In last weeks post I published a complaint and asked for comments. The 12 comments that you posted show that you have strong and clear opinions on this subject.
The case that I have chosen for your feedback this week is more complex. Here is the entire email we received.
Case # 2:
Dear Luis Pablo:
Within three or four days, Emer and I were well again. We’re both fine now, and fully recovered from our trip to Costa Rica.
The doctor who treated us said that we were made sick by something which Costa Rica Expeditions fed us at Tortuguero or at Corcovado. There is an irony in this. If you refer back to the answers we gave to the wish list questions that we were asked when we first contacted you, we said that we wanted “elegant” and “gourmet” meals, and that we did not want “interactions” with “local people”. The food that we were given was not very good, and in Tortuguero we were surprised when we had to eat lunch in someone’s home.
Somewhere there was a breakdown in hygiene, and we were fed food that made us sick. From that point on, we did not enjoy our trip.
To finish with the negatives: After all of our discussions about twin-engine planes and my agreement to pay more for a twin-engine plane, we were assigned a single-engine plane to fly to Puerto Jiménez. For us, it was a question of safety. You should have told us what you were doing in this regard so that we would know what to expect, and not agree to pay for something that we would not get.
Now for the positives: Working with you was great. You were responsive. You got back to me when you said you would. You answered my questions. You put together an itinerary which was just what we wanted. I enjoyed working with you, and appreciated your attention and professionalism.
Luis Torres was great. We appreciated his energy, enthusiasm, and eagerness to teach. We enjoyed our time with him. The boat driver in Tortuguero was also very good.
We enjoyed our trip up until we became sick on Thursday evening, April 8. We did not enjoy our day at Rincon de la Vieja because we did not feel well. (We asked Luis Torres to take us back to our hotel early.)
You should ask Yesenia to take another look at what Costa Rica Expeditions charged us for food, for twin-engine aircraft, and for our half day at Rincon de la Vieja.
Services Purchased: Three full day private guided tours, two of which included the use of private charter aircraft. Total spend: $13,970. $6,090 Land transportation, guide, meals, and tours. Plus $7,880 Private Charter Air Transportation.
The facts is in our view:
The air plane:
The itinerary specifies a “twin engine airplane.” The quote was budgeted for a seven passenger King Air E90, the most expensive twin that we use. On one of the days the King Air was out of service so the charter company upgraded to a single-engine 12 passenger Cessna Grand Caravan 208B, which is at least as safe as the King Air because it glides and lands with no engine at least as well as the King Air does with one engine and a lot better than a King Air with no engines. Grand Caravans are slower than King Airs. Instead of an approximately three hour round trip with the King Air, the trip was approximately an three hours and 20 minutes with the Grand Caravan. Our normal cost for a Grand Caravan is $702 more than our cost for the King Air.
Our guest was informed of the change before the flight and accepted the change but the fact that it was an upgrade was not adequately were explained.
On each of the days in question we supplied lunch and the guests had breakfast and dinner at the beach resort where they were staying.
It is true as stated that the guests specified gourmet meals and that they were not interested in contact with local people. Our trip planner neglected to take this into account and scheduled lunch in a private home in Tortuguero. The itinerary that the guests received before they bought the trip stated, “A private homemade Caribbean lunch will be waiting for you and your guide in Tortuguero.”
Assuming that the facts are accurate what should have been our response?