Wednesday, 17 September 2008
XL and all that stuff
Just over a week ago, l was scanning through the business pages of one of the daily broadsheets, not really taking in what was written, when an article caught my eye, the headlines read, 'XL Leisure Group enters refunding talks'. I re-read the article twice just to make sure l my eyes were not deceiving me.
I think my heart stopped beating for a moment or two, thoughts of the Zoom fiasco flashed in front of my eyes. At times of crisis, l guess the internet is an excellent source of information so there l was, googling XL.com trying to find out more. For the next 2 days nothing, no news absolutely nowt.
The problem, you see, was that l had booked tickets with XL flying out of East Midlands to Corfu in the next 4 days. Would the company find a backer or would it fold? As the departure date crept ever closer, still no news. Press releases had stated that a decision would be reached at the end of the week.......... nothing. No news is good news? I don't think so, l had a gut feeling that the company was as they say, going to go 'tits up'.
Being self-employed, holidays are few and far between, eagerly anticipated, a case of escaping from the daily routine to relax and re-charge before going hell for leather again. For the past few years, after the the schools have gone back and the season is starting to return to its normal pace, we have departed en-mass to Corfu for a week's r & r. No different this year except, XL.
A hurriedly arranged crisis meeting was called around the breakfast table, topics discussed included what if there is no plane on monday and what do we do if we couldn't get back? The boys were fine , they were flying out of Birmingham with Monarch, it was just us & the in-laws.
After rather a large intake of breath, it was decided, unanimously l might add, to re-book flights with another carrier. Call us mad, but what option was there, could we really take the risk of loosing out on the long awaited holiday?
So there you have it. Seats were booked through First Choice.
The holiday was wonderful. The sun shone, the sea was deliciously warm, the temperature lolled around in the high 30'C and the villa was a dream. The boys swam and raced around in motor boats, we ate at waterside tavernas and drank copious amounts of retsina, the stress from the past 12 months was starting to drift off into the ether.
So what was happening to XL we wondered? Had we been plain daft in changing flights? Texts, followed by eagerly read news reports, care of the BBC web pages, told us otherwise. Groups of XL flight only travelers huddled around their suitcases on monday at Corfu airport waiting for a seat to, well anywhere, really brought home to us that the days of cheap airline seats are gone for the time being.