Who messed up the Software ???

Goldtrail Turkish Hotels told to jump hoops for paltry four days discounted money

This statement carried on the ABTA members website is said to come from the Turkish Tourist Authority and sent to resort hotels. It graphically explains why resort hoteliers in Turkey have been holding UK holidaymakers to ransom demanding cash payments for their stay or immediate eviction.

All the CAA is offering under the ATOL bond is payment from the date and time of the holiday company going into administration (4pm Friday) and then at the deeply discounted full season block booking contract rate. 

As the Turkish hoteliers claim they have not been paid at all by the failed holiday company (full ABTA and ATOL member) Goldtrail for the pre-administration period and now the hoteliers if they jump through several hoops, only hope to get at most a payment for four days and little or no prospect of the full season (wholesale bulk rooms) contract being paid.

In view of the complicated process outlined below for the out of pocket foreign hoteliers it is little wonder that in the XL Group failure some claims took two years to process.  

“CAA is prepared to pay hotels for Goldtrail contacted customers overseas from the date of failure (16/7) until the date of departure, at the daily rate that the hotel had contracted with Goldtrail.

CAA is unable to pay hotels for back debts relating to Goldtrail customers who have completed their stay in the hotel.

In order to receive payment CAA will require to see a copy of the Summer 10 contract, and an invoice for the costs.
In the first instance hotels who want to take advantage of the guarantee should send an email to caaclaims@caa.co.uk and we will send them our standard letter.”

Contributor: Media Expert Julian Bray ISDN Interview down line 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X Dual Codec Glensound GSGC5 Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile:07944 217476


Tuesday 20th July at 13:48 hrs. Just finished lunch and decent pint of Old Speckled Hen and opened my package from Amazon.com. Delight it's Peter Mandlesons 566 page tome THE THIRD MAN cover price £25 but from Amazon just £11.25 postage and packing included!  (A Duckhouse review coming soon!)

The telephone rings and an unidentifed seemingly second jobber numptie starts to berate me for something The Observer published on Sunday attributed to me and relating to Goldtrail, the scuzzy cheap end of the holiday package market failed ABTA member who continued to take deposits and payments right upto its declared dive into administration at 4pm on Friday, stranding some 16,000 and a significant number left to the mercies of irate Turkish and Greek hoteliers demanding on the spot cash or credit card payments before they would return siezed British passports. The ABTA member failure also screwed up the settled future holiday arrangements of a further 50,000 holidaymakers, who now have to re-book although they will if covered by the CAA ATOL arrangement get some of the money back but not all the costs associated with the inconvenience and rebooking.

The second jobber (ill fitting burton suit, pink shirt, no tie, designer specsavers glasses, gelled hair, beads of persperation on upper lip - I would imagine...) had the advantage on me as I have yet to see the Observer piece and by all accounts it went round the world twice (just Google in Julian Bray, Goldtrail - anyone understanding Vietnamese, a translation would be good!)) as I am now trying to put the failed ABTA member Goldtrail with the failed XL Leisure Group  (already established the same liquidators are involved Messrs: Begbies Traynor) and as we have already published below on the Duckhouse, the links are more than cursory.  

The second jobber having established my name, immediately blasted away, screaming down the 'phone and instructed me not to make any further comments and not to talk to the Press. CNS- City News Service just happened to be a party to the exchange (Keith Betton come back, your soothing legacy is urgently required).

Needless to say gentle reader, I was convinced this was a close friend from Grub Street having a laugh after a good session at El Vinos, so being a good journalist, I dialled 1471 and then  the phone number given (0203 117051) and a delightful voice answered ABTA Communications, so still not certain who the second jobber was but a rum way to conduct media and blogger relations. ABTA can rest assured  the third estate and the bloggerati will keep chipping away until ABTA has a closer look at the component parts of its membership as many more travel groups are on the sick list and by the end of the year we could well be back here again....  

Contributor: Media Expert Julian Bray ISDN Interview down line 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X Dual Codec Glensound GSGC5 Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile:07944 217476

Bust XL Leisure Group & Insolvent Goldtrail Were Operationally Linked

"A link has now been established between the now insolvent XL Leisure Group and the newly failed Goldtrail Holiday Group.   Abhi Dighe former managing director of the failed XL- owned Kosmar Properties division developed a Greece programme for the newly failed Goldtrail Holidays – with flights from an airline connected to former XL chief Phil Wyatt.  Viking Airlines operate 12 flights a week from Manchester airport and East Midlands airport to Greek islands, including Kos, Corfu and Rhodes"  comments Media Expert Julian Bray.

"Icelandic franchise of Phil Wyatt’s new venture Black Pearl Investments took a 50% stake in Viking Airlines. The franchise is called BPI Iceland, with which Wyatt claims to have only an "arm's length relationship".

"He claims the new operation was working with a number of airline partners, including seat-only operator Kiss Flights, the trading name of Viking’s UK broker Meridian Aviation before it was sold to Flight Options.

"Kiss Flights was set up by former bosses of XL’s Freedom Flights.  Dighe seeking brand for the Greece operation, a chance the Kosmar Properties name could be revived, depite the fact that it had a run in with the authorities over allegations of ghost flight schedules.  Goldtrail, said at the time it would not have to increase the size of its Atol to incorporate the Greece range.

"Dighe said to be working on a brochure for Goldtrail’s Greece programme, which is already available on viewdata, as well as fam trips and agent training".   BLOG: http://tinyurl.com/pknlxn

Contributor: Aviation and Media Expert Julian Bray ISDN Interview down line 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X Dual Codec Glensound GSGC5 Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile:07944 217476

Failed Goldtrail and previously failed XL Leisure Group possible links!

ABTA given up fighting for the traveller or just a foil for dodgy agents and holiday companies? Aviation and Media Expert Julian Bray finds out....

Holidaymakers will be astonished to hear that the Goldtrail Group trading under several brands which collapsed into administration late last Friday had previously been fined £11,000 by the trade protection body (Association of British Travel Agents) ABTA after hundreds of complaints had been sent to the trade body and seemingly covering the entire management bad rule book. 

Goldtrail had even had a nip in the shins from BBC's Watchdog. Possibly equally amazing, it is now coming to light that many of the failed XL Leisure Group affecting some 60,000 souls (ATOL bonding claims still in the pipeline by all accounts!) bear strikingly similar if not identical names to that of the Goldtrail Board. Must be some mistake.....we will investigate further. 

The fragrant Frances Tuke of ABTA, at the time loftily brushed any Goldtrail worries aside by saying: "Goldtrail would like to remain in ABTA membership." I bet they would! A bit like half showing a yellow card, when a red card, sending off and a lifetime ban with hard labour, would be considered more appropriate.

The truth is the cosy media relationship ABTA, (through the genial soothing FORMER mouthpiece, rent a quote Keith Betton during his tenure carefully and expensively crafted over the years), is now showing signs of breaking down. In Coalition Britian, ABTA sadly no longer acts in the interests of readers and viewers  (if it ever did) and some travel agents and ATOL holiday outfits still in membership of ABTA, are simply trading on past glories and long forgotten owners, they need to have the ABTA membership urgently pulled and the ATOL revoked. Both unlikely to happen.

But where is the media to turn to?

A few journalists,consultants and experts are prepared to put thier heads above the battlements but not many. Certainly many people who would not normally be in a position to experience an air package holiday, - we've all met them-  had it not been for the likes of the failed Goldtrail and its imitators.

Simply the travel game is now up. Wholesale changes in the taxation of  airports and aircraft, fluctuation in currency rates, Bank business lending a lottery continuing squeeze, rocketing fuel prices, massive add on charges for luggage and in flight meals, value added tax being raised to 20%, jobs becoming more difficult to hold onto...  all these factors will create a massive vacuum as we head towards Autumn and the major travel trade selling period.  There will be many more Goldtrails type failures before the year is out.....

Simply the money you pay travel companies now for holidays next year will have been long spent. There is a strong case for setting up ring fenced client accounts (just as a solicitor does) and holding holiday funds, or the proportion used for securing the facilities, well away from day to day company turnover and accounts but the rock 'n' roll of  company finance would all dry up overnight.

So my advice, is to shop around take advice from an independent travel agent and more importantly your own networks, be prepared to pay a bit more and ALWAYS use a proper Credit Card (not debit card) to fund at least £200 of the overall transaction, as then the credit card company is probably the best and fastest target for any recovery action, indeed the CAA will positively direct you towards your credit card company and consider your claim settled. 

With Credit card payments you have the legal protection of the UK's splendid Consumer Credit Act (Section 75). Finally, always keep all your paperwork in date order, as your documents following any administration or company failure may be the ones relied upon to effect the eventual payout. If all other avenues are exhausted, then an online claim through your local County Court.
Contributor: Aviation & Media Expert Julian Bray ISDN Interview down line 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X Dual Codec Glensound GSGC5 Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile:07944 217476

Goldtrail - What should I do? Advice from Media Expert Julian Bray

Goldtrail - What should I do?  Helpful advice from Aviation & Media Expert Julian Bray:

Already on holiday? Relax, enjoy your holiday. The ATOL bond through the CAA will get you home at the end of your holiday.

Resort Hotel now wants me to pay them direct for my stay.... see our "Cashing-In Hotel Black List"  on Pages Index (left of screen)

Everyone else read on: 

NON AIR HOLIDAY ARRANGEMENTS such as hotels only, are not covered by ATOL scheme 

Booked but yet to travel?   The tickets you hold are worthless for travel, your holiday has been cancelled. If you booked directly with Goldtrail, you may be able to claim the cost back through the ATOL bond. See www.atol.org.uk  for details.

Also see if your travel agent will change your arrangements and accept the ATOL promise ie refund when it eventually comes as part or full payment and if they will defer their charges, although they are not obliged to do so.

Not ATOL protected...accommodation only arrangements are not covered. If the transaction includes a bundled in flight then ATOL is invoked, and you are protected.

ATOL protected and yet to travel?  Check your confirmation if you contracted directly with Goldtrail, you are entitled to make a claim. The process will take several months and may take as long as two years (exceptional cases)  

I booked with a Travel Agent... Talk to them about a claim and possible alternative arrangements. As a member of ABTA -[Association of British Travel Agents] (however not all travel agents or resellers are!) remind the Agent they operate subject to the ABTA Code of Professional Conduct and therefore morally (if not legally) bound to assist you to either recover your money or find an alternative holiday or resolution.

Credit Cards? If you booked through an Agent using a credit card claim through the CAA.

If you paid Goldtrail directly using a Credit card for at least £100 of the total Goldtrail invoice you may be entitled to make a claim under the UK Consumer Credit Act against the Credit Card company for the full amount.

If you used a Debit Card, Cash or Cheque then claim from the CAA.

I just booked a room, can I claim? Doubtful but talk to your credit card company,bank or travel insurer.

Can I claim through Travel Insurance. No the insurance will not cover Travel Company failures hence the ATOL bond.

Will insurance premiums be refunded? No but could be transferred to any new replacement holiday contact the broker or insurance company.

Generally: Carefully preserve in a folder all paperwork in date order, as the failed company records will be impounded by the Administrator/Liquidator and may be difficult to find...    

Contributor: Aviation & Media Expert Julian Bray ISDN Interview down line 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X Dual Codec Glensound GSGC5 Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile:07944 217476

Cheapo Holiday firm at end of Goldtrail. Administrators called in

The 'low-end' cheapo Goldtrail Holidays firm has gone into administration with an estimated 16,000 people notionally stranded overseas, but all will be repatriated by the Civil Aviation Authority ATOL bonding scheme, at the end of their scheduled holiday. All new departures however have been cancelled, in effect their holiday has suddenly evaporated.

Aviation & Media Expert Julian Bray comments: "CAA head of Atol licensing Mr Andy Cohen confirmed the Turkey specialist had failed at about 18.00hrs on Friday evening, but said the CAA was still "in the dark on detail". The CAA said the failure was not on the scale of XL Leisure Group which collapsed in September 2008 leaving 60,000 holidaymakers overseas.

"Industry speculation (and an adverse experience on the BBC Watchdog programme ) had been suggesting for some time that Goldtrail could be in difficulties. Existing holidaymakers ie currently at the resort are protected under the ATOL bond administered by the CAA and will be flown home at the end of their allotted holiday, but all new departures as from 6pm Friday 16th July (yesterday) are cancelled.

"Customers who have paid over £100 of the total invoice price by  a credit (ie NOT DEBIT) card may be in a better position to recover some of monies paid to Goldtrail, otherwise customers will be subject to the administration process and could well wait some 2 years or more for a partial or full payment under travel industry bonding arrangements. Other travel companies are expected to fail in the Autumn when in the Industry cashflow is low but payments have to be made to secure the following years flights, transit coaches and hotel/resort facilities" added Mr Bray.

Contributor: Aviation & Media Expert Julian Bray ISDN Interview down line 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X Dual Codec Glensound GSGC5 Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile:07944 217476

Prick of Darkness, Knob of Butter, Book of Sham.

Mentalist Junior spends his pocket money...

Well rub me down with an oily rag, the Prick of Darkness has [ghost?] written a book, The Thin Man or something like that (already down to £12:50 post paid if you pull up the Amazon website). A bit of a blow for The Times serialisation (£1 a pop) website and the paper has already outed all the best bits.

For free copies of The Times, any railway carriage at London railway stations after 8am in the morning (Brighton to Waterloo line is best) . I've put my order in so a detailed review once it arrives but I am assisted by the magnificent Jeff Randall and his superb piece in The Daily Telegraph who thinks the Prick of Darkness has done the political chattering classes a favour.

Hold on Jeff, it would have been a better outcome if the Prick of Darkness -  who has flat feet you know - had outed the Prime Mentalist and come clean about his dire health and mental situation before he bankrupted us all. Still can't see Mrs B hanging around the Manse in Scotland for too long without an interpreter, so we might have a divorce ecosse style, return of Mrs B and bairns to London (unless of course the former mentalist quickly pops another in the oven) and as Jeff R puts it, leaving behind 'the bottle of whisky and a loaded revolver.'

No one to throw Nokias at, no cowering timid bullied staff, no crooked spin doctors to diss political foes and no secret slush fund or the nations Gold Reserves to dip into (Get real,He's already given the gold away!- Ed.). Sadly it will be our childrens' children still picking up the bills long after we are ground down for bonemeal fertiliser.

It is going to be an interesting day, when the failed one, decides to return to the House of Commons (next year?) to actually do the job he is now being paid for, or perhaps he could just balance a glassy eye on his Westminster seat and take the other one on a world tour, no one would notice. Only Tony Blair has mastered the art of being in three 10 star places at once (three fees as well? That would be a good one, even Penn and Teller would sign up for the show ...  did I tell you that I also perform a similar levitation as to the one P&T did on Sky TV and the identical act on the iffy BBC WAAAAN Show an hour later....No?  Well now you know! Knobs of Butter all round!

Contributor: Media Expert Julian Bray ISDN Interview down line 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X Dual Codec Glensound GSGC5 Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile:07944 217476

"SHOTGUN" Tasers fired before gunman Raoul Moat's death

Moat was wanted over three shootings on Tyneside.  An inquest into the death of gunman Raoul Moat heard that two officers fired what is believed to be the unapproved by the Home Office high velocity 100 yard range Shotgun Taser stun cartridge varient at him, in an attempt to stop Moat killing himself. The 37-year-old had been on the run for a week after three shootings.

An investigator from the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said that the officers involved were from the West Yorkshire force.  Newcastle coroner David Mitford said the cause of Moat's death on Saturday was a gunshot wound to the head. Details of when the Shotgun Tasers were fired were revealed during the opening of the inquest into Moat's death. The inquest was later adjourned.

The IPCC had previously said Tasers were deployed during a six-hour stand-off in Rothbury, Northumberland, but it had not been confirmed at what point they were fired. IPCC senior investigator Steve Reynolds told the hearing in Newcastle that the officers discharged their  unapproved Shotgun Tasers in an apparent attempt to prevent Moat from killing himself.

Mr Reynolds told the hearing at Newcastle Civic Centre: "At 1.12am Mr Moat's shotgun discharged, resulting in him receiving fatal injuries.

Contributor: Media Expert Julian Bray ISDN Interview down line 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X Dual Codec Glensound GSGC5 Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile:07944 217476

Now Over to the Sky Suit...

Now Over to the Sky Suit...even infants can dress to impress (the author at 3 months...)

30 Degrees Centigrade to you and me in the UK very,very hot but you have to hand it to Skynews working on a fraction of the news gathering budget that the BBC has. They not only manage to find a bunch of news reporters who on the main scrub up well and refuse to take the Guardian style plain ugly pills (well, with one or two exceptions)  but also collectively realise that you need to be well dressed on the Telly to convey authority and professionalism.

Unlike the motley crew the BBC tends to sport on national news stories but still miles better than the total Horlicks denied UK nationals inside the UK known as BBC World News. . I'm sorry for any brit stuck on  a cruise ship and watching the BBC World News output. Dire is too good a word.

Martin Brunt who now seems to have found a good woman who is feeding him (we ended the 'Pies for Martin Brunt' campaign some time ago) but Martin is fully and expensively suited and booted, not even a top collar button undone, in 30 degrees, whilst reporting from darkest jungle terrritory in Rotherbury, Northumbria.


 He is not alone, shadowed by the nations stock of sniper rifle armed police officers seeking the demented killer currently on the run. Seemingly able to outwit the police from several forces. Sadly this will all end in further killing and the police cannot be given a  clean bill of heath.

Warnings ignored, tip offs delayed and a temporary female chief constable who sports garish 1970's blue green metalflake eye make up and a strange backcombed hair style. Coupled with a stilted  "now listen children" drawn out vocal delivery...  

Someone (please) has to urgently take her gently on one side and drill some media training into her, or at least the TV companies could offer her the services of a good make-up designer as they are called these days...

Meanwhile the parasols are up in the garden and breaking news the GMTV sofa is being drycleaned and the the programme renamed 'Daybreak' or as Sky has a similar offering  how about GMTV being called 'Late in the day we pause for a break Mate....oh no own goal! Eh Childes? BTW Mr Childes please get a tie and white shirt.. open neck is very last governement...  


Regrettably Mr Moat flushed out from a large storm drain, has as I predicted now perished with a shotgun aimed at his neck and Moats  (ie his own), trigger finger seemingly contrived to blow the front of his face off. 

As the News of the World  video now suggests Moat was just sitting, moments before the end game was played out.  A seemingly pea brained pair of "Expert" Taser instructed officers, then bored with the many hours stalemate and torrential rain each decided to independently shoot 10,000 Taser volts into the "nutter" (as described by a female police officer reading aloud a supportive letter and bouyed up by a barely supressed snigger from the acting chief constable) so that would be 20,000 volts (?) So would the resultant lightening bolt cause Moats trigger finger to twitch or contract?  For legal reasons he was declared dead on arrival at hospital (no one ever dies in in transit in an ambulance) but news reports say Moats head was covered with a blanket.

The question is how much of the head actually made it to hospital? Was Mr Moat very dead before being conveniently whisked off from the crime scene with full blues and twos and unseasonable weather power washing the CSI site squeaky clean of all possible forensic? Only the Police Complaints Commission can tell.....admittedly a few years down the line.

Not a good outcome, expect heads to roll (oh dear, didn't really mean that) several resignations/retirements with full pension rights long before the complaints people come up with a possible answer...    

Contributor: Media Expert Julian Bray ISDN Interview down line 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X Dual Codec Glensound GSGC5 Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile:07944 217476

Not In My Name! BBC World Television Please !

Having spent the last couple of weeks chasing the sun around the Med (only to find that it was parked over the UK and Wimbledon was bone dry for the tennis) the only smattering  of news being courtesy of ship TV and the spectacularly bad and ANTI-BRITISH (!) BBC World TV delivered by satellite.

I say Anti-British at a time when the BBC is said to be cutting costs, they might like to start with a wholesale sacking of BBC Worlds' legion of totally unknown, scruffy, third rate tongue tied reporters and commentators, some with little understanding of basic English. 

Few of them would barely get a look in on the UK main TV channels or even local radio! BBC World TV is also stuffed full of advertising and old repeats too! How dare the BBC give 'Johnny Foreigner' a totally false view of the UK! 

Don't expect cogent UK news either, but acres of meaningless self centered euro/afro/arabtwaddle and blatent cringeworthy spin doctor crafted handouts from 'emerging' nations.

It also has a website relentlessly plugged at 5 to 10 minute intervals WWW.BBC.COM  but don't try to log in from the UK as it's blocked!  You get transferred to the regular BBC website at www.bbc.co.uk  It's not only the staff that need sacking but those who control and sanction this.

Clearly the canny folk at BBC World TV feel the funding by way of a Grant in Aid from HM Treasury is safe, as unless you happen to be trapped on a cruise ship, UK nationals and UK politicians including David Cameron and Nick Clegg are unlikely to ever in their lifetime see or hear the sub-standard dross being endlessly churned out in our name!                                                    

Contributor: Media Expert Julian Bray ISDN Interview down line 0044(0)1733 555 319 G722 & APT-X Dual Codec Glensound GSGC5 Landline: 01733 345581 Mobile:07944 217476



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