favourite local places where there was little evidence of socially distancing between the diners or the waiting staff, who weren’t wearing masks or visors.
The food was excellent but the whole experience really put me off and where I was once the first to jump at the idea of a night off cooking now I am really not so sure again.
Photo of woman holding a mug courtesy of Shutterstock