When looking at holidays we knew that sitting on a coach for 2 hours was not going to be our idea of fun. However, we had found the perfect hotel, flights and surrounding area so we decided to find a private transfer. Very quickly, we came across Hoppa (Arrive Happy) and we were promptly quoted a price that we were happy with.
I messaged the Hoppa Facebook page before we booked to find out if they could offer car seats and I had a quick reply explaining that they did as it is illegal for a child to travel without the correct seat in Spain, so of course they had them. Perfect we thought, safety was our top priority and Hoppa’s too by the look of it. Oh how we were wrong!
On Thursday 4th May 2017, we arrived at Faro airport excited and ready to get to our hotel quick. Unfortunately our happiness was about to take a plummet all thanks to Hoppa.
Hoppa’s guarantees are:
1. A Hoppa representative is waiting at the airport when you arrive (This is along with a picture of a person holding a name board)
2. Your vehicle is what you booked and meets Hoppa standards
3. You have a safe driving experience
4. Your return journey is confirmed and arrives in good time
As we looked around, we quickly realised that no representative was waiting for us. (Guarantee 1 broken) Worried we spoke to Tui member of staff who directed us to the Green Bus stand outside. We quickly got outside and walked up to the stand, after explaining no one was waiting for us, they took our name and confirmed it would be an HOURS wait! Of course we said that this was not good enough and were immediately told this was a mistake and that our car would be there in 5 minutes. We of course were not happy, but a small delay wasn’t the end of the world.
|Hoppa Faro, No representative waiting for you.|
While waiting, a couple next to us (There were many many people waiting) told us that they had been waiting an hour already. Over the next hour, we went back and forth to the desk, each time being fobbed of with a ‘not long now’ kind of answer. Eventually 55 minutes after we got to the desk (over an hour after we should have left) our vehicle finally turned up.
Our next issue happened once we got to the car. The vehicle did have car seats, but they were NOT the correct seats for our children as promised. Our baby (under 1 year) was made to forward face and our pre-schoolers were in simple boosters (no backs). We were very angry but were told over and over that this was all they had.
The car seats were also FILTHY dirty and full of rips and marks. They were not something I would have ever considered putting my children in. We were finally on our way and after another hiccup of the driver being on his phone while driving, we were just desperate to get to our hotel.
Our return journey was unfortunately MUCH MUCH worse. We rang Hoppa the evening before we left to confirm our journey, after speaking with the lady to confirm the pope visiting would not affect traffic (as the news said it would) we were told our pick up was an hour later (they claimed because of the time difference).
Our car turned up to take us back to the airport and the driver ‘fitted’ the first seat. I say ‘fitted’ because it could not have been ‘fitted’ any UNSAFER if he had tried. I tried to fix the problem but no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t get it any closer to the seat. If this wasn’t bad enough, as I moved the seat to re-fit it, I noticed the straps at the back were NOT even attached to the seat! Leaving our children totally unprotected in the event of an accident. As he passed us the two boosters, I asked him where the second baby seat was. I couldn’t believe my ears when we were told that he did not have one!
|The car seats were not even fitted correctly.|
FOUR children and only THREE seats. Not only would I NEVER even dream of traveling like this, it was totally illegal in the country we were in. 20 minutes on the phone (Me to the UK emergency number – which was useless the 3 times I rang it by the way and also the driver to his managers) resulted in the driver going to the supermarket to buy a seat. Unfortunately, he couldn’t get one and 40 minutes past our departure we were still waiting at the hotel with no idea what was going on.
Hoppa finally decided to get us a taxi but said that only the baby and 1 person could go in it (splitting our family up in another country!) When the taxi arrived the driver got out and explained that he did not have a baby seat with him! We (me and baby) would have to get in the taxi with him and go to his house to pick a seat up and then meet the others at the airport.
|Incorrect size car seats.|
I was shocked, I honestly didn’t know what to say. Obviously, there was no way we were going with a stranger to his house. After over an hour we had no solution and had no choice but to get into the car and put the baby on my lap. A journey that I will NEVER forget.
With my husband on the verge of an Epileptic Seizure due to the stress of it all, 4 children crying because they could feel the tension, I was sitting in that car holding on to my baby with my life hoping and praying that nothing would happen, that we would make it to the airport in one piece and trying to look calm while not crying my eyes out (again)
|Our daughter’s life put at risk.|
On our way to the airport, we did (as the news predicted) hit traffic and police checks, the driver was doing well over the speed limit and using his phone whilst driving. I honestly do not know how we all made that journey without being sick.
We got to the airport 5 minutes before our flight was due to LEAVE! By some miracle, check in was still open and our flight was delayed so we did make it, but only by running through the airport like a bunch of crazy people.
In conclusion, Hoppa is the worst company I have ever used. We would NEVER book with them again and honestly advise everyone we know not to also. If you don’t believe me, you only have to look at the masses of 1* (because you can’t go lower) reviews on their Facebook page to see.
If you want to ‘Arrive Happy’, I suggest you find a different transfer company!
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