Bang Head Against Brick Wall

Might be a good idea to curl up with a bottle glass of wine before reading this brief novel of a blog post…

Well, we’re unwillingly going back to the UK at the end of April to tie up loose ends. But arranging this journey has been like a living nightmare… It’s taken us a week to sort it all out, and as usual it was the British end that had us climbing the walls…

1) Book flights.

2) Book car hire.

3) Book hotel.

4) Book insurance.

And there’s another complication I’ll discuss later…


FLIGHTS: The airline we’ve always used has stopped flying from East Midlands to Alicante and vice versa. {They kindly sent us several repeat emails to let us know} No problem, we’ll fly with someone else.

When the “alternative” airline to use was agreed upon, we went directly to their own website. Fly to enough places often enough and you know the score. Comparison website’s to book seats from are a complete rip off. But what a minefield the real thing was!

Starved of options to book direct from the airline website, defeat set in. I mean do they want bums on seats or not? Last resort, no choice except to use a price comparison website, and what’s written below was the outcome… 

So we went through the whole elongated process, being as we’re in Spain they wanted to charge us in euros, (on screen) no problem again. But AFTER being sent confirmation of flights and all the other junk, we then received another email telling us the transaction was invalid… Time to use pounds and pence, even when booking from here to there. Weird. There’s nothing wrong at this end – such things work how they’re supposed to.

After going through IT ALL AGAIN (this time in sterling), we were informed that confirmation had gone through (again). That’s as far as it went, we got “Transaction Confirmed” with no emails, and no paperwork sent. Oh great,, So is the darn thing booked or not???

The next day nothing had gone out of the bank account either, so Dave rang up and was put through to someone who could barely speak English. In fact the guy was so inept, when Dave told him his surname (as requested) he asked for it to be spelled out, (we’re used to that). Unfortunately he couldn’t even understand letters, last resort, refer to the Alpha Bravo Tango Whisky thing – he still didn’t get it, however on the fourth attempt IT WORKED, yey!!!

“Yis, is bin confirrr.” Then the phone went dead…

Next day, still no money gone out, still no details received, we began to wonder if we’d strayed into the realms of an online gaming prank site by mistake. Then the situation descended further…

On the third day, we discovered it had been paid for – but we were still devoid of information. Five days later the info came into the inbox. However, if you’re a computer wizard you’ll get this,, if you’re not, you still will. Under normal circumstances a .pdf file is sent as an attachment, therefore a printout will fit A4 size printer paper correctly. However, all we received were a couple of emails each sent as one big picture…

Therefore no amount of resizing changes the fact that only just over half of it can be printed off. (Sideways, not length ways – could’ve got round the latter). Believe me we tried every trick in the book, even landscape mode did the same. Different workarounds were tested at least ten times, hence reams of wasted paper were accumulated with the same end result. In the end we gave up, “Well sod it, at the desk in the airport, they’ll just have to guess the fff rest…”

Only later were we informed that we also have to print off boarding passes on a certain date. It’s supposed to make things simpler – no need to check in first. Well how wonderful, except there’s still suitcases to “check in at the desk,” so what’s the piggin point? Oh, and further to that, if you don’t print off your boarding passes in advance, you each get charged 70 quid extra…

Our last and only previous experience with booking through a price comparison website was on a trip to Germany. Name and shame: It was booked through Expedia. We got to the airport, checked in our luggage and were told “Oh, there’s a problem here,” {she looks at the paperwork} “you haven’t booked direct with the airline have you?” 

Slap hand, “No, wassup?”

“Well they haven’t included the baggage handling charge in the total, sorry, but it’s an extra £30 each. Unfortunately this happens a lot, their total isn’t necessarily the right one.” The only good news was that we could pay our hidden extra by card. Oh whoopee doodle then. Poor woman was left to apologise on their behalf, and it was obvious she was truly sick and fed up of having to do so…

Amidst the mayhem on this occasion, we’ve been fleeced for another 15 quid each for “admin fees.” Oh,, the irony,, what a dam cheek!

Conclusion: Many airlines must be in business with the likes of compare the flight path, and it all adds up {excuse pun} Advertising is a costly affair. So the comparison website is the “middle man” and the customer pays the price, anytime after they’ve already paid what they thought was the total price – written in pretty colours on a webpage…

CAR HIRE: Surprisingly easy. For obvious reasons we still had to wait days later before booking it. The conundrum being whether we’d be in the same country as the car, and at the same time as each other…

HOTEL: Well, well, well, name and shame again: Premier Inn. (Derby). Filling out the fields online, like you do, I selected a double room. Click to continue… Next screen:

“You have chosen a disabled room.”    

No I didn’t, it wasn’t even an option… {Dave even looked on his laptop – same outcome}

So does this mean the room is out of order? 10 days = £529, I mean will the place be enabled or not???

NOTE: If that room is for people with disabilities, then it’s not a very nice way to describe it… 

INSURANCE: Yes, as UK citizens with a valid UK address, we still have to book insurance from Spain to go back there. We’re not even resident here yet, but we won’t be covered for anything without it…Work that one out…

And the extra complication is,,

REGISTERED DOCTOR: I rang them up today to put in a prescription for while we’re over yonder. It appears that because neither of us have been to see the doctor on a regular basis, we’ve been struck off the system. Nothing else has changed, not even our UK address, and neither of us have removed our names from the surgery’s list. Oh, and we never went to see the doctor on a regular basis anyway.

So I’ve been given a number to ring tomorrow to see if they’ll re-instate me on the NHS system – bet they don’t… It’s no big deal anyway, for goodness sake we’re only there for 10 days and the health service here is far superior…

Needless to say though, it still leaves us feeling a bit peeved when we’ve both paid into the system all our working life, and never tried to screw it in any way. Since we left, I’ve BEEN BUYING my meds here. Could easily have lied about it and had my prescription forwarded to me by friends. But no, per month it costs me over 250 euros, I don’t mind because they keep me alive and healthy…

Yet in recent years eastern Europeans have flooded into the UK, never put a penny into the system, live off benefits, and get free treatment from the NHS. All paid for by us… IT’S COMPLETELY ASS ABOUT TIT. Apologies to anyone from eastern Europe who genuinely wants to work, and has learned the English language in order to find it.

[And no, I still wouldn’t vote for Nigel Farage…! He’s a dangerous dude with attitude]

Just another inane example of the useless system is the EHIC card, it stands for European Health Insurance. “One” would be led to believe that means the EHIC card covers all of Europe, (just like it says on the tin). Wherever you got it from, wherever you are? Well, no… It covers every other country except the one stamped on it.

This is no joke! We’ve still got to get Spanish one’s too, just so they can be used in the UK. For now, we’ve included health cover in with the insurance cover. It’s always best to have a back up for something that doesn’t actually work anyway…

After a year of residency we can buy into the Spanish Healthcare system, which means paying less than half the price per month of private health insurance. Also the cost of my meds with drop by 60%. Us two old biddies are both too young to be in the Spanish system for free yet…


 So back to the issues of the here and now, we have yet to find out:

1) If we end up in the right country without incurring any further hidden fees.

2) If the hire car is waiting for us in the right place at the right time, or even if the office is open.

3) If the hotel has an enabled room with a roof.

4) If the insurance covers a broken nail.

And finally, will the doctor recognise me? Am I really bothered?

2 thoughts on “Bang Head Against Brick Wall

  1. Hi Brian,

    Thanks for the option of a YELL!!! Might need a walking stick too after yesterday's “day out” at the hospital!!

    A truly serious farce the past week has been what with one thing or another.

    From an exhausted Heth with a foot on fire. xxx


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