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Crystal Ski - gobsmacked

 Poster: A snowHead
Poster: A snowHead
Just wondered what some of you guys think about this.

Before I start I should say I've used Crystal oodles of times in the past from early 90's to present and always found them them to good. Having said that nothing has ever gone wrong. Usually have 3 or 4 trips a year so well seasoned traveler (although mostly DIY these days) so I think fairly well measured in my expectations and response.

Had a week over New Year in Austria, due to depart Sat 30th Dec but flight cancelled due to delays in Chambery and ended up flying out on the afternoon of 31st Dec, eventually arriving at hotel 21:15 on New Years Eve. Not an ideal start and not what we had in mind when deciding to celebrate New Year in the alps!

Reps in resort took back the 6 day pre-booked ski passes, returned these unused to the lift pass office, then re-issued new 5 day passes to start on the Monday, rather than the Sunday as originally planned and agreed to refund the difference in Euros, but despite asking for this many times it never was paid to us.

On return to the UK I contact Crystal Ski and request compensation for the shortened holiday and at the same time a request for the money owed for the overpaid ski passes. Their response as follows:

Quote:

I was very sorry to learn of your experience on this occasion but would explain that flight delays and cancellations that occur on the day of travel are beyond our direct control as a tour operator and we are unable to accept any claims in this respect as we are not bound by the EU regulations which only refer to the airline. I would therefore kindly ask that you contact TUI Airways directly in respect of any claims you wish to make at either the email address or postal address below:

aftertravelcustomersupport@tuiuk.com
After Travel Customer Support
Thomson Airways
Wigmore House
Wigmore Lane
Luton
LU2 9TN

Thank you once again for taking the time and trouble to contact us.

Kind regards
Kevin Harland
Customer Advisor
Ski, Lakes and Mountains


I'm just a bit baffled and staggered by this response. I've always held Crystal in high esteem. I spoke with their customer services team while waiting for the delayed flight out and it was suggested that pro-rata refund for missed days as well as compensation for screwing up New Years eve as well as ski pack pro-rata refunds would be processed almost as a matter of course on our return. For me that is the minimum they should be doing and was therefore gobsmacked to receive the cheap reply above and I was just wondering if any of you guys have had similar issues in the past and how your experiences compare. In countless number of holidays I've never had anything go pear shaped quite like this so have no reference point.
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@smithski, if there is a flight delay of more than 3 hours aren't you entitled to compensation of up to €250 per person? Or something like that?
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@Sack the Juggler, yeah but that's through the airline and I'll look at that separately, thanks. My disappointment is with Crystal and not sticking to their half of the bargain on things which had nothing to do with the airline.
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They are both part of TUI. I'd stick with going after Crystal.
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smithski wrote:
@Sack the Juggler, yeah but that's through the airline and I'll look at that separately, thanks. My disappointment is with Crystal and not sticking to their half of the bargain on things which had nothing to do with the airline.
yeah, it does sound odd, if they got a full refund of the 6 day pass and then purchased a 5 day pass then they should pass the difference on if you have paid them for a 6 day pass, although not sure how much the difference would be.
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Doesn't your insurance cover it?
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Doesn't your insurance cover it?
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Doesn't your insurance cover it?
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smithski, Having swopped your lift passes they should at least give you the days refund - hope you kept it Smile As I suspect you paid for 6 days and they issued you with 5. As they are unused they will re issue them to another group who are there for 6 days.
We found years ago Crystal not to be trusted and have DIYed since. They will probably offer you a £100 voucher off your next booking, ours went in the bin years ago.
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the difference isn't much, only around 30 euros, not sure why they couldn't get it done in resort but that's irrelevant now. Whats most annoying is not the 30 euros but the response from Crystal UK who on the face of it just don't give a damn. It's a shame cause I know people who work for Crystal and I thought they were better than that
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@Bones, Exactly. We could have just kept and used the six day pass but I guess they swindled us Sad
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@smithski, Have I missed something. Reps in the resort took your 6 day lift pass and reissued a 5 day pass. Had you already paid for a 6 day pass? If so then they stole your money. It is a criminal offence and should be reported to the police. Your lift pass was stolen by deception.
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@cameronphillips2000, No I had cheapskate insurance. Paid for 7 nights hotel half board, received 6 nights. Crystal failed to provide the services and they should do more to recompence I think.
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 You know it makes sense.
You know it makes sense.
johnE wrote:
@smithski, Have I missed something. Reps in the resort took your 6 day lift pass and reissued a 5 day pass. Had you already paid for a 6 day pass? If so then they stole your money. It is a criminal offence and should be reported to the police. Your lift pass was stolen by deception.


Nope, you haven't missed anything at all. You have it spot on.
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Otherwise you'll just go on seeing the one name:
This is clearly a criminal offence and you should pursue Crystal for the cash and/or report them to the police (but I doubt if French or UK police would be interested).
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We have booked a ski holiday with Crystal ski and we are leaving in two weeks.

We didn't book our skis and passes at the time of booking as we weren't sure what ski pass area to get. I was going to go back to Crystal Ski to book these for us just before we fly out, but I'll get them myself at the resort now as I cannot stand companies ripping their clients off.

I will book with another operator next time.
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Buying your lift pass on the transfer bus is always a good idea. That way you get the benefit of someone collecting it for you. However always pay in Euros. If you pay in pounds the TO exchange rate is always poor.

Never really understood the benefit of pre-booking a lift pass with a TO.
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Well, the person's real but it's just a made up name, see?
marcellus wrote:
out of interest where did you stay for the night of the 30th?

Ah that was another fun moment. Having been at the airport (East Mids) from 12pm to around 9pm they put us up in a nearby hotel. They arranged coaches to transfer the many stranded passengers but as it was new years eve the next day the hotel insisted on kicking us out at 9am as they had early check in deals for NY eve guests. So we had to catch another coach back to the airport at 9am the next day... for a 2.30pm flight. Great. And just to add insult to injury, on the way to the airport the coach driver "accidentally" took the motorway slip road instead of the airport access road, then had to drive 10 miles up the M1, and back, just when we were thinking things could not get any worse!
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@Jehu, I'm not a lawyer, but I doubt whether it would be classed a criminal offence (certainly as you say the French and UK Police won't be interested). However it is prima facie a breach of contract in that smithski didn't receive the full extent of what he'd paid for. I think there are a number of options open to him - he could take Crystal to the Small Claims Court, or register a complaint with ABTA. Possibly the most effective thing might be to post on Crystal's social media (Facebook/Twitter pages) as this seems to get the swiftest response - the company doesn't like thousands of potential customers reading about how the company has acted badly.

@smithski, Good luck with getting your justified recompense!


Last edited by You need to Login to know who's really who. on Wed 17-01-18 18:56; edited 1 time in total
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FastCarver74 wrote:
Never really understood the benefit of pre-booking a lift pass with a TO.


Agreed, but in this case there was an offer of discounted ski carriage with pre paid lift pass so it worked out best to do it that way. That was just for one pass min you, the other passes were bought in resort (for a wholly different reason)
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@Alastair Pink, Several options to consider - thanks for the suggestions.
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Grrrr. That would really tick me off. I wonder if a phone call wouldn't work better, explaining that you've been a long time customer, understand that weather is out of anyone's control etc., but A) you should receive cash compensation, as promised, for the less expensive 5-day pass and B) hope that Crystal Ski would help make you whole for the shortened holiday, as you hope to book with them in the future.

To be honest I wouldn't expect anything but a voucher, that's normal as the delay was out of their hands and there's no specific promise of recompense in your contract or through your insurer. I've just always found that getting on the phone leads to a better result. It's way to easy to just say "no" via impersonal email.

Nonetheless, I completely understand your frustration and disappointment. Any service that overdelivers when things go wrong gets my repeat business.
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@Sack the Juggler, I wouldn't necessarily avoid crystal in the future, as I say I have had many decent trips with them, but it's certainly tainted my view for the time being and leaves a very sour taste. They are firmly in the Ryanair category of "only as a last resort or if the price is too good to be true" as things stand
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TUI for flight delay

everything else I would chase up Crystal for. (ideally you would have logged a complaint at the time!)
loss of night accommodation, loss of day.
loss of enjoyment (im guessing you did not enjoy your holiday as much!), loss of value (this certainly happened - ie lift pass, loss of night, etc!), out of pocket expenses, etc.
The reps was the ones who took & swapped your lift pass. Crystal reps, not TUI flight crew!
Up to you what you think is a fair value for loss of value + loss of enjoyment!

In doubt you can contact ABTA &/or ATOL - maybe tell Crystal you are going to, as they will get an automatic fine just for the issue to be investigated!

If you paid by credit card (not debit card) then you may be covered under section 75 - so worth speaking to them.

Do not contact your travel insurance yet, as even a query is logged as a claim & that could put up next years premiums!


Last edited by You'll get to see more forums and be part of the best ski club on the net. on Wed 17-01-18 19:00; edited 1 time in total
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@Pasigal, Agreed, and have tried to speak by phone, but they insist all compensation type queries are done so via email and wouldn't entertain it any further. Their pre-holiday customer service is great, the chap I spoke to at length while waiting for the delayed flight out was pleasant, even so mush as to suggest possible outcomes on our return, all sounded very customer orientated and keen to work hard for customer retention. But now it's a different story altogether, they simply don't want to know, at least that is the impression I have from the reply received earlier today, i will sit in judgement a little longer to see what if anything comes from my counter reply.
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smithski wrote:
@Pasigal, Agreed, and have tried to speak by phone, but they insist all compensation type queries are done so via email and wouldn't entertain it any further. Their pre-holiday customer service is great, the chap I spoke to at length while waiting for the delayed flight out was pleasant, even so mush as to suggest possible outcomes on our return, all sounded very customer orientated and keen to work hard for customer retention. But now it's a different story altogether, they simply don't want to know, at least that is the impression I have from the reply received earlier today, i will sit in judgement a little longer to see what if anything comes from my counter reply.


email is better.. They will always fob you off in the hope you go away! & if you go to court, you got all the proof you have tried to settle it without involving the justice system!
Any idea what the technical reason was for the delay? was it down to weather? because you can prove if it wasnt by showing planes taking off & landing from the same airports (dont mater about destinations - just proving the airports was open & handling traffic).

Dont give up.. took me 20 months to get a payout from Enter Air for a delayed flight!
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This just serves to reinforce my view never to get anything through the TO that I can buy directly from the supplier be that lift passes, equipment, instruction or whatever else. I take@smithski, point about the saving that prompted it but I'd sooner pay more than leave things in the hands of some gap year kid with a biblical hangover. You get the spin these days that they are not targeted to sell the extras etc but their enthusiasm to persuade me every time makes me seriously doubt that.

Off to Obergurgl with them a week on Saturday and always wary of this flight as their pilots are typically not qualified to land at Innsbruck on instruments, so potential for diversion to Munich etc is high. We'll see.
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@FastCarver74, Apparently Italy have forbidden reps moving round coaches en route to resort, so no selling happened on board just before Christmas Turin --> Cervinia.
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I will add to this........

I am still working on my complaint letter to Crystal as I was on the same flight as Mr Smith. I can second his views and add that the resort reps were as much use as a chocolate fireguard! Can you believe this ??????? after 24 hours at east midlands airport and our request for private transfers ignored, (we asked for this as we had all paid inflated prices to spend the new year in resort, the new flight time meant we missed the new year gala meals...private transfers without multiple stops could have got us there) the rep on the coach transfer (when trying to sell us VIP passes to Crazy Daisy's for 15 euro's when the door price was 8 euro's!!!!!!) actually said "I should be there now and not with you" I was speechless. I saw the said rep later that night who could barely walk and resisted having a word!
We had no contact from the reps from the minuet we got there, no welcome meeting, no resort info, no ski area info etc... I got a text about a bar crawl that was later cancelled. I wasn't in the mood to pay for a night out with a group of reps that could not answer a single question regarding our holiday mess! I have snowboarded multiple times and worked things out for myself but some people were on their first trip. Considering our new year was ruined I am appalled we were just left to find things out for ourselves.

Anyway....... I have put a claim in with TUI and guess what ? There having none of it! here's their reply......

Thank you for taking the time to contact us regarding your flight delay claim.

In a limited number of circumstances Regulation 261/2004 of the European Union (“the Regulation”) now entitles some affected customers to a payment when their flight is delayed over three hours on arrival.

In light of the Supreme Court ruling on 31st October 2014 we have investigated the claim for flight TOM7622 from East Midlands to Salzburg and our delay handling logs show that the flight was delayed due to bad weather condition.

So as to help both customers and airlines, the European Commission has recently published draft guidelines as to what amounts to extraordinary circumstances. This list was prepared with the assistance of the various national bodies responsible for regulating the aviation industry across Europe.

In this draft, the Commission has intimated that the following would be considered extraordinary circumstances:

11. Closure of either the airport of departure or airport of arrival due these conditions and events.
An operating air carrier shall not be obliged to pay compensation in accordance with Article 7, if it can prove that the delay is caused by extraordinary circumstances which could not have been avoided even if all reasonable measures had been taken.
The circumstances surrounding the delay to your flight TOM7622 are classified as extraordinary circumstances under Regulation 261/2004 of the European Union. Therefore we reject your claim for compensation under this regulation.

Thank you again for contacting us.
Yours sincerely,
Denis Samuel

Contact Centre Advisor

TUI Customer Contact Team email: Aftertravel.Flightdelay@tui.co.uk


Both TUI and Crystal have washed their hands of it............ shocking!
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I will add, I too bought a six day pass before flying that has not been refunded...
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@smithski, Just as an aside, how did you pay for your holiday? If credit card was used, even for a minimum of £100 you can claim back through them. I do all my payments through a credit card, then pay them off out of my account for this very reason. I can't remember the exact clause, but Martin Lewis may have some advice, either direct, or by checking his website... https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/shopping/section75-protect-your-purchases
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Mr.Egg wrote:
Any idea what the technical reason was for the delay? was it down to weather? because you can prove if it wasnt by showing planes taking off & landing from the same airports (dont mater about destinations - just proving the airports was open & handling traffic).


Not 100% sure, heard numerous rumours but no hard facts. But essentially it boils down to TUI trying to squeeze two charter flights using the same aircraft on the same day. This may be typical or not, I don't know. Chambery to EMA and then EMA to Salzburg (our flight). The aircraft was held up at Chambery, I don't know whether this was due to waiting for passengers who had delayed transfers, or due to adverse weather preventing take off, or maybe a combination of the two. Is there a publicly viewable log of flight movements that we can reference? The plane did eventually land at EMA at 8pm, but we were told there was insufficient time to turn it around and fly to Salzburg before a curfew at Salzburg at 11pm. We were subsequently told that the curfew was 10pm, no idea which, if any, is correct. They could have down more, made more effort, but they chose not to.

So anyway the flight didn't happen that night and this aircraft went on to other business elsewhere, the "earliest" TUI could arrange another flight was at 2.30pm the next day.


Last edited by Obviously A snowHead isn't a real person on Wed 17-01-18 20:27; edited 1 time in total
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@OuchMyKnee, it was debit card IIRC, irks me to pay the c/card fee for holidays/flights etc.
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smithski wrote:
@OuchMyKnee, it was debit card IIRC, irks me to pay the c/card fee for holidays/flights etc.


Shame, I always DIY my trips, as for the C/C fees, hasn't that just been kicked into touch last week by an EU ruling?
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@Mr.Egg, I should add that there were no weather conditions at East Midlands airport whatsoever, nor at Salzburg.

You know something else that upset a lot of people? Crystal knew on the Friday about the "potential" travel disruption because they issued a text message to passengers advising so. Yet they took no further measures to attempt to avoid situations like this. They could have done more.
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@OuchMyKnee, Oooh I hope so, certainly it wasn't when we booked, that was only end of Nov.
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Can sympathise with both sides here. Flight delay compensation is down to the airline, so no point pursuing Crystal for that. However I very much doubt you'd get anything as it has to be the fault of the airline and I would think the extreme weather conditions that caused all the disruption give them a get-out clause.

However you did lose an entire 24 hours of your holiday including a night's accommodation, there may be grounds for some kind of refund here. However, Crystal won't have got a single penny back from the hotel for your late arrival, so are very unlikely to be able to refund you anything. This again really should be a travel insurance job, things liek this are exactly what you have travel insurance for.

The lift pass question sounds like poor communication/organisation from resort reps more than anything. As a resort rep (not for Crystal but a large rival of theirs) we were always told not to make any sort of promises of in resort compensation. Everything to be recorded and then claimed back in UK. Perhaps Crystal work differently though. But if they did indeed return the 6 passes and issue you 5 day passes then there should be a reufunda payable somewhere along the line. Not a criminal offence though, it's not as if the reps would have been pocketing the difference. Reps make no commission on pre-booked passes, and no cash would be changing hands in resort at all since you would have paid for this in UK. I'm struggling to understand why they would have bothered doing this, unless they were instructed by UK management. Worst case scenario is this is simply poor service/organisation by resort staff, but no crime has been committed.

My advice, chase Crystal and don't take no for an answer on the lift passes since you should have documentary evidence that you were only provided with 5 day passes having paid for 6? The rest is less clear. They will also be dealing with hundreds, probably thousands of simialr complaints from everyone affected by the weather, so every complaint will be getting a quick, standard answer.
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@smithski, Weather delays / cancellations are not covered by the EU regs so that's a non-starter. That Saturday / Sunday was a huge well documented storm which caused widespread chaos

The rep has played you re the ski pass but hey - perhaps find it in your heart to give a poor downtrodden (if cheeky) seasonaire a break? Little Angel

Totally agree with the comment above re insurance - make double damn sure that your policy covers these type of weather-related events. Lloyds TSB is very good in that respect and very cheap too


Last edited by After all it is free Go on u know u want to! on Wed 17-01-18 20:37; edited 1 time in total
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@vinnyhull, But was either EMA or Salzburg airports affected by bad weather? smithski's original post here seems to suggest that the original flight was cancelled due to delays in Chambery (presumably affecting the aircraft which was due to arrive at EMA?) and not weather conditions at EMA or Salzburg. If that's the case then TUI's reference 11 of extraordinary circumstances being "Closure of either the airport of departure or airport of arrival due (to?) these conditions and events" for which they don't have to pay compensation plainly doesn't apply!
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@Alastair Pink, see post above @19:31 - absolutely no weather issues at departure or arrival airport.

Not sure if the reg exemptions apply to knock on effects or widespread chaos as a result of localised storm geographically not related to departure or arrival airport of flight in question
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