Friday, 20 May 2016

Most relaxing holiday ever: Why you should avoid Thomson holidays

Most relaxing holiday ever: Why you should avoid Thomson holidays Protur Bonaire Aparthotel in Cala Bona, Majorca.

I promised I would update on the catalogue of errors that was our Thomson family holiday to Protur Bonaire Aparthotel in Cala Bona, Majorca. 


This is going to be fairly long but hell, even if no one reads it, it's cathartic. And God, I need that.

We last braved a holiday nine months before the baby was born (er, yea), when the toddler was 10.5 months, the same age as the baby is now. It was fairly restful, relatively speaking - I think I even got to read a book - and we thought we would do it again with the same formula; Balearic island, all inclusive family-friendly resort with Nanny and Grandad. Outnumbering children in a 2:1 ratio seemed like a very good idea.

This time we booked through Thomson, or TUI, or whatever they are called now. It was an early evening flight, leaving at bed time and arriving some time after meltdown-o-clock, so the day was spent relaxing in the way only people facing impending doom can. We re-packed several times to make sure that we had no idea what was in which suitcase and didn't even consider the fact that we wouldn't be able to carry everything without relying on the kindness of strangers at the car park.

Somehow what I imagined I
would be doing. But didn't.
Our first indication that something wasn't right was on arrival at the airport. 

They had clearly double booked our seats and moved us right to the back of the aeroplane, as far away from the toilets as we could have been, which was ideal when travelling with two small poop machines. 

After an unexplained delay, we took off. The toddler was ecstatic at being allowed to play on the iPad unrestricted and was unnervingly quiet, and the baby eventually fell asleep, so things seemed to be going alright; at least until we arrived and waited an hour for our baggage and buggies, at which point there was no room left on the transfer bus. Uh oh. Seems the double booking theory was probably right after all. Rather than, say, switching around seats with someone with fewer overtired, unhappy children, a sour-faced rep pointed ourselves and another poor young family towards a different bus. After a further 45 minutes of waiting, and listening to angry Spanish to-and-fro between the driver and the rep, it was confirmed that the bus would be taking us to our hotel, seemingly against the driver's will. 

There were few seats left, so my husband and I had to take a child each on our laps for the journey which, although advertised as an hour, was in fact closer to two. It was desperately uncomfortable. Added to the wait for baggage and the bus, it was around four hours between landing and arriving at the hotel, where we were delighted to to find that there was no cot set up in the room, or spare sheets, or anything really, despite assurances ten minutes earlier from the staff at check in that it was all ready. So that was fun at 2am. Tears may have been shed at this point.

When we had gone on holiday previously, the toddler had just started pulling herself up on the furniture. 

I recall it was a bit tricky, what with the hard flooring everywhere and distinct lack of carpets and cushioning. The baby decided that now was the perfect time to decide two legs was his preferred mode of getting around and the first thing he did when placed down - as we had no cot or other method of restraining him - was stand up, take two steps and launch himself head first into the coffee table.

Somehow, and not without a fight, we managed to get everyone down to sleep.

The next few days passed more or less without incident. It was sunny, we did some swimming, the kids ate a dangerous amount of sugar, wouldn't wear hats and hated having suncream applied. The baby fell over a lot. We accumulated a lot of inflatable animals left behind by other families. Against all odds we even managed a few buggy naps, even the toddler who has never ever napped in a buggy and gave up napping long ago. I had to go to the beach and get sand on my toes. Shudder.


On the third day, we had just about recovered from the epic tiredness of night one. It was my mum's birthday, so when the kids were in bed we had a few drinks on the balcony and went to bed merry and in good spirits. 

Around 1am I woke up, and just about made it into the bathroom before vomiting. Everywhere. This continued at regular intervals throughout the night and over the next morning. I shall spare you the details, suffice to say it was a further two days before I could even look at the buffet let alone consider eating anything from it. Then the baby was hideously sick all over me in the middle of the night, and I went off it anew. 

On our last day, we had a late flight. We had paid for late check out (and confirmed this on arrival) but, predictably this hadn't been activated and we found ourselves locked out of the room. Not a huge issue, and easily sorted, but irritating none the less.

The journey home, however, was when things really started to get good!
Toddler wearing her PJs, having puked on her
clothes...
The bus was, of course, half an hour late. An hour or so into the supposed-to-be-a-hour-but-actually-two transfer, the toddler vomited. Big style. She continued to do this all the way to the airport, at which point the baton was handed to nanny and daddy. Somehow we managed to get checked in, at which point we had to race to the gate as the screens claimed boarding was already taking place. It wasn't.

After another hour of waiting around, punctuated by regular bathroom dashes, we finally joined the queue to get on to the plane. Daddy had to make a last minute run to the toilet so we boarded without him, which we told the staff. The stewardess then started whispering to her colleagues, and words such as 'fit to fly' were bandied around. Finally, my poor, sweaty, husband arrived on the plane and sat down with us, much to my relief.

That relief was short lived.

We didn't take off. A few announcements from the captain and a lot of people rushing past and having whispered conversations later, he was told by the stewardess that she had spoken to the powers-that-be and they had decided he couldn't fly; they could not take our word it was food poisoning and had to be cautious. 

I was then told, as he disembarked to be whisked off to the hospital, that I would have to identify our bags as they wouldn't be able to travel with me. I was left wondering how the bloody hell I was going to cope with two small kids (albeit one soundly asleep, thank you nap gods, and one entirely engrossed in the iPad at this point - I knew it was worth downloading the entirety of CBeebies) and no stuff, and texting my husband to find out where the car parking ticket was whilst realising neither of us would have access to a phone charger, or pants, when they came back to tell me that the doctors had looked him over and had confirmed he had gastroenteritis, and he could fly after all.

A slightly less sweaty-looking but no less sick husband was returned to me shortly afterwards. 
The plane - due to take off at 10pm - was delayed by an hour and a half. 
The rest of the passengers were as happy as you'd imagine. We were mortified, the kids were awake now and very tired, I was in pieces, and daddy, nanny and the toddler were all sick repeatedly on the flight. Daddy is still being sick now, two days later. I doubt we will be eating from a buffet any time soon.

Most relaxing holiday ever.

The experience brought home to me several things; firstly how much I absolutely love my children with every fibre of my being. Seeing them vomit and be poorly made me actually want to strangle whoever was responsible for their misery with my bare hands. I'll probably settle for sending several very strongly worded emails, maybe even speaking loudly at someone on the phone if it doesn't get resolved. But I hope they don't test me that way. Secondly, how amazing they both are. They dealt with the whole thing a hell of a lot better than I did. The toddler didn't cry once; even when tired and shivering and vomiting, she still wanted chips. She wants to go back on holiday. She's obviously a bit weird.

I have of course sent a letter of complaint, but they declined to apologise, bunch of w*nkers. I've also put this blog post on Thomson's Facebook page which you can visit here!

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107 comments:

  1. I just in the mid of booking a holiday for january, a 14 hour flight with a stop over with just me, ben and sonny! (sonny will be on my lap as a very large 20 month old!!!) I feel like maybe I should rethink this!

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    1. I'm sure you'll be fine... just give the Protur Bonaire in Cala Bona a wide berth!

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  2. Oh my god Frances, this is horrendous! I've been looking at booking a package holiday for the 4 of us but this has totally put me off All-Inclusive and especially Thomson/Tui. The whole thing sounds so stressful. I hope you all feel better soon xx

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    1. Thank you. I've been on a few before and loved them, but neither were with Thomson. At the moment the thought of another buffet makes my stomach lurch!

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  3. I'm actually furious reading this. I can't believe the comedy of errors you've had to PAY to endure, or really it's a tragedy. And this is the second time in a week that ive heard bad things about thompsons, definitely would not touch this company with a barge pole.

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    1. A comedy of errors... indeed. Hopefully they will sort it out and there will be a happy ending, once husband stops puking!

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  4. I'm glad you managed a few days nice and even a nap! Even though Thomson did their best to ruin it. Won't be booking through them in a hurry.

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    1. I definitely couldn't recommend them! The reps were pretty rubbish, I could have gone on and on... but not sure anyone would have made it to the end :)

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  5. Everything u have written is like my worst nightmare and the reason I won't be taking Braiden and Brylee on a plane or on a package holiday any time soon!!! Id be so gutted if this happened to me!! not good enough when ur paying big money is it. I hope ur feeling better soon Hun xxx

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    1. Thank you Lisa. It's such a shame as our first holiday was a great experience!

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  6. Oh my god ���� what a nightmare!

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  7. Wow, that sounds like an episode of holidays from hell! I bet you're glad to be home. I hope your poor hubby is feeling better now #effitfriday
    Debbie

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    1. It flipping felt like one too! I am indeed although we've hidden in the house for two days. Time to unpack really...ugh...

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  8. I'm surprised by this as I'd always thought of Thomson's as a reputable and professional company (unlike First Choice, who will always be my Last Choice for holidays). Aren't Thomson's the ones who have The Rednapps in their advert looking all relaxed and blissful? Seems like false advertising given your catalogue of issues.

    Liz & co.

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    1. Thanks Liz.
      I don't know - we went with First Choice last time I think and it went without a hitch. Well, it rained, but I don't think that was their fault. This time it was just a case of if something can go wrong, it will. And it did.

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  9. Wow ������

    Jaw-droppingly awful standards for such a well-known company. I couldn't believe it when I read the part about you finally getting there at 2am and there being no cot, that would've had me in tears.

    Actually, this reminds that I read something else shocking about Thomson's on Facebook last week too. Two horror stories in two weeks is way too many in my opinion. I hope you get a full apology and a refund!

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  10. Oh no Fran how awful!! Bless you. Yes make mega noisy complaints - don't they know who you ARE? Much love xxx

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    1. I've posted on their Facebook page. Apparently this is 'concerning to read' as opposed to them being sorry?? Hmmm...

      https://www.facebook.com/Thomsonholidays/posts/10153419006037583?hc_location=ufi

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  11. Oh my good god! Sue! Sue! Sue their pants off! And pour the gin. It's Friday and you made it through alive. Mish Xxx

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    1. It's wine tonight. I've missed nice wine. Poor husband still can't stomach anything...

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  12. Oh my goodness. You poor things, and so blooming unfair. A holiday should be just that, a relaxing, restful time! I hope you get some well deserved compensation and the chance of another break away. Flipping buffet too - hope everyone is feeling better now x

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    1. Yes this was the polar opposite to relaxing. Won't be touching a buffet again!

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  13. Crikey, this was an awful read! I really feel for you and your whole family - I had a recent bout of gastroenteritis and a plane is the absolute last place I would want to be. Can't believe that they managed to mess up at every possible stage - I think arriving at 2am to find there was no cot would have had me in floods of tears to be honest!

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    1. Gastroenteritis is the pits anywhere but at least if you're at home you can hole up in the loo with a bucket. UGH! It did. I won't lie!

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  14. Oh my goodness! I feel ill just reading. I had 3 bouts of sickness in a row last year. I dont know how I would have coped on holiday! What a terrible service from the hotel! Hope you are recovering from your relaxing holiday!!

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    1. I think everyone is on the mend, but we won't be returning any time soon!

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  15. Oh my goodness, I shuddered when I read this. You poor things. I haven't got any similar tales to tell, as we never took ours on a plane until the youngest was 8. You'll look back on these memories when they are all grown up and laugh about it!

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    1. I hope I do! Seriously traumatic, not over it by a long shot!

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  16. Wow! I love chuckling at your blog and know you can see the funny side of most situations so that just emphasises how hideous this must have been for you all. They had better give you some great compo. I am terrified of taking my baby on holiday as I find them very stressful and the in-laws have been pushing us to go on a Thomson deal with them and now I am so glad I held out. You need a Staycation to recover.

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    1. No word from them yet, I'm getting increasingly frustrated!

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  17. It does sound like quite an ordeal from flights to sickness. I really feel for you, so not what you want on your family holiday. I do have a great Cornish alternative for family fun holidays, though sun not necessarily included! #KCACOLS

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    1. It's becoming very tempting - had some lovely holidays in Cornwall as a child. And yes, it rained.

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  18. Goodness I bet you're glad to be home (at well again). What a nightmare!! #KCACOLS

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    1. Sure am. Never been happier to see my front door!

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  19. I thought I had commented on your post but I can't find my comment so I will say it again! This is a complete disgrace and not the sort of thing you expect to happen when booking a holiday with a reputable holiday company. It will deter me from booking anything with them! #KCACOLS

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    1. Thank you. No, all the little things added up to become one huge disaster!

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  20. OH my word! Sounds like you definitely need another holiday to recover. It's amazing sometimes just how well your kids do cope in a situation such as this. I hope you're all feeling well and better now. #KCACOLS

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    1. Thanks Cheryl, I am all better and the kids and husband are too now. Thank goodness!

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  21. How awful! I hope you get some compensation from this.
    #KCACOLS

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    1. Well, hopefully we will get something... but not even an apology as yet!

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  22. Oh dear that does sound stressful. How horrid you were all so ill. I went travelling with my son for a month and illness was my biggest fear. We were really lucky though, apart from me having a few pairs full injuries we both stayed pretty healthy. It really does ruin everything. Hope you all get to rest up now. #KCACOLS

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  23. Oh just no, no, no - I was gasping through the most of this post - how horrific? what an ordeal? Just terrible for you all. Animperfectmum has just written a wonderful post about a staycation - have a read lovely #KCACOLS

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  24. That's horrible! A holiday you won't forget - for all the wrong reasons!!! We went to South Africa last year and they'd changed the documents needed to travel with children in between us booking and leaving. We found out when we were due to board the plane ... We ended up flying a few days later than we planned as we had to wait for the correct documentation to come through. Last time I looked the company we'd booked with hadn't updated their website - even though we were told that 200 plus people had gone though the same experience!

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    1. Oh goodness! At least this wasn't long haul. Not sure we would have survived!

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  25. Oh no, how awful :( You expect a holiday to be relaxing, even with little ones. It sounds like you need another just to get over this one.
    I hope everyone is feeling better now.

    Laura xx
    Thanks so much for linking up at #KCACOLS. Hope you come back again next Sunday :)

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  26. oh my goodness, this all sounds horrific :( so sorry you went through all of this. not fun at all. we went to lanzarote when b was 9 mths and he got ill two days in. wouldn't sleep, wouldn't eat, was grouchy. had to see a doctor every day and put him on antibiotics. pool was freezing and we couldn't take him swimming. and then when we flew back to Bristol, Thomas cook seemed to take 3 hours just to get the bloody pram out. a lot to be said for Haven hols in the UK haha #KCACOLS

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    1. I think that's probably what we will look at next time - weather will be crap but at least we can drive home

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  27. Oh god I found holidaying with our 13 month old, then 20 month old stressful enough without all the dramas you had... You poor things! Maybe you'll join us in staycations for the next few years?! #KCACOLS

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  28. Jings, this sounds horrific! Poor you! Poor babies! Poor husband! We haven't holidayed abroad for a few years now, as I have fond memories of taking my then 15 month old on holiday about 6 years ago to Spain. It was awful and stressful and tirng - and we only had one kid! Now we have three and are totally outnumbered! I need to make sure the youngest can have his own seat on the plane before we attempt it again! I remember holding a small child for four hours on my knee like it was yesterday!

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    1. It's not comfortable for anyone is it? On the plane, OK, but on the transfer... Really crappy!

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  29. Oh my bloody goodness! This sounds horrendous - hope you get it sorted and get some compensation or SOMETHING for such a shambles. You're right tho - kids are so adaptable and they take everything in their stride :) well done for writing a funny post about it - I don't know if I could've managed not to be too ranty! Thanks for hosting#chucklemums too :)

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    1. Well, it's pretty ranty. I thought I'd give them enough time to respond and if they don't, the beast will be unleashed!

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  30. wow! I feel so bad for you all.. I would have just given up and cried FOREVER! lol - Aww I hope you get another holiday soon.. with a little less vomiting and 'stuff' #chucklemums

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  31. back from #chucklemums - hope you're feeling more relaxed now you've been home for a little while x

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  32. Oh dear. I've just got over a nasty bout of food poisoning and can concur that it is not fun. How on earth you all managed to survive it whilst on a plane and under such stressful conditions I can only imagine!? We were supposed to be giving Majorca a shot for our first family of 4 holiday in Sept. We cancelled it last week in favour of a cottage in Wales until they're just that bit older. I'm currently breathing a sigh of relief. Hope you get the response and compensation that you deserve lovely!
    Thanks for hosting #chucklemums x

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    1. I'm jealous - I'd love a Welsh cottage! Glad you escaped ;)

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  33. Oh my goodness you poor things!! What a bloody nightmare. Bet you are glad to be home!! We are pondering a trip abroad next year but it will be with all my husband's family so lots of people to help with bubba and we'd be going self catered in a big villa, this has definitely confirmed that that's the right move! #chucklemums

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    1. I think self catering is definitely the way to go - unless you get food poisoning and then it's all your own fault!

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  34. Jeepers, that really was hellish! I can remember our daughter being sick on the transfer thats supposed to take one hour but takes two! - it was heinous and we weren't ill so you guys are major league holidaying heroes. I hope you see a good result from your feedback to the hol co. x #chucklemums

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  35. Goodness me how awful!!! Bet you are glad to be back at home in once piece. #chucklemums x

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  36. Poor you!!! Your kids sound like absolute troopers though and I loved your sweet final paragraph! Hope you are all feeling much better now #ChuckleMums

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  37. Oh my days! Holiday from hell by the sounds of it well done on making it home and I hope everyone feels better soon. Fingers crossed you get this resolved with Thomson soon xx #kcacols

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  38. Oh what a shame. Must be horrible having to deal with stress with little uns. I hope they listen to your complaint X #kcacols

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  39. oh my gosh don't know if this makes me chuckle or cry.. poor you and the little ones, that's the least you want to experience when you go abroad..hope next time everything goes better for you all ;)
    #chucklemums

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    1. Thanks - well I try to remain lighthearted but believe me, there were tears

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  40. LOVE this! I live in total constant fear of a stomach bug striking us down. We've just returned from our hols and even though our daughter was perfectly behaved on the flight it was still hard. Thank god for Finding Nemo and Frozen!

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    1. We had Disney Life as well for a free trial, Frozen is a winner

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  41. Oh my goodness! How awful for you all! My husband recently had campylobacter (we think, from a chinese takeaway) and it was no laughing matter!
    Really felt for you reading this - feel bad saying it was funny but it did make me chuckle too! #chucklemums

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    1. Well you have to laugh... although I'll admit, there were tears!

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  42. Oh no! What a trip! Sorry you were all ill, I definitely think you need to get another holiday booked sharpish ;) #KCACOLS xx

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    1. Pff will take a while before I can face that I think!

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  43. Oh goodness, sounds bloody awful for you all. Hope that it gets steadily better with each holiday!!:) It will!!

    mainy

    #KCACOLS

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  44. Oh god bless you x there's nothing worse than puke and poo but when you're on holiday and travelling home I would've been a nervous wreck. We once had two teeth and throat infection in mallorca - great trip! Hope you get a decent response from TUI xx

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    1. Me too - I will keep everyone updated :)

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  45. Oh my goodness. That sounds absolutely horrendous. There's nothing worse than worrying about your kids, let alone in that situation so far from home. You need a holiday to recover. I hope you're all on the mend soon and Thompson reply. #KCACOLS

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    1. Thanks - it was horrible. I will keep everyone updated, hope it isn't too long...

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  46. I used to think that we were the unluckiest family ever, but I am now handing you my crown! This sounds totally awful and I really feel for you. I hope you at least made one or two happy memories... (The sand on your toes thing I can totally empathise with) Hope everyone is feeling better and thanks for hosting xx #chucklemums

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    1. Ha ha thanks - I'll wear that crown with pride. And a hint of sadness.

      Sand...I've a whole blog on it coming. UGH.

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  47. I really felt for you as I was reading down the post. I didn't think it could have got worse. I hope everyone is better now xx

    #KCACOLS

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    1. Thanks Rachel. Physically better but more annoyed every day that they haven't responded...

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  48. A known characteristic of all humans under the age of approximately six-and-three-quarters: put them inside ANY means of transport, and their brains send messages to bowels, kidneys, bladder, etc, giving the instruction 'full speed ahead'. And that's just the healthy ones... [sigh]

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  49. Oh Francis, what an ordeal, and Silly still hasn't got back to you (the FB post comments are incredible, I love Melanies way with words!).

    In all honesty what truly shocking customer service, what an awful memory to take home from a holiday with you.

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    1. Thank you! Yes she has kept me amused, funnily enough they haven't come back to her...

      Still no response! Can you believe it.

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  50. Oh no! How awful! Hope the complaint gets dealt with & you all feel better now! #chuckleums

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    1. Thanks - they are taking their sweet time I tell you!

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  51. Oh.my.god. Hands down - you win. I had to show my OH - who still very much carries the scars of our recent escapade, reassurance we are not the only ones! What a effin nightmare you all had and your poor babies, we'll all of you p! I hope you have now heard back fro Thomson or tui by now? We took grandparents on an earlier holiday this year, it is all about out numbering the babies, strength in numbers! Xx

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  52. This comment has been removed by the author.

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    1. Hi Lizzie, it was the Protur Hotel Bonaire in Cala Bona. At this stage I am STILL awaiting a response!

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  53. You are not the first person I know that Thomson has ignored! I am so so so sorry to read this! I would be fuming and doing lots of very loud shouting at anyone who picked up. This is completely inexcusable. No wonder people are preferring to plan and book holidays away from travel agents!

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  54. I must have missed this first time round and just back from a not relaxing holiday thought I'd read. What an absolute nightmare, it sounds a cock up from start to finish and then food poisoning too... have you had any luck with Thomson yet? Xx

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  55. I must have missed this first time round and just back from a not relaxing holiday thought I'd read. What an absolute nightmare, it sounds a cock up from start to finish and then food poisoning too... have you had any luck with Thomson yet? Xx

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  56. That sounds horrendous, how on earth did you cope!! How did you manage to sill write a funny post!! That's unbelievable, I hope you got it resolved! .

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