Best and worst city break package providers revealed by Which? – Lastminute.com flops while Jet2holidays, Trailfinders and Virgin top the ranking
- Which? asked more than 8,000 holidaymakers to rate their experiences of booking and going on holiday
- Package providers are ranked based on categories that include customer service and accommodation
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The UK’s best and worst city break package providers have been revealed by Which? – and it’s Lastminute.com that ranks bottom.
At the other end of the table, there’s a tie for first place, with Jet2holidays, Trailfinders and Virgin Holidays sharing pole position.
The rankings have been produced by a new survey by Which? that asked more than 8,000 travellers to rate their experiences of booking and going on holiday over a two-year period. Respondents ranked city break package providers based on six categories, including customer service, organisation of holiday and value for money.
Top-ranking Jet2holidays, which is the UK’s biggest tour operator, taking six million people away each year, receives a customer score of 81 per cent and is the only holiday provider that’s been awarded Which? Recommended Provider (WRP) status. Which? notes that the travel brand offers ‘relatively cheap’ holidays, working out at £104 per person, per day, on average.
Which? says: ‘Not only does it combine great city-centre hotels with top-rated flights (including 22kg of luggage), but it also offers consistently great customer service. Its European city breaks are available in 30 destinations.’
The UK’s best and worst city break package providers have been revealed by Which? – and Jet2Holidays ties for first place
The watchdog notes that when you book with Jet2holidays, you’ll fly with Jet2, the carrier that came top in the watchdog’s survey of short-haul airlines earlier this year, was described as a ‘perky and positive from beginning to end by MailOnline Travel Editor Ted Thornhill, and has a five-star rating for customer service.
The other gold medal winners similarly secure an 81 per cent score. However, Trailfinders doesn’t get WRP status because of its average three-star value-for-money rating – it’s the priciest long-haul provider in the ranking.
Virgin also doesn’t get WRP, because it refused to commit to freezing the price of a holiday after it’s booked, Which? reveals.
Second place in the ranking is another tie, this time between British Airways Holidays, Hays Travel and Travel Republic (each 79 per cent).
Of British Airways Holidays, Which? says: ‘You know what you’re getting with a BA city break.’ It notes that the provider receives a five-star rating in the description matching reality category.
The rankings have been produced by a new survey by Which? that asked more than 8,000 travellers to rate their experiences of booking and going on holiday over a two-year period. Virgin Holidays shares the gold medal spot in the table, earning a customer score of 81 per cent
Trailfinders, which ties for first place, receives five stars in the ‘description matches reality’ category
However, Which? says that ‘the problem with a BA city break is that you have to fly with BA, a thoroughly mediocre airline that gets just two stars for value for money and was responsible for thousands of cancellations last year’.
Hays Travel and Travel Republic, meanwhile are worth trying for budget options that don’t compromise too much on quality, Which? reveals. Hays Travel charges just £98 per person, per day on average, while Travel Republic is even cheaper, at just £89 per person, per day on average.
Tui lands in third place with a score of 78 per cent, snapping up five stars for ‘description matching reality’, which means that the breaks met holidaymakers’ expectations.
Nearly a quarter of holidaymakers told Which? they’d experienced a problem on their recent break with Lastminute.com, which ranks last
WHY CITY BREAK PACKAGES ARE BEST, ACCORDING TO WHICH?
Which? says: ‘It’s tempting to book flights when you see a great deal to a city that’s on your bucket list and then worry about the hotel later. You might even get a better price doing it this way.
‘But what you won’t get is the legal and financial protection that a city break package offers.’
The watchdog continues: ‘Package holiday protection kicks in if you bought your flights and another part of your holiday, such as accommodation, from a single company, with one payment. You’re then financially protected, under Atol, if your provider goes bust. And if your holiday proves to be a let down, or if things go wrong, your protected under the Package Travel Regulations.’
Which? says: ‘There’s nothing wrong with Tui’s city breaks… it’s just that there are better operators out there that cost the same price or less.’
It notes that for the same rate (£104 per person, per day), you can nab a short-haul city break on a better airline, with a better-rated provider.
EasyJet Holidays ranks in the middle of the table (sixth) with a score of 75 per cent, with Which? noting that its breaks are ‘affordable’. At an average cost of just £86 per person, per day, they are almost on a par with the bargain basement prices of last-place Lastminute.com (£85pp), the watchdog notes.
However, its customer service receives an average three-star rating and holidaymakers found their experiences a bit hit and miss, Which? reveals, adding that there are cheaper and better-rated companies to choose from.
Moving to the bottom of the table, eDreams ranks second-last (eighth) with a score of 72 per cent, while last-place Lastminute.com (ninth) earns 71 per cent.
‘Steer clear of the cheap city break providers at the bottom of our table,’ Which? says.
It notes that nearly a quarter of holidaymakers told the watchdog they’d experienced a problem on their recent break with Lastminute.com. And eDreams customers complained that it was very difficult to get through to anyone on the phone when they tried to contact customer services.
Commenting on the survey’s findings, Rory Boland, Editor of Which? Travel, said: ‘If you’re considering a festive city break this winter, it’s well worth booking your stay as part of a package, which can offer you extra protection in the event something should go wrong.
‘Our survey found not all package firms are made equal, however – with some respondents reporting that their providers failed to so much as pick up the phone in periods of disruption. In contrast, the highest-rated firms such as Jet2.com and Trailfinders offered customers a first-class service from start to finish – whether you’re looking for a budget break or a bespoke itinerary.’
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