Last week and quite unexpectedly my Father passed away. To say I am heartbroken is something of an understatement.
Amidst the inevitable sadness and upset at a time like this, it doesn’t take very long to pull together a list of what needs to be done, and one of the tasks I had to do was contact Brittany Ferries to cancel or perhaps re-schedule my crossing which was booked for this coming Sunday (01 July) from Plymouth to Santander and set to return about 16 days later into Portsmouth.
As my trip was just a week or so away and there was no way I would consider going and missing my Dads funeral, quite apart from whether I would be in a fit state to wander around Spain and Portugal on my bike. I rang the day after my Dad had passed away.
It’s difficult to describe the quality of the service that I received, I think I may have been rambling through the tears when I ‘phoned but the lady who dealt with me quite simply could not have done any more. She took just the necessary details, told me that was all she needed, told me not to worry about the booking and to ‘phone back when I had dealt with other more important things.
Yesterday we finalized the arrangements for my Dads funeral and so today I called back to reschedule my booking. Once again it was quite simply top quality service, my booking has been amended to later this month (slightly different due to availability, so I’ll be traveling out from Portsmouth instead of Plymouth and traveling back to Plymouth instead of Portsmouth). It was done in the most helpful and courteous manner and the normal amendment fee was waived ‘due to the circumstances’
But there is more: Because of the way the timings for my solo trip have moved back my wife and I decided to cancel another ferry booking (to Spain) that we had for August and we will now probably spend some time in Scotland and be pretty flexible about when we travel. I was able to cancel that booking on-line and was prepared to quite rightly lose the £40 deposit that I had paid some months ago … but guess what? Brittany Ferries have refunded that to me as well ‘due to the circumstances’
And there is even a bit more: Not only did they treat me with great dignity, respect and understanding of my situation – today a lovely bouquet of flowers arrived with a suitable note expressing condolences.
They really didn’t have to do any of that – but they took the time out to do it and I was genuinely touched by that gesture and the way they have handled my changed bookings – I really don’t think they could have done anymore.
I have traveled the Spain route a few times now with Brittany Ferries and readers of this Blog will know I have spoke highly of them in the past (see this post from 2016) and this one from last year. I guess it’s things like this that make a real difference.
Having done more European trips than I can recall over the last 15 years or so on bikes, and many more in cars I know we always take account of departure and arrival points, cost, service, convenience and all of that – but I for one have never ever stopped and thought about how I might be treated if I’m dealt a real personal blow such as what happened to me a few days ago – and my reason for sharing what really is a personal experience is because I genuinely think this sort of stuff is worth shouting about and being aware of.
I have decided already that I will take the bow that was wrapped around the bouquet with me when I go and when I find somewhere that is just right, I’ll have a quick word with my Dad and I will leave it to blow in the wind.
Well done to Brittany Ferries I am so grateful for the way they have treated me and actually, I think the flowers were a pretty classy touch as well.