No matter what the match, whoever the opposition, the magnitude of the game, Thomas Cook have always got tickets available. If you are willing to pay for a “matchday break” you will obtain a ticket for the game of your choice and a hotel. These grossly overpriced packages are aimed at our many overseas fans but I have known people buy a ticket because they had no other way.
Of course, Thomas Cook have got their ugly mug involved in Kiev. I’m ticketless, most Reds are ticketless and I actually only know two people who have been successful. You can make a list of rights and wrongs that the club has done, but one thing we can say with certainty is that Thomas Cook are rip off merchants of the highest order.
And that has nothing to do with tickets, though I bet they have a nice mark up there too – it’s the disgraceful way that they put up the flights from Liverpool to Kiev on the day of the ballot. The already overpriced flights jumped from £750 to £900 overnight. The pressure was already on those of us who wanted to go because we had no certainty of a match ticket. Whilst those who are guaranteed and those who wanted to go irrespective of their ticket situation have been hoovering up any transportation they can, the rest of us have been playing the waiting game.
And like the ticket touting scruffs you get outside the Kop on a matchday, or the jabronis who buy concert tickets and put them on reselling websites for three times the price, Thomas Cook have completely ripped off our fans. I don’t think the club will act but when the final is over and done with I will be very disappointed if we don’t hold a review into their shameful conduct. I won’t hold my breath though. It means that we can let an external company organise the flights and take the flak when it inevitably turns into a financial muscle contest for tickets and or flights.
Thomas Cook leapt to their own defence with the most ill advised statement I’ve seen in some time:
“At the request of Liverpool Football Club, Thomas Cook Sport worked to secure additional aircraft for the Champions League Final in Kiev. Despite the significant challenges involved as a result of the limited availability of aircraft at this time and the increasingly urgent need for a solution, this objective was met. Unfortunately, but also unavoidably, the aircraft was secured at a higher cost, which is reflected in the higher price for supporters.”
This is corporate hand-wringing at its finest. How can anyone expect Liverpool fans to accept that when everyone knows that Manchester City fans were given £300 return flights for the exact same airport, in the exact same city on the exact same route in December? How are we supposed to believe that a company that has its own airline has a shortage of aircraft anywhere in the world?
It is plain and simple racketeering. The price went up magically overnight by £150 not because of a shortage of aircraft but because Thomas Cook decided to make hay when the sun is shining, knowing they would have about 10,000 people finding out later that day whether they had a ticket and booking their route if they hadn’t already done so. I understand capitalism, I understand the concept of supply and demand and I understand exploitation. This is the latter. This is a shameless rip off of those waiting in the ballot.
So if they aren’t ripping off overseas fans with their “matchday breaks”, Thomas Cook are exploiting people waiting on tickets. I’ve not had much time for them at any point but I certainly won’t be using them to book anything in the future. It is now down to the club to review their conduct. I think we all know that that isn’t going to happen, unfortunately as Liverpool no doubt make a tidy profit out of them.
But as far as I’m concerned, Thomas Cook are just as bad as those toothless goons who lurk outside the Kop offering you a ticket for a sold out game for £120, £150 if they like the sound of your accent. Ticket touts on an industrial scale.