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My blood is boiling -- raising the rate of my transfer AFTER confirmation

So I have been researching transfers from Heathrow for weeks. I made a nerdy spreadsheet and all. So I finally decided on Just Airports and booked it last night. I received a confirmation of the rate and other details almost immediately. So I get up today and have an email waiting stating that "The Price on the 25/12/2014 is 61 Pounds because of Christmas Day thanks,"... Ummm, I understood that there might be a premium for traveling on Christmas, but how can they confirm a reservation AND A RATE and then throw in an "oh by the way", it's actually 20 pounds more?! What's the point of putting in the date of my arrival on these quotes if the fares aren't going to be quoted accordingly??? I'm so mad right now. Now I'm back to square one and will have to directly email every single company to find out what the rate REALLY is!
Again, I'm not mad because of the cost, I'm mad that I had a confirmation of one rate and am being told AFTER THE FACT that the confirmed rate is not correct.

Posted by
4566 posts

While I agree that they should have quoted the correct rate upfront, 60 GBP is a decent fare for travel on Christmas Day into London.

Posted by
26383 posts

That's actually much better than I thought you would get on Christmas Day.

I would have thought many would have been happy with £100 on that day.

Posted by
932 posts

I'm mad about the bait and switch. After so much time researching rates, it's like it was all a waste because now I'm wondering if every company's rates are incorrect. I just sent emails to about five other companies asking what their REAL rates are for that date. I'm also looking into Uber who claims their rates are flat.... I haven't (angrily) responded to Just Airports yet because if their fare is the lowest, we'll still end up using them. Again, it wasn't the £61 rate that made me so mad, it was changing it after confirmation. For all this time I thought it was going to cost us between £38-45 and then this bomb is dropped. I suppose this post could be useful for other Christmas travelers in case they're also getting quotes...

Posted by
16169 posts

You have a choice. Tell 'em to drop dead and take the tube, or suck it up and say thanks for taking your time on Christmas day to come to Heathrow and pick me up.

Posted by
932 posts

Sam, the tube doesn't run on Christmas.

Posted by
26383 posts

About Uber's rates - full disclosure, I haven't used them, won't use them on moral grounds, but a very interested observer from the sidelines - my understanding is that they are flexible based on perceived demand and expected route, with variations for major events. To me that means very high rates from the airport into London on Christmas Day. I would be interested to see what they quote you, and if you do use them what your experience is like. Do be sure that they are properly licensed when they collect you. There are large battles all over Europe with Uber, including bans in Germany. (and their home town in the USA).

If you have a dispute with a Uber driver your dispute is not with Uber but the individual.

Posted by
8293 posts

Go with one of the other companies and tell Just Airports why you are cancelling. Don't let your blood boil. Save the blood boiling for more important matters.

Posted by
932 posts

Wow, Nigel! Thank you for the info. I'll be sure to tell you what the response is from them. I will take that into consideration. My friend who has used Uber stateside said there is a $30 credit when you sign up. If I am able to use that when booking, that would make it a very good deal and tempting.... But I also don't want a hassle which is why I did my research to find a company with good feedback from others. Just Airports was mentioned a lot on this site which is part of the reason I leaned towards using them! And any other day but Christmas, none of this would be an issue I'm sure! My worst fear is that we will arrive and no one will be waiting for us. We have 3pm reservations for Christmas dinner in central London (and we've already paid a deposit!) and I'd hate to miss it!

Posted by
21332 posts

If your blood is boiling over 20 pounds, you are going to have a very unpleasant trip because there will be all kinds of unpleasant surprises and changes. If you are devoting this time to a shuttle service - spreadsheets, etc. - I can only guess what the rest of your planning looks like. At least they told you now and not when you are stepping out of the car, "O'by the way, there is a surcharge for Christmas."

Part of the European experience is going with the flow that comes with difference culture, business practices, and the unexpected. This is not the US, and you will not receive the same level or type of customer service. Some will be better and the other just different. A lot of US travelers assume that a service is just there to service them when actually American tourist may be a small part of their business. For the locals, this may be the business practice - quote the standard fare, and then the surcharge. I don't know. But no reason to be "so mad." Lighten up. You will enjoy your trip better.

Posted by
932 posts

Oh Norma, I just now saw your post. Yes, my blood is back to normal temp. It was just such a surprise when I thought that portion of the trip was all set. I've now resigned to the higher price. Luckily I still had email addresses in my inbox so I was able to reply to each company and ask about Christmas Day. I hope to have my "new" ride set up by tomorrow evening! Thanks for all your replies. Very helpful to put things into perspective.

Posted by
658 posts

Hi Amy,

I'm with you - I would be mad too!! If they had just stated the actual rate to begin with, it wouldn't have been an issue. But to tell you after the fact is wrong, in my opinion. I think it's great that you're doing so much pre-planning, as it will make your actual trip just that much more relaxing. I think we all know that travel is unpredictable, but the more research you've done, the better equipped you are to handle whatever unexpected situations arise. Plus, planning and researching a trip is fun! :)

Have a wonderful trip!!

Posted by
4365 posts

Just Airports should have had the correct fare on their site. Someone dropped the ball. They should have sent an email saying that they were going to honor the rate they confirmed with you, but that they made a mistake and the correct rate should have been £61. So now they may lose £61, and not just the £20 extra. Does their website now show the correct rates?

At least you found out about it the very next day. Sure beats showing up to your hotel months later and discovering they won't honor your confirmed reservation...I would be pretty miffed too - ~$100 is quite a bit more than ~$67. But, this may still be your best bet for getting into town on Christmas Day :-(

I've learned that life isn't fair, though, and we have to just let some things go..after several deep breaths... ;-)

Have fun planning your trip!

Posted by
932 posts

Frank, this is my 9th time going to Europe (including living a year abroad in Germany), so I know exactly what to expect once there. (And this will be our second trip to London this year.) And on our journeys, we haven’t had “all kinds of unpleasant experiences”. Unpleasant experiences pop up, but aren’t the norm. “I can only guess what the rest of your planning looks like.” Um, not sure what you meant by that. My nerdy planning helps ensure that our trips are well thought out resulting in little or no unpleasant experiences (in addition to saving money where possible). It’s the people who don’t do thorough planning that probably have more unpleasant experiences or money blown because they don’t know what to expect. Isn't that what this forum is for?! Our trips to Europe have been awesome and I am able to relax and enjoy thanks to all the legwork that I put into it. Yes, I am thankful that they didn’t tell us when we stepped out of the car, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t miffed when the rate was changed on us after confirmation. And hell, even with the customer service that can be expected in Europe, everyone would agree that if they had done that, it would have been dishonest and unfair. I’m well aware that Europe is very different from America, but that doesn’t mean it’s unnatural to be surprised when they came back and changed the quote.
Thank you, Dawn, for your kind words. This will be yet another vacation with awesome memories!

Posted by
932 posts

Eileen, not only does Just Airports' website not show the correct rates, neither does ANY of the other seven + websites that I've looked at. DESPITE the fact that you have to put the date of travel in order to get a quote. I have received new quotes (after a direct email) to most of the eight companies and they're all at least 17 pounds higher than their website. But I think it's a moot point what I think... :D The cheapest quote that I've received is 59 pounds from Express Airport Transfers. I never did cancel with Just Airports. In fact, I emailed them back asking if we could use a saloon car instead of an estate car. For some reason, Just Airports was the only website that said you had to get an estate car for two pieces of checked luggage. Since we're not using suitcases but large backpacks, I asked if we could downgrade to a saloon. We may get an even cheaper fair than 61 pounds if they agree to that.

Posted by
4365 posts

'Saloon' sounds waaaay more fun than stuffy ol' 'Estate' does, anyway!

Just tell those car services that the Christmas trees are already up in the stores here (sigh); it's time they update their websites for Christmas :-) (maybe remind them that for the next several years, Christmas will fall on Dec 25...so they can plan ahead for this next year...)

Posted by
26383 posts

One thing though - you can be fairly certain that Just Airports will be there when you walk out of the frosted glass doors. I've only ever heard positive things about their service.

I'd (personally) keep them, but I'm not the one feeling aggrieved and angry with them.

Posted by
932 posts

Nigel, you are exactly right. That's why I still have the reservation. I have a feeling if I had made a reservation with many of the other companies, the same thing may have happened... I'm going to yoga in a bit and I think any residual anger will be gone after class. :D

Posted by
932 posts

ROFLOL, David!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Yes, I'm type A for sure. Actually, this spreadsheet was one of my simplest. It was just so I could keep track of who I'd gotten rates back on. But oh, how I love spreadsheets. :D
And thank you for the computer lesson. I had no idea how making a change to Christmas Day on their online calendar would be so complicated. I've been talked off the ledge and after getting revised quotes (on a Sunday, no less!), their rate is competitive! I'm probably sticking with them.

Posted by
4365 posts

Adding a simple banner at the top of the webpage to alert you of the upcharge - complete with dancing Christmas trees - would not be a biggie, even if they didn't want to bother with a simple line of programming for Dec 25. But as I said, they DID email you ASAP to let you know.

Amy, I say give your address to David ;-)