I finally received all my CC statements to do an accurate account of transaction fees in US numbers.
I contacted Zicasso, because we wanted a trip of a lifetime that someone else would plan, we wanted to go from 3/9/17 – 3/26/17.
Our agent did ask about the handicap, but I don’t think he had the empathy for handicap persons.
Note: husband has cerebellar degenerative disease; he uses a walker and wheelchair. He can go up and down a few steps with assistance. He has balance issues, needs assistance with buttons, snaps, anything with hands undoing, pulling or opening, like taking a cover off a butter package, yogurt container and so on.
Two companies were suggested that would contact us.
One company out of Seattle, I did hear back but not in a timely manner and they apologized for the lateness due to sickness. The other seamed very hungry for our business. In the beginning our emails and phone conversations with this company out of the LA area, were always in a timely fashion.
After our flight deposits were made, poor communication skills set in emails were not returned. I was beginning to think we were scammed but near the date we were to leave for New Zealand, Vouchers were sent.
I asked about the different prices of upgrades on the flights with prices quoted for each person. One was a Sky couch (which was described as the US first class seats) that wasn’t the case. The seats were three coach seats that made into a flatbed but very difficult for my husband with his disability we found out. When making flight arrangements, our agent stated the upgrade costs were for two not each person, he apologized. I would have made business class upgrades if suggested.
Our agent did make sure the airlines understood the need for help on and off the planes. I have to ask at this point, wouldn’t you know that walking was difficult, you wouldn’t suggest a place that that is all you do?
We landed in New Zealand on Saturday March 11th, on Monday March 13th I left email messages for our agent to upgrade the flight home, it took him until March 17th to return a call, he said he would work on getting upgrades. March 23rd arrived in Queenstown and emailed our agent again to check on his progress, March 25th he left a message that he upgraded my husband, but not myself, we were to leave the next day, our agent had left his office by the time I received the message. I tried to get the seats back with Air New Zealand (wasn’t an option), I then tried to get two seats together for another day to return home. Had to wait until the 29th for me to upgrade and sit with my husband. Note, my husband needs assistance in the restrooms, with meals as well as difficulty walking without his walker. Having him in another section of the plane was not an option and with out help!
I had several discussions on having rooms with handicap facilities with our agent not one hotel made this accommodation, I had to ask at each. Two didn’t have any handicap facilities, I wouldn’t have booked there, in fact the entire Coromandel peninsula wasn’t a good choice for my husband (trekking, hiking dirt paths are not ideal for walkers or wheelchairs). We stayed only one night at the motor lodge, we were booked for two. The owner placed an acrylic chair in shower for a seat. I asked another tour company (very helpful) to book us at another hotel
When making plans for the trip, I had our agent rearrange helicopter suggested itineraries because my husband could not walk with his walker on the uneven walkways.
One hotel had car parking $18.00 a night had to use a car elevator, and another car parking $20.00 a night, no elevator from parking to the hotel rooms, our agent should have known this fact and included in the hotel rate. Paid separately.
Our hotel wasn’t a wheelchair friendly accommodation. The studio room was tight for the wheelchair, no shower chair or bars in the shower or bars at the toilet. They did bring up a suction cup bar for the shower.
The Milford Sound cruise was problematic, no elevator, must have been 20 stairs and the walker didn’t do well on the deck, narrow and doorways have a high threshold to get over, once on the boat, everything went smoothly.
Trip all in all was wonderful, I would go back again, but with the added stress the trip not as wonderful as it should have been. That is why you have a tour company make arrangements for you.
The added days were a cost we didn’t anticipate. I believe this should be reimbursed.
In closing, there were handicap issues that should have been addressed, inconveniences for this trip should have been made smoother. After all this was to be a luxury trip! Actually, I could have made the plans for this trip on my own……I was lazy and wanted to not make any arrangements. In the end, I did make arrangements. I didn’t take a phone with me, I did have my Kindle, thank you to the tour company people who were terrific. Why would this agent upgrade a handicap person without his caregiver?
I will expect a response concerning this letter!
Please contact me with questions or concerns about our trip.
Tonya and Michael C
I would use the tour company again!
New Zealand was great, people very nice and Hobbiton was wonderful...
Hire someone who understood handicaps!
TRAVEL COMPANY COMMENTS:
I want to apologize that the experience you had in New Zealand was not what it should have been. Vacations are supposed to be about fun, relaxation and stress reduction. That was obviously not your experience. When we spoke while you were in New Zealand you told me you were having a wonderful time, so I was a little surprised you did not mention the problems with the hotels.
As the son of someone who had disabilities, I want to assure you I took Michael’s handicap very seriously. I approached all of our suppliers – the airlines, hotels, tour operators and transfer companies with the same measure of concern. I was angered to know my requests to some of the hotels were either overlooked or ignored both in my initial request for wheelchair accessible rooms AND in my follow up reconfirmation the week prior to your departure. I was advised that all the rooms we booked were wheelchair accessible.
I was distressed to read your comments that “not one hotel made this accommodation”. So I went back to every hotel to find out exactly what room category they had confirmed and what room you were given.
From our perspective, if a hotel confirmed a request for a wheelchair accessible room and did not deliver on that confirmation, that is not just a gross negligence, it is outrageous and I would insist you receive a full refund. With the exception of the hotels in Coromandel and Napier, all the hotels told me you did have wheelchair accessible rooms. Please let me know if that is not your recollection.
On my insistence, the hotel in Coromandel has offered a full refund for the 2 nights you paid. They have also offered a letter of apology. I will email the letter to you. In Napier, our ground operator in New Zealand did not pass on my 2 requests for a wheelchair accessible room. They have also offered a letter of apology for their error. They – along with the hotel in the Coromandel – are offering a refund for the mistakes, the additional expenses you incurred and for your inconvenience.
With regard to your flights on Air New Zealand, I don’t know who you are referring to in reference to Skycoach being “described as the US first class seats”. I did not – and no one at our company – would refer to it that way. We are very familiar with Skycoach – it is nothing like a first class seat. I did outline the difference in prices between Skycoach, Premium Economy and Business Class. You decided on Skycoach. After you arrived in New Zealand you emailed me stating you wanted to upgrade to Business Class. I advised you unfortunately Business Class was sold out for the dates you were planning to return. In fact Business Class was sold out on the days prior and after your scheduled return. I left messages for you at your hotels and I monitored the flights for several days. When 1 Business Class seat became available, we booked it for Michael. We made a judgement call to book it because you told me he could not return in Skycoach. Unfortunately there were no other seats available for you at the time. I understand you decided to stay another 3 days till you could sit together.
Again, I apologize for the fact your vacation was not all that it could have been – particularly as it relates to the accommodation. I am glad you found the trip “all in all was wonderful”. I am sure you would have much preferred to have the rooms you were promised, but I hope the refund will go a little way in making up for the hassles you encountered.
Each review is written by a verified traveler who was matched by Zicasso to the reviewed agency. Traveler must have purchased and traveled.
Zicasso matches you with the world’s best travel specialists.
Get Your Trip Planned
"Excelent quality and kindness of the professional involved in our trip."
"Our travel company provided an extremely customizable trip and was helpful throughout the entire planning process. Highly...
"We changed our plan and the tour company was very accommodating."
Copyright © 2021 Zicasso, Inc. All Rights Reserved. CST 2124858-50.
Headquarters: 650 Castro St., Suite 120-447,
Mountain View, CA 94041, USA