17 Idiotic (and actual) Complaints From Thomas Cook Vacations Travelers

“We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”

Urs Fischer's Lamp Bear in Doha's Hamad International Airport

This listicle has been making the rounds in various forms for the past several years, but still serves as a solid reminder as to why certain kinds of package trips should be avoided. Or, at least, some of the people that take them.

I remembered this list after coming across this piece a few days ago in Electric Literature, Thomas Cook and the Stack Pirates, an excerpt from Yawn: Adventures in Boredom, by Mary Mann, an exploration of the emotion we’re taught to avoid or rebel against.

In this excerpt, Mann focuses on Thomas Cook, the man often regarded as the granddaddy of tourism, an industry founded in the early 19th century based largely on a niche Cook identified: bored Englanders with some spare money in their wallets. Mann informs us that Cook’s mission was framed not so much to help others see and experience the wonders of the world, but more by his desire to spread his pledge of temperance — an odd twist on the modern tale of tourism.

It’s an entertaining, thoughtful read. Medium says it’ll take you 23 minutes.

h/t to Michelle Weber at Longreads.


So, back to the list.

These are actual complaints received from dissatisfied customers by Thomas Cook Vacations (based on a Thomas Cook/ABTA survey):

1. “I think it should be explained in the brochure that the local convenience store does not sell proper biscuits like custard creams or ginger nuts.”

2. “It’s lazy of the local shopkeepers in Puerto Vallarta to close in the afternoons. I often needed to buy things during ‘siesta’ time — this should be banned.”

3. “On my holiday to Goa in India , I was disgusted to find that almost every restaurant served curry. I don’t like spicy food.”

4. “We booked an excursion to a water park but no-one told us we had to bring our own swimsuits and towels. We assumed it would be included in the price.”

5. “The beach was too sandy. We had to clean everything when we returned to our room.”

6. “We found the sand was not like the sand in the brochure. Your brochure shows the sand as white but it was more yellow.”

7. “They should not allow topless sunbathing on the beach. It was very distracting for my husband who just wanted to relax.”

8. “No one told us there would be fish in the water. The children were scared.”

9. “Although the brochure said that there was a fully equipped kitchen, there was no egg-slicer in the drawers.”

10. “We went on holiday to Spain and had a problem with the taxi drivers as they were all Spanish.”

11. “The roads were uneven and bumpy, so we could not read the local guide book during the bus ride to the resort. Because of this, we were unaware of many things that would have made our holiday more fun.”

12. “It took us nine hours to fly home from Jamaica to England. It took the Americans only three hours to get home. This seems unfair.”

13. “I compared the size of our one-bedroom suite to our friends’ three-bedroom and ours was significantly smaller.”

14. “The brochure stated: ‘No hairdressers at the resort’. We’re trainee hairdressers and we think they knew and made us wait longer for service.”

15. “There were too many Spanish people there. The receptionist spoke Spanish, the food was Spanish. No one told us that there would be so many foreigners.”

16. “We had to line up outside to catch the boat and there was no air-conditioning.”

17. “It is your duty as a tour operator to advise us of noisy or unruly guests before we travel.”

18. “I was bitten by a mosquito. The brochure did not mention mosquitoes.”

19. “My fiance and I requested twin-beds when we booked, but instead we were placed in a room with a king bed. We now hold you responsible and want to be re-reimbursed for the fact that I became pregnant. This would not have happened if you had put us in the room that we booked.”


And for the record, today’s Pic du Jour, the site’s 1,235th straight, was snapped in Doha, Qatar’s Hamad International Airport, on 2 February 2015. To the left is Urs Fischer’s irresistibly creepy Lamp Bear.




  1. C. J. Hartwell says

    Oh my gosh, is #19 for real?
    Also, no egg slicer?! How barbaric!
    I work with a woman who traveled to Italy last summer. We asked her how it was and she said, “Oh, you know. It would been okay if it wasn’t for all the Italians.”

  2. dtills says

    Oh my God! People are so stupid!

  3. The Snow Melts Somewhere says

    Hahah 😊 Sounds familiar. I worked in the travel industry for over a decade, eg for one of Thomas Cook’s largest competitors. Most passengers were really nice, though! 👍

  4. Alli Farkas says

    Oh dear…culture shock strikes again, and again, and… Makes you wonder why these folks even thought of traveling in the first place. If you’re not up for a little strangeness and adventure, best stay home!

    1. Bob R says

      Some of these are hilarious. It goes to one of the points of the book that prefaced the list: some travel because they’re bored. Which doesn’t mean they necessarily need, want or invite the unfamiliar.

      1. Alli Farkas says

        No kidding!

  5. judyrutrider says

    That reminds me of how pleasantly surprised I was to find that they don’t speak English in Ireland. I thought it was going to be rather like traveling in the nether reaches of the States but I was thrilled to find it was completely foreign! I quickly learned to ask the innkeeper, “Where’s the craic?”, to be directed to the liveliest pub in the neighborhood.

    1. Bob R says

      Excellent. And thank you for teaching me that most important term.

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