My wife and I, with my sister and her husband, have just returned from this particular tour. It’s almost impossible for us to write down how much we enjoyed the tour, the people, the history and the environment, and our first trip to China; so I won’t attempt it.
What I do want to register with you is the harrowing experience that emerged in Guilin and how, almost single-handedly, our (your) tour guide handled the situation and produced a solution.
This particular MW Tour was to end after sightseeing in Guilin and we had separately (separate to MW Tours that is) booked return flights from Guilin to Shanghai, as the first step of returning to our homes in Brisbane and Perth. On our last sightseeing day (Monday) before flying out on the Tuesday, our guide, Lizzie, set about checking and confirming our outgoing flights. Although this was more our responsibility than hers, she said that she always made sure that outgoing customers have checked their flights etc. Lizzie’s call revealed that the airline had cancelled the flight some days earlier, and rescheduled it for the Wednesday. Several serious problems had emerged:
- The rescheduled flight would not connect with our home flights out of Shanghai on Tuesday night;
- The flights were booked by a travel agent in Perth and Lizzie contacted her manager in Shanghai, asking that he contact the Travel Agent in Perth. The Monday was in fact Easter Monday, a public holiday in Australia. So no response from the booking agent.
Lizzie called the airline to seek out an alternative flight leaving Guilin on Tuesday when the next disaster emerged. My sister’s passport has her First Name and Surname only, as in her birth certificate, although she regularly uses a middle name. The airline would transfer three of us to another flight (me, my wife and brother-in-law), but not my sister because the Guilin / Shanghai flight was booked using her three names.
The solution worked out by Lizzie (and the only one that we could see working) was to transfer the 4 flight bookings to the alternative flight, and to purchase a second ticket for my sister in her passport name.
All of this took some several hours of Lizzie on the phone (two mobiles at a time I might add), sometimes with the airline, sometimes with her colleagues in Guilin and sometimes with her manager in Shanghai; but most of the time with the five of us huddled in our hotel room, four of us watching and listening to this remarkable person going about her business.
But it wasn’t her business, was it? It was just added-value of the first order.
We had given our heartfelt thanks to Lizzie as she saw us off at the airport. I would ask that you make this “above and beyond the call of duty” contribution known to the management of MW tours and your other related organisations in China, so that the story will get to Lizzie and to her manager.
You have a first class employee in Lizzie and we promised her we would write to you and tell our story.