Plakias Forums

Plakias => Where to stay => Topic started by: grahame on June 25, 2004, 12:25:31 PM

Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: grahame on June 25, 2004, 12:25:31 PM
This my first posting on the site and unfortunately it's bad news! I've been checking First Choice's website over the weeks for the latest discounts on Irida Studios at Plakias. They keep showing up as unavailable for summer 2005 (as does Stella Pension). I emailed their eteam and received a reply that they have been withdrawn from the brochure. In panic mode I telephoned customer services this morning as was told that First Choice have withdrawn from Plakias completely!
That only leaves Olympic with properties in Plakias and they are considerably more expensive. My wife and I paid only 184 each for two weeks at the Irida for the last two weeks in May (flights are more than that) What's more important though is the capacity at Plakias will be reduced considerably.

Grahame
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Yvonne on June 25, 2004, 04:20:33 PM
WOW, and some folk have already booked for 2005.  maybe its time for them to confirm.  We did use First Choice for several years, but for the last few we have travelled independantly.  I should think that their (First Choice) flights will still be available.  The people of Plakias who depend on tourists will be devastated.
Yvonne
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on June 25, 2004, 05:13:07 PM
Worrying!
I went to the First Choice site - and (eventually) managed to chat to an operator.
It went like this:
Quote
Kat: Welcome to our live chat service.
Kat: How may I help you?
John: Hello
John: Could you tell me please if it will be possible to book holidays in Plakias, Crete next year
Kat: It is, yes. They are all available online and you can check them by following these instructions:
Kat: You are able to create your own search online by clicking on the 'Sun Holidays' link, from the homepage. You can view, select and book your chosen holiday online. All our availability is LIVE and all prices are correct as you view them and include discounts. We regret that we are unable to quote prices via the chat service.
John: Thanks - you should be aware that people are being told that 1st Choice is pulling out of the resort
John: [url]http://forums.plakias.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=298[/url] ([url]http://forums.plakias.co.uk/index.php?showtopic=298[/url])
John: and I did try to search - didn't get any results
Kat: It may be that there are plans to pull out of the resort at the end of the season next year, rather than stopping it from next year onwards. Normally we are advised of this just before the brochures are released and our brochures for next year have been out for some time now.
John: OK - so we will be OK for next year - might have problems in 2006?
Kat: That may be the case, yes, but I can't confirm that as we won't be given information about the 2006 season until May next year
John: OK Kat - thanks for the info. I will post it so that other regular visitors know what's going on
Kat: Thank you for chatting, please contact us at any time.
John: Sure thing - bye for now!

SO - looks as if 2005 will be OK - don't count on 2006!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: roger on June 25, 2004, 07:44:36 PM
That is great that First choice are back next year -Iwould not go with Olympic as I have had two bad exeprienceswith them though not in plakias
There often seem to be ruours that First choice will pull out next year or the year after - thankfully always so far false rumours
 Just about to book Stella pension for 10to 24 august and have persuaded  new Plakias virgin partner to come  with me
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John R on June 26, 2004, 08:49:55 AM
I've booked in Stella, First Choice, late Setember 2005.
I've just done a search on their website for a holiday there in September 2005 and got an immediate positive result.

Last year we had a similar panic and discovered that their computer seems to have limited facilities. During our panic quite a few of us were booking our slots - all for the same period, all at Stella. During this booking activity we noticed that the search engine would not come up with our specific requirements while others were booking and for a little time afterwards. Even computers might need a little time to process bookings and avoid a double booking and/or overloading a flight. Perhaps there was a lot of booking activity for Plakias during the recent times that Plakias seemed unavailable. Just a theory.

John R.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Ali & Dave on June 26, 2004, 11:44:18 AM
We have been told that Apollo apartments are being taken over by a British tour operator next year (currently mainly czech) and seperatly we have been told that Kosmar are going to start coming to Plakias.  No idea if the two are combined.  Argo Travel also come to Plakias at the moment and have a couple of rooms at Apollo.  Have had bad reports about Argo e.g. people having to pay 109 for the transfer and then having four people in a taxi.  Olympic are also being really bad on transfers, many people have turned up in the middle of the night and have either by dropped in the main square or outside apartments and left to find their own rooms.  Olympic have no rep based in Plakias this year but First Choice have an excellent rep this year, a guy called Gary, who is very committed to his job and trying to ensure problems are sorted as best he can.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on June 26, 2004, 12:54:10 PM
Hi Ali!  
Thanks for posting! It's so good to have on-the-spot news from our Plakias reporter!.
I'm also looking forward to popping into the shop again in August to catch up on the gossip you can't post!
Quote
We have been told that Apollo apartments are being taken over by a British tour operator next year (currently mainly czech)
Not the best apartments in town - but some nice rooms. Last time I stayed there, was with SunMed!
Quote
we have been told that Kosmar are going to start coming to Plakias.
would be good to see more competition!
I have mailed Kosmar with a general enquiry about Plakias availability for 2005, and requested a brochure. I'll post if/when I hear anything.
Quote
Argo Travel also come to Plakias at the moment and have a couple of rooms at Apollo. Have had bad reports about Argo e.g. people having to pay 109 for the transfer and then having four people in a taxi.
Argo seem to operate in a different way to most other companies - checked their brochures a couple of times, and always found cheaper!
Quote
Olympic are also being really bad on transfers, many people have turned up in the middle of the night and have either by dropped in the main square or outside apartments and left to find their own rooms.
I guess that's OK for regulars - though carrying a heavy suitcase from the square to Dora is not fun!!
Quote
Olympic have no rep based in Plakias this year but First Choice have an excellent rep this year, a guy called Gary, who is very committed to his job and trying to ensure problems are sorted as best he can.
Olympic seem to be slipping. I guess we were spoilt by the good times when reps like Kelly and Jacinta looked after us so well.
We went with first choice this year, and were generally impressed. I can certainly endorse what Ali says about Gary - sadly it's unusual to find such an effective and hard-working rep these days.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: plakias34 on June 26, 2004, 01:08:06 PM
Hey Guys, don't hold your breath for Kosmar, already have their brochure for 2005 and Plakias is not in there, still, may be in a a later edition!
John (ostraco) and I went with Argo a couple of years ago to Kefalonia on a last minute thing, we got a great deal and had a great time but they do seem to be very expensive normally and charge extra for everything!

Steve
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on June 26, 2004, 03:37:35 PM
As you will see under the "Brochures 2005" correspondence, I have booked for 2005 already, as has John R. First Choice has sent all the documentation, so on the face of it it seems unlikely that they have pulled put. I hope not as the prices on the internet were excellent. Olympic is significantly more for the accommodation I have booked, namely the Kostas Chysoulla.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on June 27, 2004, 10:35:38 AM
I emailed First Choice two days ago, asking simply, 'Could you please let me know if current rumours that you are pulling out of Plakias, Crete for next year are true?'
I got a reply this morning
Quote
Thank you for your e-mail.

This is not something that we here at website support are aware of.

I will however check with our products department and reply to you again if they have any further information regarding this matter.

Regards

Internet support
First Choice Holidays

Search for holidays and book flights online at [url]http://www.firstchoice.co.uk[/url] ([url]http://www.firstchoice.co.uk[/url])


So now we know! (And I've not yet received a reply from Kosmar)
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: grahame on June 29, 2004, 09:15:19 AM
I.ve telephoned First Choice again this morning abd was told again that all properties have been withdrawn in Plakias for 2005. What's going on?
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 01, 2004, 11:50:56 PM
Still no clarification from First Choice then!


However, I did have it confirmed today that Kosmar will be in Plakias next year - look out for the 2nd edition brochure - which is not yet available.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: marmaliser on July 02, 2004, 07:47:19 AM
Hi,I have been following this correspondence and decided to check out the First Choice website. Unless I am not following the links proprely, I cannot find any reference to Plakias at all for 2005!!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John R on July 02, 2004, 08:12:03 AM
Worked for me this morning.

Click on Summer Sun (top left)

Then at bottom of box type in Stella Pension in the accommodation box and October 2005 in the month box. Stella Pension in Plakias came up straight away.

John R
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 02, 2004, 12:04:18 PM
I just did the search as you suggest John, and found Stella.
However, when I checked availability, for all dates in 2005, all I got was a message like this:
Quote
We have checked availability between Mon 30 May 2005 and Mon 06 Jun 2005, and unfortunately the holiday you've chosen is not available. Please click Search Earlier or Search Later for other dates.
I also checked Irida - which comes up on the search, but gives the same results when I check availability!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 02, 2004, 01:07:40 PM
I have had the same response from the website as Ostraco for several days now. The Plakias properties are there but there is "no availability" for any date you put in for 2005. I have E-Mailed them to ask if the booking I have for 2005 is still valid and have been told "I don't know, we will look into it and get back to you".

My daughter worked for First Choice last year and found them to be frustratingly inefficient so in some ways I'm not surprised we can't get this resolved. However, my First Choice holiday to Tingaki (Kos) in May was brilliant and couldn't have been faulted!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 02, 2004, 02:53:25 PM
We were in Plakias with First Choice in May - going again late August!

Everything was fine - and there was a good, and quite senior rep in place. We had a chat about the service they were offering, and he seemed to think that the company were making a real effort for Plakias.

Looks as if we will just have to wait and see what happens.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John R on July 02, 2004, 03:19:05 PM
Right - I've got the answer.

Been on to 1st Choice to re-confirm my late September 2005 booking at Stella Pension. We on this forum have been party to information that we should not - 1st Choice were very surprised that we knew or suspected a problem that they were only just aware of themselves with the "file" as they call it yet incomplete.

The problem is with Stella Pension and only Stella Pension. 1st Choice have asked Stella to do something for the 2005 season - I have NO idea what and neither did the chatty and helpful person I dealt with  - She gave me her name and direct extension to ring her in 2 or 3 weeks when the problem should be resolved one way or the other. She said that all further sales to Stella for 2005 have been halted and that if the problem is not resolved then Holidays already booked would be also be cancelled and alternatives offered. I asked about alternatives and Alianthos and Crystollis (sp) Studios were mentioned. They are definitely not pulling out of Plakias altogether.

The problem with Stella could be anything from a minor pricing argument to a minor Health and safety issue which needs fixing etc. etc. The pull out from Stella is possible but not yet definite.

I will be ringing this lady back in 2 or 3 weeks time and will keep you all posted.

John R
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 02, 2004, 04:04:55 PM
OK John, accepting that there might be a problem with Stella - I've checked Costas C, and Irida again - and still get no availability for next year, although I was able to locate them on a site search.
Could be there's a problem with the website I guess.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 02, 2004, 04:52:20 PM
I had a further chat with a very helpful lady at First Choice.
I'm afraid the news is not good.
Quote
Jenny: Hello, How may I help you?
John: Hello
John: I'm having problems with availability for Plakias, Crete, in 2005
John: all accom. I search shows no availability
Jenny: Which airport are you selecting please?
Jenny: And for what date?
John: Any London
John: searched for May and September 2005
Jenny: Is it a specific accommodation you are looking at?
John: prefer Costas Chrysoula
John: If I search from May 182005, I get: We have checked availability between Wed 18 May 2005 and Wed 25 May 2005, and unfortunately the holiday you've chosen is not available. Please click Search Earlier or Search Later for other dates.
Jenny: Let me check our in house system for you. How many people is the holiday for?
John: Could be up to 10
John: still getting group together
Jenny: Ok, thanks. One moment please.
John: ok
Jenny: Sorry too keep you John. I have just checked and unfortuantely we are no longer offering holidays to the Cost Chrisoulla studios. We are unable to take the details off the website until we have a release in a few weeks time.
John: is that just to Costas - or other Plakias accom. too?
Jenny: It looks like they have all been withdrawn, I have checked the Alianthos, Irida and Stella Pension and none are being featured for next year.
John: That's sad! Two more questions:
John: 1. - I take it holidays for this season are safe (we are going again in August)
John: 2. - What about bookings already taken for 2005 - I already have a freind booked
Jenny: Yes this years holidays are fine, its just for next year that they have been withdrawn.
Jenny: I'll just check on question 2 won't be a moment.
John: Thanks
Jenny: There are no notes on the system to advise of what is happening to existing bookings, as it looks as though the accommodations have only just been withdrawn. I would suggest that your friend contacts our Customer Services department on 0870 901 6522 and they will be able to advise him fully.
John: Thanks again Jenny most help - even thought it's not what I wanted to hear!
John: helpful
Jenny: You're welcome John.
John: Thanks again - 'bye
Jenny: Thank you for chatting, please contact us at any time.
John: will do! bye now
I think to be fair to 1st Choice that decisions have just been made - but as usual, you hear it here first!
John - hope you get things sorted quickly!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John R on July 02, 2004, 05:32:19 PM
Things don't look good for Plakias / 1st Choice for next year do they !!

They said to me that there was no hurry (their opinion) as Sept 2005 was such a long way off. I pointed out that arranging an alternative had to be asap. I would want to get flights booked now(ish) and arrange the accommodation when I'm there this September/October 2004.

Thanks to this forum we have got as early a  warning as could be possible. They are naughty if they think they could have hung on to our deposits until they advise us sometime much later next year when they think we have no alternative but to acept what they offer as an alternative.

John R
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 02, 2004, 05:34:49 PM
You never know John - you might have got a relaxing 2 weeks in Malia for the same price!

I am still chasing Kosmar for their 2005 availability - no news yet, except that they will be there. I e-mailed them today, but only got an auto-response so far.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John R on July 03, 2004, 08:42:52 AM
Booking for Malia might not be a joke. I have had a miserable time looking at flights for those 2 weeks in 2005 (14 days from 27 Sept) and so far have found that the flight costs exceed the cost of my all in holiday which is about to be withdrawn.

It is quite probable that booking the cheapest hol to anywhere on Crete might be the cheapest (independent) way to get to Plakias.

Obviously will research Olympic and await Kosmar before taking that action - but it is on the cards.

John R
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 03, 2004, 02:20:31 PM
Yes - back to the research I'm afraid John.

We thought we'd found a good company too - VERY happy with the 1st Choice trip in May this year - after steadily declining standards from Olympic.

We're waiting for Kosmar - certainly for early season trips, packages have been a lot cheaper in the past than the go it alone options. Time will tell!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Yvonne on July 03, 2004, 09:43:40 PM
Hi
I have just sent an email to the Alianthos Beach Hotel asking them if they have any information re First Choice 2005.  I will let you know the outcome.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: eddie and alan on July 04, 2004, 06:02:50 PM
Hi folks - just had lunch in Mirthios (Plateia) with John and Zell who told us about this forum.   The waiter in Freddie's (Marco) is Stella's son.

First Choice have been "pulling out" of Plakias (in some cases have been pushed out) ever since we came to live here ten years ago.  

As far as we can establish, FC accommodation in Plakias is often described as not available on their site, even when we know this not to be true.   The reasoning seems to be that they will not 'release' accommodation here until a high proportion of their rooms in places like Malia and Hersonissos have been let.   This is because they are required to guarantee payment to property owners in those places for the entire season, whether or not they take up the rooms.

In Plakias the deal seems to be that FC will only pay for rooms which are occupied, leaving the owners to find 'casual' visitors if FC don't fill them.

It was this sort of mucking about which caused several of the owners here (e.g. Kostas and Kostoula of Anemone Apartments) to tell them to sling their hook! K&K found that previously regular visitors to Anemone were staying elsewhere in Plakias in accommodation booked through other agencies.   They would visit K&K to apologise for not being able to stay with them because "the rooms were not available", only to find it empty.  

So, as far as we know, FC are not "pulling out" - but they would far rather you stayed in their accommodation elsewhere on the island.

Best tip? - DIY

Cheers

Eddie
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John R on July 04, 2004, 08:24:12 PM
What you say may be have been true true in general over the past few years but  my booking with FC for Stella Pension in 2005 has been accepted, a deposit paid and all the holiday documentation has already been sent to me.

 FC confirmed last week that they ARE pulling out and that my booking WILL be cancelled. What they could not tell me (I have to contact them again next week) were the alternatives they are prepared to offer.

I booked without problem 18 months in advance for this years (2004) stay at Stella. Plakias was then not in their 1st edition brochure (causing me to panic) when John (Ostraco) pointed me to their website where I could and did book - and that was in April 2003.

Will keep you posted on results.

It is ok saying go independent but my weekend's searching so far for flights-only from Newcastle to cover my impending lost holiday has so far found only flights which exceed the cost of the whole cancelled holiday package. I will be going independent - but it is going to cost me a LOT more in total (like nearly double)

John R
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 04, 2004, 08:52:08 PM
I tend to agree John.
I can see a lot of advantages in the Independent route - but  it often does cost more - especially early or late in the season.
We stayed at Costas in May - the total package for me, in a single room, was only about 220 if I remember correctly, including flight, transfer and 2 weeks accommodation. How could I do the independent thing cheaper then?
Agreed, that the August booking is about 200 more - for exactly the same, so I might be able to save a little then - but not a lot. And we do have the assurance of a rep to rely on if something goes wrong.

A bigger issue for me is the way in which 1st Choice conducts their business. It took a lot of work to suss out what's happening next year. They look after their own interests - it seems the Customer comes second! (and how fair are they when dealing with the accommodation owners?)
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Yvonne on July 05, 2004, 10:01:33 AM
Hi
I have had a reply from Eleni at the Alianthos Beach and she has confirmed that First Choice will NOT be in Plakias next year.  Also she has doubts that they will be in Rethymnon, but is not sure on that fact.  Gets more and more complicated.
Yvonne
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 05, 2004, 03:05:36 PM
Yes Yvonne - but it does seem clear that we will not be using 1st Choice next year.
Still no news from Kosmar - and a search on their site last night provided no hits for Plakias.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: martyn on July 06, 2004, 06:31:21 AM
I have watched this topic with interest and although I am not involved (not UK resident) I would have thought that John R especially may have some recourse through the office of fair trading. This if successful would probably end up in a little compensation fore the cancelled booking, maybe enough to finance the extra for the independent route. Just my thoughts on the matter.

Martyn
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John R on July 06, 2004, 10:52:29 AM
I went to the local travel Agent to get a 2005 First Choice Greece Brochure to read the small print on this very matter. And guess what, the 2005 brochure has not yet been published (so that agent told me ??). If this is the case then it is. by the last 2 years standards, very late in coming out. The problems we are becoming aware of may be the cause of that delay.

I am certain that cancellations of holidays by UK Tour Companies are covered in the small print and that the best I can expect is the option of money back or an alternative holiday. Money back is always an option that must be offered under UK law in these cases. Compensation is highly unlikely.

I have written to First Choice using good old fashioned postal methods asking them for clarification and what they are going to do about it etc. Thought that a good idea in the unlikely event that any legal matters did arise.

I'm not too worried - especially as when I'm in Plakias this september I'll have plenty of choice and time to arrange accommodation with people I already know for September 2005. Will be asking Stella of Stella Pension what she has to offer !!!

John R
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 06, 2004, 01:35:25 PM
The First Choice brochure for 2005 was published in April/May although even after calling into local travel agents many times I have been unable to obtain a copy. However, one of them had an office copy which I was able to peruse. On the basis of what I had seen I booked 2 weeks at Kostas Chysoulla for 10/5/05 on the internet in May, at a good discount to the brochure price. I have paid the deposit and received the documentation. I have E-Mailed FC but all they have said in reply is that they will get back to me.

What a way to do business!!!!!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 06, 2004, 01:42:59 PM
Could someone enlighten me as to how many UK tour operators sell holidays to Plakias. If FC is pulling out I only know of Olympic.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Greecemad on July 06, 2004, 09:25:03 PM
This seems a far cry from the days when Plakias was block booked by SunMed. They used to have 3 reps + 2 rambling leaders + a botany leader.

Greecemad.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: dogwalker on July 07, 2004, 12:52:55 PM
Just had to reply to the comments re Argo/Apollo.
We went to the Apollo with Argo earlier this year and could not fault it. We opted to take a hire car from the airport instead of the taxi transfer. Worked out at just over 900 for accomodation for 2 and 2 weeks car hire. The Apollo is a bit quiet and basic but has an excellent pool and is only about 2 mins walk to the beach/tavernas etc.
 The first minimarket you come to on your stroll to the beach is run by a very friendly English couple who are always willing to help with any problems you may have They also run a small library.
Argo reps were always there at the appointed time and were much in evidence at the airport. Best holiday we've had for ages, will definately be back.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 07, 2004, 02:30:15 PM
Re First Choice in Plakias in 2005 I have just received the following by E-Mail from FC.

Quote
Thank you for your email.

We regret that we have now dropped Plakias in Crete for operational reasons
as we have dropped a lot of units across the board.

Customer Services are currently in the process of advising passengers of
this, you will be informed by letter over the next week or so.

Back to the drawing board then. I wish Manos sold holidays in Plakias as I have had many positive holiday experiences with them (greatly outnumbering the few negatives).
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: hopper on July 08, 2004, 08:14:14 AM
Goodness, just had a look at this topic, biggest response ever. My advice DIY is not bad.    How is sleeping in your swag at the beach these days, windy  ?
cheers Hopper
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 08, 2004, 10:10:11 AM
From information gleaned from a local travel agent it seems that Olympic, Argo, Cachet Travel and Greece and Cyprus Travel Centre featured Plakias for 2004, as well as the disgraced First Choice.

CT and GCTC are "specialist" operators and very expensive. Re. Argo, their brochure will be out at the end of August. Their website (www.argo-holidays.com) is operating so slowly I can't obtain any useful information on Plakias from it. Those with Broadband may be more successful. That leaves Olympic (a bit more expensive than FC but not too much) and Kosmar, that Ostraco has advised of. Currently Plakias does not feature on their website.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John R on July 08, 2004, 12:14:08 PM
I have a Kosmar (1st edition) 2005 greece summer brochure. On page 6 it has a large feature which says :-

"Coming soon...... to be featured in our forthcoming 2nd edition 2005 brochure

* Rethymnon
*Plakias
*Aghia Galini

3 Great New resorts on one of our most popular islands."

John R
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 08, 2004, 10:50:32 PM
Yes John - I saw that too.
Hoping for some more information soon - watch this space!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Allan Barham on July 09, 2004, 05:21:35 PM
Since a number of First Choice users may have to think seriously about travelling independently next year it might be a good move to establish an accommodation database on this site with contact names, numbers and email addresses of the hotels and apartments that we all currently use.  I know that the Interkriti site has some information but it is by no means complete.  Why don't we all pick up business cards when in Plakias this year and submit the information to the centre?
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 09, 2004, 06:20:28 PM
Quote
Since a number of First Choice users may have to think seriously about travelling independently next year it might be a good move to establish an accommodation database on this site with contact names, numbers and email addresses of the hotels and apartments that we all currently use.  I know that the Interkriti site has some information but it is by no means complete.  Why don't we all pick up business cards when in Plakias this year and submit the information to the centre?
[{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a] ([url]http://index.php?[/url]act=findpost&pid=1747\")

Great idea Allen - happy to try to get something going as you suggest.
There is some information already on the site - 'phone numbers and e-mail addresses, but I'm not able to keep a constant check on it, so any additions and corrections would be most welcome. [a href=\"http://www.plakias.co.uk/faqpopups/phone.htm]Check it out here.[/url]
I guess further info - contact names, comments on facilities etc. would also be useful - let me know and I'll make sure it's included - somehow!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Susan K on July 09, 2004, 07:34:14 PM
I agree that is a good idea. I have just looked at your link John and there is some accommodation I don't know. I will search the web and see if I can find out a little more.

Susan
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 09, 2004, 08:02:45 PM
Thanks Susan,
As with anything like this - the more information the better!
Got my thinking cap on now about the best way to present it!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 10, 2004, 02:35:48 PM
Whilst awaiting further information on Kosmar in Plakias in 2005 I checked their website. They don't do day flights from Gatwick to Heraklion but do to Hania. However, tour operators going to Plakias nearly always fly you to Heraklion for some reason, even though Hania must be nearer.

I don't do night flights- I did it once and said "never again". I don't mind how early I get up though.

All the Heraklion flights are night so others with my aversion to night flights might wish to note this.  
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: martyn on July 11, 2004, 05:58:45 AM
Just a thought guys. It's obvious that a lot of people are going to have to DIY to get to Plakias. For those who can get cheap flights, the owner of ANSO Apollo Papadakis has offices both in Plakias and Rethymon. He seemed to have all areas covered i.e. accomodation, car hire, aiport pick-ups and drops, excursions etc. etc. Just wondered if he could do any special rates for the users of this site. Seemed to me to be very efficient too.

Martyn & Svetlana
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John R on July 11, 2004, 10:25:41 AM
Don't know about special rates but certainly many people I know use ANSO for all these facilities you mention and they are helpful and efficient. If you know your own Plakias I suspect you might be able to find suitable accommodation over and above what they list. They would be the first choice    for me if I needed help.

John R
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Susan K on July 11, 2004, 11:04:27 AM
Morning

Anso are very good, we book our holiday through them every year.
Just in case anyone decides to call/email him, the MD of Anso is Adonis Papadakis, sorry Martyn, didn't mean to correct you.

Susan
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: martyn on July 12, 2004, 08:47:40 AM
LOL sorry Susan, I'm getting my ancient Greeks mixed up. I was too lazy to check it on my files *slap*. Of course you're right, thanks.

Martyn & Svetlana
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Allan Barham on July 12, 2004, 09:37:24 AM
Anso are very helpful and will book accommodation for you.  Be aware though that there is a mark up and you will invariably strike a better bargain if you approach apartment owners directly.  The same applies if you are thinking of booking through the Interkriti site.

Good hunting

Allan
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: roger on July 12, 2004, 12:43:17 PM
Quote from: Mike G,Jul 10 2004, 01:35 PM
However, tour operators going to Plakias nearly always fly you to Heraklion for some reason, even though Hania must be nearer.

Hania is just a little nearer plakias than Heraklion  but there is not much in it, about 5 kms i think . The distance indicator on the main road near Rethymnon where you turn off for Plakias indicates the exact difference in distance as from either airport , you have to go that junction .Hania airport is very much smaller  . I think there are only flights there on tuesdays -= I believe it is used as a military airport on many other days . Also there are flights from many more UK airports to Heraklion but only from Gatwich and manchester to hania . So by taking people to Plakias via HEraklion , tour operators give you a much more extensive choice of flights - both departure airports and days as there are flights to Heraklion on fridays as well as tuesdays - without any significant increase n journey time . But it is a terrible airport and overcrowded and not an ideal way to start or end a holiday



All the Heraklion flights are night so others with my aversion to night flights might
wish to note this.  

not so - there are a number of tuesday morning flights to HEraklion - including a 7 30 from Gatwich which I shall be on on 10 august .
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Susan K on July 12, 2004, 12:50:57 PM
Allan it doesn't always follow that the prices are higher if you book through Anso. Anso are in a position to negotiate lower rates, they managed to get us a cheaper deal for our accomodation this year. We are staying at  Artemis and their advertised price is 5 euro more than we paid through Anso. It is always worth checking.

Susan
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: compage on July 12, 2004, 01:27:06 PM
That's true Susan but of course that means the owner of the accommodation gets less from your stay in order to provide Anso with their cut.
You may well find that the owner is not so happy about that and you may not get the best rooms.
In my humble opinion it is better to book direct and the idea of maintaining on this forum a database of accommodation in the village with details of contacts and prices is good.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John R on July 12, 2004, 03:52:26 PM
Today I contacted First Choice Customer Support and asked what they intended doing about my 2005 Plakias booking. They said I could choose any alternative holiday I wanted - anywhere with no transfer fees (big deal  ) and I would have to pay any extra cost or they would even refund for a cheaper option. I asked about a 100% refund of deposit and they were reluctant saying that they usually offered alternative holidays rather than refunds. I pointed out that I only wanted to go to Plakias and the half asleep operator then started to look for rooms in Plakias. After a long delay came back with the surprising news that they had no accommodation in Plakias for 2005. I pointed out that I had been to Plakias for the last 7 years and it was my intention to go there for the next 7 years and what could they do about it. A refund was then immediately offered   but it was like drawing blood.

They had totally ignored my letter written over a week ago.

John R
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 12, 2004, 11:32:24 PM
Yes John, Cursed Choice have been very slow in responding.
I've been away, so a little out of touch, but this mail was sent on July 7th - in response to my mail of June 25th:
Quote
Thank you for your email.

We regret that we have now dropped Plakias in Crete for operational reasons as we have dropped a lot of our units across the board.  This just happens to be one of the resorts we have cancelled.

Customer Services are currently in the process of advising passengers of this, you will be informed by letter over the next week or so.  Should you wish to discuss this with them, please call them on 0870 901 6522 or alternatively email them at customer.services@firstchoice.co.uk.

We apologise most sincerely for any inconvenience caused.

Regards

Internet support
First Choice Holidays
I'm not impressed!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: martyn on July 13, 2004, 11:36:11 AM
Allan,

I have to side with Susan on the pricing issue. The Hotel price for B&B at the Kalypso was 70 per night. ANSO did it for 50 Half Board. Quite a saving really, and I also know by checking at the reception that ANSO was making only 5 per night. Good luck to them they saved me four times that much. They didn't even cash my credit card until two days after my holiday was over.

On the best room issue, we asked for a double and got a twin so the Hotel moved us to a substandard room and refused to budge. One phone call to ANSO and we were off again to a first rate room. I guess we were lucky, but based on our limited experience of ANSO, we would recommend them to anyone.

Martyn
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 13, 2004, 01:16:15 PM
Hello Roger,

When I checked on a map, rather than going on my perception, you are right that Hania is only marginally nearer to Plakias than Heraklion. I used Hania last year when going to Kalives and had no problems- I've seen much worse Greek airports!

Bear in mind that the comment about night flights only to Heraklion was based on 2005. I obtained the information from their website.  

To Susan K and the other "independents".

You probably remember that we exchanged some interesting posts last year on the costs and pluses/minuses of tour operator vs independent. I still believe the latter is cheaper in low season but do agree with whoever made the point that with FC pulling out, some may be forced to go independently. Could you please refresh my memory (or point me to where it is on this website) about the best way to book flights/accommodation independently. I know you have mentioned Anso Travel. Is it best to book the accommodation or the flight first (don't want to book one and find that the other is unavailable). Lastly, how to make the transfer from Heraklion to Plakias without having to engage in stressful haggling with a taxi driver or getting ripped off. Could be at least 50 each way I guess.    I never hire a car on holiday so that is not an option.

On Saturday I E-Mailed Customer Services at FC pointing out that as they have pulled out of Plakias completely I want my money back, so far without response. I'm glad one correspondent has been successful. They were pretty quick to accept the money, even though someone at FC must have known they were pulling out.

Mike G
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Susan K on July 13, 2004, 01:45:20 PM
Mike

I generally phone/email Anso and make sure the accommodation I want is available and make a provisional booking. I then book my flights and confirm dates with Anso and pay a deposit of one third. Two weeks before we fly I pay the outstanding balance of accommodation/taxi  and Anso arrange for a taxi to be waiting at the Airport to whisk us off to Plakias.  What could be easier than that.  

Susan  
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Allan Barham on July 13, 2004, 01:48:05 PM
On the pricing issue, I was basing my remarks on my experience last year when I asked Anso for a quote for the new apartments behind Medousa.  The price they came up with  was about 15% more than I had been been quoted previously by the owner (Babis) and he had also offered to do a B&B deal if we booked for a fortnight.   I also find that Anna (of Anna apartments) charges me 10% less than the price quoted on the Interkriti site.  It seems that if you negotiate directly with the OWNER you will do a good deal.  This may not be possible of course if you are staying in one of the hotels and it is perhaps not surprising that Anso will offer a better deal than the rack rate at Kalypso, Alianthos, Lamon, etc.

Although I don't book my accommodation through Anso, I do find them good in other respects.  Thay generally have one of the best exchange rates in town - though be warned that you can only change money when the boss is there because it seems that he holds the only the key to the safe.   Anso are also one of the few companies that will let you hire cars in 3 day blocks starting at the airport and finishing in the village (and vice versa at the end of the holiday).  This obviates the need for a taxi and gives you four other days to explore the local area.

Allan
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 14, 2004, 01:07:16 PM
On the subject of First Choice pulling out of Plakias for 2005 it is somewhat ironical to receive via E-Mail a mailshot containing the following from them.

Quote
SMART DEALS FROM FIRST CHOICE  
Fed up with the driving rain? Thought so! Choose one of our great
holiday
destinations below and escape to a smashing time in the sun. And why
not
let us help you out with the cost? Click on our crazy crab and you
could
win a 1,500 holiday instantly!  
A SMART DEAL EVERY TIME  
LOOK OUT FOR MORE SMART DEALS NEXT MONTH!  

Having a laugh I think!

Still no reply to my repeated E-Mail request for my deposit money back.  

Mike
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: fraoula on July 14, 2004, 01:26:21 PM
Quote
On the subject of First Choice pulling out of Plakias for 2005 it is somewhat ironical to receive via E-Mail a mailshot containing the following from them.

Quote
SMART DEALS FROM FIRST CHOICE  
Fed up with the driving rain? Thought so! Choose one of our great
holiday
destinations below and escape to a smashing time in the sun. And why
not
let us help you out with the cost? Click on our crazy crab and you
could
win a 1,500 holiday instantly!  
A SMART DEAL EVERY TIME  
LOOK OUT FOR MORE SMART DEALS NEXT MONTH! 

Having a laugh I think!

Still no reply to my repeated E-Mail request for my deposit money back.  

Mike
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=1854\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]
Firstchoice-Lastchoice comes to mind.......                fraoula
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Noopsy on July 15, 2004, 10:54:11 AM
Mike G,

On the subject of transfer from Heraklion Airport to Plakias.

If you don't mind "slumming it", one option is the bus.  First of all you take the airport bus into Heraklion Port.  Journey time: 20 mins.  Cost: 1/2.  Next, you take the interurban bus to Rethymno.  Journey time: 1 1/2 hrs.  Cost: 5.90.  Finally you take another interurban bus to Plakias.  Journey time: 1 hr.  Cost: 3.10.  Total estimated journey time (this includes waiting for connections):  approx. 7 1/2 hrs.  However, this method is reliable and dirt cheap.  I will be using it.  I don't know how much baggage you take with you: might be a bit of a fag if you carry a lot.  I plan to take only a rucksack.

Hope this helps.    

Noopsy
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 15, 2004, 01:30:57 PM
Noopsy,

Thanks for the info. However, that would be a step too far for me!! Maybe if I was younger and took less luggage. Good luck to you though.

Anyone know how much a taxi transfer is?

Mike
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 15, 2004, 01:35:04 PM
Still no commitment from FC re. getting my deposit back.

Quote
Thank you for your email.

I am sorry to say that we are unable to assist you in this matter. We show
the booking on the reference you gave as being an active booking to the
Costa Chrisoula Apartments in Plakias. If you have a concern about your
holiday accommodation, it may be best to contact customer services on 0870
901 6522.
 

What a way to carry on!

Mike
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Susan K on July 15, 2004, 01:47:45 PM
I think it cost us about 35 each way last year.

Susan
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: fraoula on July 15, 2004, 02:03:51 PM
Quote
I think it cost us about 35 each way last year.

Susan
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=1904\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

 Are you sure Susan? I Know a couple of people who regulary go to Plakias and a taxi cost them 90 each way!!!! Were they unfortunatley stitched up? That was 2002. I'm also wondering about this for next year as I don't fancy the long coach transfer with my 5yr old child...  
      I would hire a car  but  I don't drive  
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Allan Barham on July 15, 2004, 02:12:32 PM
Mike,

Both Finikas Travel and Anso will quote you for a taxi.  Two years ago Anso were charging 62 Euro each way.

Allan
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Ken & Kathy on July 15, 2004, 02:17:12 PM
Taxi fair this year from Heraklion to Plakias 70Euro each way.Alianthos taxis.The same if using Airport taxi.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 15, 2004, 03:05:30 PM
Re. First Choice pulling out of Plakias for 2005, on 20/4/04 John R said:

Quote
This is severely tempting fate, but for the past 6 years we have had zero problems with First Choice -

Nice of you to take the blame John but I still blame them. They should have decided whether to feature Plakias before they published their brochure.

Mike
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John R on July 15, 2004, 03:35:39 PM
Quote
Still no commitment from FC re. getting my deposit back.

Quote
Thank you for your email.

, it may be best to contact customer services on 0870
901 6522.
 

What a way to carry on!

Mike
[a href=\"index.php?act=findpost&pid=1903\"][{POST_SNAPBACK}][/a]

Mike - I did it by that phone number - and it took a little persuading that, no I didn't want to go elswhere and then they agreed to a refund

John R
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on July 15, 2004, 06:38:55 PM
Just a note re Taxis - there is a sign in the arrivals area at Heraklion, giving FIXED prices to various resorts, including Plakias.

With notable exceptions, Taxi drivers are the same the world over - so I think it's best to make the driver aware before you get into his cab that you are aware exactly what the fare should be. We've used taxis back to the airpost several times in the past, rather than suffer a long coach transfer, and found the Plakias guys fair and honest. They will give you a price up-front, and stick to it. (And turn up on time if you book them the previous day)
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: reddiablo on July 16, 2004, 01:25:37 AM
taxis
no probs 65 - 70 euro one way

ask for zak at  plakias,

tell him   Roger  said helloa fro canada

yammas

red diablo
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 16, 2004, 02:34:18 PM
Re. the refund of my deposit for 2005, I'll phone as John R advises. My latest E-Mail from FC was:

Quote
Thank you for your email.

As we have no further details on this matter, please contact Customer
Services on 0870 901 6522. We are unable to offer a refund of any sort.

Regards

Internet support
First Choice Holidays
 
Mike
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Greecemad on July 16, 2004, 08:47:25 PM
For those who don't like the sound of taking all the buses from Heraklion Airport to Plakias, but want to save some of the money, there is "in-between" solution.

1. Take a taxi from the airport to the bus station in Heraklion (make sure you ask for the bus station for Rethmynon, as there are 3 stations). It will take about 15 mins. Make sure you find out the official fare, as this is the type of journey where you are very likely to get fleeced. It should be about €5 I would have thought.

2. Take the bus to Rethymnon. These run at least every hour and often every half hour, so you won't have too long to wait. Moving cases from where the taxi driver has put them onto the bus will be 3 or 4 yards.

3. At Rethymon bus station you have a decision to make. Buses to Plakias aren't very frequent, so you either take one if there is one or get another taxi to Plakias. The bus conductors will lift your luggage out of and into the bus, and the bus station is small, so you won't have any distance to walk. The bus jouriney to Plakias is 40 minutes. About 7 or 8 years ago I shared a taxi with a couple and it was 4000 drs (€12) - this was after the last bus had gone.

Greecemad.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Noopsy on July 17, 2004, 06:05:44 PM
Expanding slightly on the transfer details I gave earlier (Can't work out how to use the wretched quote system.   ) for the airport - Heraklion city leg of the journey, in the light of the details given by Greecemad at 1 above:

The airport bus runs every 15 mins., and (stopping along the way) goes directly to Heraklion Port wherein is located the interurban bus station where you catch your onward bus to Rethymnon.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 19, 2004, 11:23:20 AM
On the continuing saga of trying to obtain a refund of my 240 deposit from FC, I spent ages on hold on the phone on Sat. They kept saying "your call is very important to us and we will answer you very soon". Yeh, right.

So, it is costing me significant amounts of money to obtain a refund when none of this is my fault.    Maybe John R was lucky getting through by phone to get his refund.

My feeling, having read about Kosmar, Cosmos, Argo etc is that Olympic will be hard to beat now that FC has gone. This is because I want self catering and want to book through a tour operator (thanks for all the transfer details guys but the thought of negotiating with a taxi driver before I have even arrived, going on a bus(or buses) with loads of luggage, or spending 70 Euros each way on the transfer does not appeal).  I know tour operator transfers can be slow, but I just relax and enjoy my first glimpse of Greece since the previous visit.

I think that 600 is the maximum for 2 weeks for 2 people in May, to include accommodation, meals on flight, transfers, and services of a rep (for emergencies and to pick their brains). FC would have been 460 not including insurance.

Mike
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 23, 2004, 01:18:31 PM
Re. the continuing saga of my First Choice booking to Plakias for May 2005 which, I was informed by E-Mail, has been cancelled. In response to my E-Mail to FC Customer Services, I received a phone call from CS yesterday. The conversation went along these lines (paraphrased):

FC: So you would like a refund of your 240 deposit.
Me: Yes, your terms and conditions say that if FC cancels or makes a major change I can have a full refund. I only want to holiday on Plakias next May and I have been told you are pulling out of the resort completely.
FC: Agreed, we can refund it.
Me: You haven't yet informed me in writing of the cancellation.
FC: That's because it isn't completely certain that we will be cancelling.
Me: But the E-Mail said you were.
FC: It is true that a block has been put on the computer system to stop further bookings. It is also probable that we are not going to your accommodation (Kostas Chysoulla). However, our Crete team has not reached a definitive decision yet on the whole matter.
Me: Do you mean you could offer me elsewhere in Plakias?
FC: Possibly, or make an arrangement with another tour operator to send you to the KC or elsewhere, with your agreement, so as not to lose your business.
Me: Well, your prices for Plakias are significantly less than all the other tour operators (only Olympic comes close) so I think I'll hang on.
FC: Yes, I would advise waiting to see what we come up with.
Me: I'm not in a paticular rush to rebook. However, I would not wait indefinitely (e.g. Christmas) as I might not be able to book with someone else then.
FC: It will be resolved well before then, I can't give a specific date, but a small number of weeks.
Me: OK I'll wait to see what you come up with.

I also advised that FC management should see this website to confirm what a significant demand there is for Plakias holidays from, I am guessing, thirtysomethings to seventysomethings all over the UK. FC has been in Plakias for over 10 years to my knowledge. Our experience with FC in Tingaki, Kos, in May 2004 was very positive.  

I'll report back when I hear something. FC cancelling our booking is still the most likely option, but holding on a while seems sensible. I was impressed that FC now seems to be making an effort at customer relations at last.  

ps. Apologies to those outside the quoted age bands.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: roger on July 26, 2004, 02:53:58 PM
Mike's report seems to explain the total shambles first choice have got themselves into - on the one hand not taking any boookings for next year ,on the other hand refusing or at least prevaricating over refunds .It is a pretty poor show - andI must say that I too have never had any problems with first choice whereas I would not travel with Olympic ever again for all the tea in china or beer in burton on trent - or both ! I think Mike's assessment of the level and nature of demand for Plaias is probably right - ie from 30s to 70s - but the sad fact is that it is the under 30s who have most spare cash and are a much more lucrative market for tour operators - which is one reason Plakias is being squeezed out
I look forward to going with Kosmar- they seem to be a company with the ethos of the former Sunmed - ie out of the way non commercialised resorts for us discerning tourists rather than mass produced guinness and chips and disco type resorts
roger
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: John & Zell on July 26, 2004, 06:25:02 PM
Hi. Roger
I did post a message under "HOLIDAY COMPANIES" 2 week ago, COSMOS are DEFINITELY in Plakias at the LAMON next year. It may not be in the first brochure but it is definitite. If you want to check or book direct, contact MAGGY (the boss) on EMAIL info@lamon-hotel.gr
John & Zell
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on July 27, 2004, 09:46:05 AM
I was interested in Roger's comment about the under 30s having all the cash. I agree that they might spend large amounts whilst on holiday (drink?) but wonder if it is true that they spend more with the tour operator, which is where FC and others would feel it. I keep reading in the papers about 50 somethings and over being the folks with the spending power and virtually everyone I know of who is also in their 50s has miles more spending power than we had when we had families dependent on us.

Roger is not the first to comment negatively on Olympic so could some of you elucidate how they have screwed up in Plakias. I seem to favour them reading the brochure. I think Kosmar are only doing night returning flights to Heraklion (I don't do night returning flights) and Cosmos aren't featuring self catering (if I'm wrong here I hope someone will put me right). Nothing in Argo re. Plakias in the borochure I have for 2005.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: compage on July 27, 2004, 11:14:46 AM
Hi MikeG,

You can find all references to Olympic by using the forum search facility.
Like this (http://forums.plakias.co.uk/index.php?act=Search&CODE=simpleresults&sid=7365fa9b4df5d7a132d47a471e8d7677&highlite=Olympic).
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: roger on July 27, 2004, 02:09:21 PM
I have not been to Plakias with Olympic
 My dire experience with them was three years ago in Skiathos . I chose one of the only two accomodations which did not have a warning about possible noise levels . In fact my room overlooked the street and right outside was the border of the night traffic free zone .In consequence there were some fifty scooters parked there on average each night and it was impossinle to sleep a wink . When I complained forcefully , they eventually tranferred me after three days to a room at the back of the property which was fine .I complained on mky return and had a most prolonged correspondence - with rubbiush like you should expect some traffic noise in the town centre .Nonsense cos I knew the actual centre was traqffic free at night .eventually I went to ABTA and after a lot of hassle ,I got 150 ccmpensation but with very bad grace on their part .And the next year's brochure still did not have a noise warning about that accomodation
 That is why I would never ever travel with Olympic anywhere again if they were the last tour operator on earth !
roger
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on August 02, 2004, 12:21:09 AM
Guess we all have our favourites.
We used Olympic for several years for our trips to Plakias. I will admit that the quality of the reps fell off as the years went on - many people will remember Kelly and Jacinta - they set such high standards.
We moved to Cursed Choice this year - 'nuff said - as their prices were very competitive.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Noopsy on August 02, 2004, 11:34:43 AM
Hallo Ostraco!      So there is someone alive out there!  There have been no posts anywhere on this forum for the last 4 days!  Was beginning to wonder if everyone had packed their bags, and gone off to Plakias on the spur of the moment.  
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on August 02, 2004, 01:07:50 PM
Yep - alive and kicking!
Got home from the beach last night, and noticed the same thing. I think a lot of the regulars are out enjoying the sun - and like me, looking forward to visiting Plakias again soon!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: roger on August 02, 2004, 02:34:16 PM
I cannot of course comment on the Olympic operation in Plakias as I have never been there with them but the attitude of the head office was so deplorable that that has made Oympic an absolute no no for life
 I do remember a rep called Kelly - someone else or did she work for another company as well in plakias , either first choice or inspirations ? The one I remember was married to a local taxi driver - who had been banned or possibly imprisoned after his  involvement in a fatal accident - and I think she died very young and tragically , according to things I have read in this conference .Or am I confusing two different  reps called Kelly ?
 As for packing bags , I will be doing that this time next week . Not long to go now .And for the first time for various reasons I am on a morning flight - 7 30 from gatwick - so will arrive late afternoon so will take Penny ,who has never been to Crete let alone Plakias ,for an introductory stroll round the village - though there is a good chance we will only get as far as the Livicon ... !
 roger
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on August 02, 2004, 07:54:49 PM
I can understand your attitude to Olympic Roger, I would feel the same if I 'd had that treatment - however, I must say that I wouldn't be against using them again for Plakias if their proces were good.

You do have the right Kelly in mind. I'm pretty sure she was working for Olympic during the time I knew her. Sadly, she did die young, but is still very fondly remembered, and often talked about. She was married to Zak, who was involved in an accident, although it was not his fault. He is still in the village, and I will always use him if I can.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: roger on August 03, 2004, 01:08:41 PM
thanks Ostrako
I rather think Kelly worked for Inspirations for a year - I would guess that might have been 95 or 96. And they lived quite near the costa chrysoula - one year when I was there I had a room which almost faced their balcony
roger
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on August 03, 2004, 08:10:54 PM
Could be right Roger - Kelly's mother-in-law owns those flats - and I believe she rents out the upstairs sometimes.
It's funny how you get the holiday companies muddled up.
I've been to Plakias with Sun-Med, Thompsons, Inspirations, Manos, First Choice, Olympic (and probably others)...  what next I wonder? ? ? ?
I still remember the first trip though - that was with Sun-Med - the most honest brochure I've ever read - and one of the few that told you an all over tan was available at the far end of the bay!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Greecemad on August 03, 2004, 09:34:01 PM
I agree that the SunMed brochure was very informative - because of that I still have the 1989 edition! I was trying to scan the Plakias bit to share it but couldn't manage to upload it - maybe it was too big.

It says thing like: "Flights from Gatwick, Newcastle, Manchester, Birmingham, East Midlands, Luton, Bristol and Glasgow to Heraklion and Flights from Gatwick to Chania"  [Can you do that today?]

"Plakias attracts a fair number of German visitors in the summer, and although the main beach is dressed, it may come as no surprise that other sandy beaches within walking distance, are nudist beaches. Ve have vays of getting the little rascal brown, ya!"

"Behind the small village are a range of mountains that often create strong thermals, resulting in a cool sea breeze on the beach" [or in other words it gets very windy sometimes].

Greecemad.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on August 03, 2004, 11:42:09 PM
Thanks Greecemad,
I wish I had kept a few of the old brochures - would be great to look back on.
I remember those words well.
If you want to send me the scanned file, I'll have a go at getting it loaded for all to see.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: fraoula on August 05, 2004, 04:24:53 PM
Quote
You do have the right Kelly in mind. I'm pretty sure she was working for Olympic during the time I knew her. Sadly, she did die young, but is still very fondly remembered, and often talked about. She was married to Zak, who was involved in an accident, although it was not his fault. He is still in the village, and I will always use him if I can.
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Oh my god I can't believe Kelly has passed on. The last I'd heard about her was when she had recovered from her illness but sadly discovered it was back and that was the last I'd heard. may she rest in peace.  
 I've lost quite a few friends form Plakias who have all tragically died and this comes as another big shock.  Also how is Zak and when did this accident happen? Ihope he is alright he must have been through alot.
                       Fraoula
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: roger on August 05, 2004, 06:01:16 PM
I did not realise quite so many companies had been to Plakias - I certainly do not remember Thompson's .Some of them were probably rather short lived . I have only ever been with Sunmed , Insopirations and First choice
 Sunmed , I agree , were terrific , esp their brochure . They always had a croypic one liner about each resort and the one for Plakias was - you wont find any tattoos or Sun readers on the beach ! TGhat immeidately tells you so much about the place in an amusing way .
 And I rather think that the people who wrote the sunmed brochure then wrote the Inspirations brochure after sunmed became part of first choice and in so doing ,lost thier identity . Indeed it is possible that some of the people involved with sunmed started up Inspirations -but they did not seem to last for long
 AsI think I have said elsewhere on this conference, i first travlled with sunmed in 1976 to Ios .They had one flight a week from gatwick - and poss one from manchester - to Athens , or rather part of one flight , and then people went on by boat to I think 4 islands .Cant remember for sure what the others were but I think  spetses and poros were among them . It really was a man and dog operation which grew like topsy - and then became so big that they became attractive to the even biiger boys like first choice
Personally I hope to be able to go next year with Kosmar - their brochures seem to indicate they are a discerning comany interested in the discerning market - ie people like us ! - rather than the costa del guiiness and chips and disco brigade
 roger
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on August 09, 2004, 12:04:02 AM
Still trying to catch up here after a few days away!
I got the scan of the Olympic entries - I'll try to get to that this week.

Fraoula, Zak is back in the village, trying to rebuild his life. Kelly's family visit, and their son id growing into a nice young lad.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on August 10, 2004, 01:22:01 PM
Re. First Choice pulling out of Plakias (see my earlier entries for my experience of the issue) it now looks as if it is closed. After nothing for over 2 weeks since my last communication with them I E-Mailed their communications team and they phoned me back. I had to explain everything from the beginning and initially still got the line that "we may honour existing bookings even though accepting no more". I expressed doubts whether this was viable and was then put in touch with their accommodation team. They eventually confirmed that FC has pulled out of Plakias for 2005 completely. On that basis they are sending me my deposit back and confirming it in writing. I was also told that edition 2 of FC Greece is out on Friday and will still contain some Plakias properties (Alianthos, Stella, and Irida I think). However, this is just a case of the new brochure being out of date before it is issued.

So, over 6 weeks after Grahame alerted us to the fact, FC has finally confirmed to me that my holiday is cancelled. John R was right in that the information you are told depends on whom you speak to at FC.

So, it looks like Olympic for me for 2005 as it seems they are the only operator offering day flights (outward and return), self catering accommodation, and less than 300 pp in May. If anyone knows differently perhaps they could let me know.

As someone else said, it is sad for those in the holiday industry in Plakias that one of the two major UK companies is pulling out and I hope that they replace the business.  
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: fraoula on August 12, 2004, 11:00:08 AM
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Still trying to catch up here after a few days away!
I got the scan of the Olympic entries - I'll try to get to that this week.

Fraoula, Zak is back in the village, trying to rebuild his life. Kelly's family visit, and their son id growing into a nice young lad.
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 That is good to hear Ostraco, thanks for getting back to us on that!!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: fraoula on August 12, 2004, 11:28:37 AM
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. I was also told that edition 2 of FC Greece is out on Friday and will still contain some Plakias properties (Alianthos, Stella, and Irida I think). However, this is just a case of the new brochure being out of date before it is issued.


When i spoke to FC  when the FIRST edition brochure was just out they advised that
 'Plakias would definatly  NOT  feature in their 2nd edition '05 brochure due to the contract expiring this summer' so why have they issued a brochure with incorrect information when they knew  the situation months ago?? makes me wonder if the FC guys talk to each other!! 

And on my current Argo situation it's amazing the different replies you get form the same question; When I call as travel agent to Argo they inform me that their 2nd edition brochure should appear 'sometime in August'. However for fun   I decided to call as a customer and ask exactly the same question and was told 'sometime at the end of September'. Once again I tried phoning and I received yet another answer-  ' We do not have any information at all on the resort of Plakias for '05 ' This is getting a bit frustrating never the less, so if anyone comes across any info regarding Argo for next year(namely the Alianthos gardens or Apollo) whilst they are in Plakias  could you let me know!!??
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: ostraco on August 15, 2004, 11:37:57 AM
[attachment=35:attachment][attachment=36:attachment]
At last I managed to get the scans of the 1989 Sunmed brochure done!
Thank God for weekends - and thanks to Greecemad!
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: LoukaFran on August 16, 2004, 08:43:45 PM
Having read all the stories and problems of travel agents, I wonder why it is so important to use them.

For years we book the flight to Crete ourselves and arrange the accomodation we want directly with the people in Plakias.

I can't say we have had any bad experiences this way.

Before this we did...
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: fraoula on August 17, 2004, 09:20:49 AM
Quote from: LoukaFran,Aug 16 2004, 07:43 PM
Having read all the stories and problems of travel agents, I wonder why it is so important to use them.

   
 We're not all bad you know!!    I believe that  Travel agents should have the revelent  ABTA qualifications to do the job properly; they make it too easy to get the job these days- you don't need a cv.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Noopsy on August 17, 2004, 09:45:28 AM
Oh, dear!    

I hope we're not heading for another falling out la Yvonne/Andy!  This is supposed to be a friendly Forum.  
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Yvonne on August 17, 2004, 10:55:24 AM
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Oh, dear!    

I hope we're not heading for another falling out la Yvonne/Andy!  This is supposed to be a friendly Forum.  
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Excuse me, but I have not fallen out with any ne, most of all Andy.  It is really not my scene.  Get off my case Noopsy 500
Yvonne
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Graham_and_Karen on August 17, 2004, 12:48:56 PM
We have had a few problems with holiday companies changing flights or insisting on ridiculously early pick-up times for the return to the airport but overall, we have found it to be the cheapest way to get to Plakias. Problems can occur whatever travel arrangements you make and I would prefer to have a recognised UK company to complain to if things go horribly wrong. Two years ago, our luggage didn't arrive at Heraklion. Although the rep. didn't do much it was good to be able to check with them that we were doing the right things and phoning the correct people to sort it out.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: fraoula on August 17, 2004, 01:12:26 PM
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Quote
Oh, dear!   

I hope we're not heading for another falling out la Yvonne/Andy! This is supposed to be a friendly Forum. 
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Excuse me, but I have not fallen out with any ne, most of all Andy.  It is really not my scene.  Get off my case Noopsy 500
Yvonne
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OOOOOOOOHHHHHHHHHH!!     No one's falling out with each other! I'm mearly defending MYSELF as a travel agent! HA HA!!            Before I was a travel agent I too used to book independantly  staying with the Baradakis family in Plakias, and I must agree that we never had any complaints! At the end of the day unless a complaint is concerning a travel agent, we are just the go between for the tour operator for which we  can then foward the complaints to the relevent company-which is often a very slow process  ( I know most will agree on that one!)As a Travel agent I'm here to help, advise and answer questions concerning travel -not everyone knows how to book independantly or on the net which is why we're still about, however I do think, personally that travel agencies will disappear within the next 20years (here's hoping! I here you say!!)As it is becoming easier to book without a travel agent as most of you know. Working in a travel agents isn't as 'glamorous' as it looks there are pros and cons-it's a 'cold' sales job 90% of the time and you need to know at least the basics of all the rules and regulations of ABTA,foriegn exchange etc,etc I could go on forever here (but we don't want that!). But I'd also like to say I love travel, always have which is why I chose to work in the travel industry. I won't always work as a travel agent my aim is to live in Greece again and do something like escorted tours-or perhaps just relax and enjoy the finer things in life, when my winning numbers show on the lottery. All I'm saying is that you have  your 'good' travel workers and your 'not so good ' travel workers  the not so good usually comes down to dishonest/bad customerservice skills and often no experiance/ travel qualifications. I do however have the experiance and ABTA qualifications and good customer care skills  .The key for my success is that I am unable to tell lies- so I don't! ( Not that I would dream of doing that even if I could of course.) So yes I believe I am an honest, skilled, nice travel agent!   Listen to me, sound like I'm being interviewed!  
 No hard feelings I hope!?    

 By the way at half 2 this morning got up and recorded Greek language lessons and culture on bbc 2 , bit tired now but glad I got it! Been waiting for years to see something like this on TV ......... anyone else get it too!?   Oh how exciting it is...
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Mike G on August 17, 2004, 01:26:51 PM
I totally agree with Graham and Karen's post earlier today. There was an extensive discussion last year on tour operator versus independent and some are in one camp, some another. It is whatever suits the individual. However, what no one seemed to disagree with was that early or late season it is cheaper to go with a tour operator, even with First Choice out of the picture for 2005. This assumes you use a taxi to and from the airport rather than multiple changes on the bus as was suggested.

I have now rebooked my cancelled May 2005 FC holiday with Olympic; same date, same accommodation (Kostas Chrysoulla), and the only difference is that it is 30 pp more with Olympic. At 260 pp it is still good value.
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: fraoula on August 17, 2004, 01:58:52 PM
Yes I also agree    It totally depends on that individuals needs, whether it's done with a travel company or independantly at the end of the day there's always someone that has to do the paperwork.
             thought:                          
Maybe when my winning numbers appear I'll buy a private jet........?
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Noopsy on August 18, 2004, 11:31:34 AM
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No one's falling out with each other! I'm mearly defending MYSELF as a travel agent! HA HA!!
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It wasn't a criticism, fraoula,  I was just a bit worried. I'm glad that you were O.K.  (That's the trouble with not being able to see or hear people on this Forum.)

Γεια σας.    

(I'm studying Greek too!)
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: fraoula on August 18, 2004, 05:08:40 PM
I
Quote
t wasn't a criticism, fraoula,  I was just a bit worried. I'm glad that you were O.K.  (That's the trouble with not being able to see or hear people on this Forum.)

Γεια σας.    

(I'm studying Greek too!)
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[/QUOTE]

Hey! no offence taken! I don't take things to heart to much, I know it wasn't personal!! I just enjoy a good discussion!    The forums for me, are an escapism
form the usual routine, so I think it's great when you have all these different views and conversations on the site-  It's good to meet people with their own opinions and who all have that same passion for Plakias!!    I really appreciate the concern that's really kind of you Noopsy     And keep up the good work on learning the Greek language   Ya sas  fili mou    ( how did you get the greek font?)
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Noopsy on August 19, 2004, 11:01:40 AM
Ευχαριστο.  (    All embarrased now!)

My wife's P.C., which I use, has a language bar, and it is from there that I get the Greek font.  This bar is very handy as I write in more languages than just English.  If your P.C. does not have this facility come out of this message board, and get onto the home page.  I seem to recollect that there is a link there somewhere which enables you to install the Greek font.

Καλη τυχη!

Νουψη
Title: First Choice Pull out of Plakias!
Post by: Ploppy on August 19, 2004, 02:24:42 PM
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Ευχαριστο.  (    All embarrased now!)

My wife's P.C., which I use, has a language bar, and it is from there that I get the Greek font.  This bar is very handy as I write in more languages than just English.  If your P.C. does not have this facility come out of this message board, and get onto the home page.  I seem to recollect that there is a link there somewhere which enables you to install the Greek font.

Καλη τυχη!

Νουψη
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Paulie puts technical support hat on....

Off the top of my head there are two ways of typing Greek characters, the first as Noopsy says is to use Windows Language Settings. This is easy in Windows XP & 2000... have a look [a href=\"http://muhammadanism.org/Unicode/WindowsXP.htm]at this website.[/url]
The second is to add a Greek True Type font to your system, you will then be able to select it from your normal font selection list. I so happen to have one and have uploaded it. If you want it you can download it here. (http://www.ploppy.pwp.blueyonder.co.uk/greek_ISMINI__.TTF)
You will then need to add it to your fonts list. In Windows Explorer go to your Fonts folder (normally C:\WINDOWS\FONTS or C\WINNT\FONTS), here you have a list of all the fonts on your system. On the menu at the top go to File -> Install New Font... browse to where you saved the download and click ok. That should be it.

Please let me know if I can help any further.

Paul