Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Making a Start

You might have come across my reviews on TripAdvisor for example.  I always try to do a straight job, and treat both the prospective customer and the proprietor with respect and fairness.  In truth, I am easily pleased.  It takes something really off the mark to provoke me  to serious criticism, and I suspect that most folk are of the same disposition.
Having said that, I now risk contradicting myself by listing the ways in which I am often displeased.  The thing is, we are a family with some special requirements.  I am a diet-controlled diabetic, my wife is somewhat disabled, my daughter is a strict vegetarian, and my son is a health-conscious healthcare professional who will not countenance second-rate food, and at six-feet-four has legroom issues.  You can tell we can present a challenge to those who run airlines, restaurants and hotels.  The challenge is not always well-received.
It can make for interesting conversations, especially when we all travel together.
Airports have those electric buggies for disabled passengers, don't they?  You try booking one, with the airport, with the airline, or with your travel agent.  The only time we got one was when we didn't book and Qantas came up with one without asking.  Full marks to them.
Some restaurants are very helpful when it comes to special needs.  Others not.  Typical questions and answers:
'Is xxx easily accessible for disabled guests?' -  'Oh, it's only three flights up/ a five-minute walk (translates to ten minutes and twenty for a handicapped person.)/ round the corner.  Only!  How often we hear that word.
'Have you anything for vegetarians?' -  'I can do you an omelette.'
'I can't eat  fries/potatoes; can I have salad/vegetables instead?' -  'I can do you a side-order.  It'll be ---- extra.'
Things like this get my attention and get me cross.
I get especially cross with the way people are treated at airports, and I hate Heathrow with double passion: triple if we happen to be flying with BA.
On the bright side, we often get excellent service,  and I am always glad to comment on that, too.

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