The biggest brands in sun, sea and sand holidays received the lowest customer scores in Which? Travel's latest review of package holiday providers.
The survey of more than 8,000 holiday experiences places these big players firmly at the bottom of the table with Thomas Cook receiving the lowest customer score of 69% and Tui scoring 74%.
Customers told Which? Travel that while holidays with these companies were not dreadful, the experience offered was nowhere near as good as the consistently excellent package holidays offered by other providers, with the top-performing company receiving a score of 91%.
And a great holiday doesn't need to cost an arm and a leg. One of the survey's best-rated providers was also one of the cheapest.
Embattled Thomas Cook received mediocre three-star ratings for its accommodation, customer service and, crucially, value for money.
But, worse still, one in four Thomas Cook customers reported that they had encountered a problem on holiday.
Other holidaymakers complained of unhelpful, or simply non-existent reps. One customer said: 'Our holiday was advertised as having “in-resort service”, but when we contacted the rep to book an excursion, they refused to come to our hotel or any nearby hotels.'
Package holidays with Tui also garnered average three-star ratings for value for money, organisation and the holiday rep, although its accommodation and customer service scores were better at four stars.
However, some customers complained of unprofessional reps, unexplained delays and disappointing accommodation.And a number of customers reported paying extra for a sea view that turned out to be anything but.
First Choice, the all inclusive brand owned by Tui, did slightly better with a customer score of 75%.
Which? Travel's Naomi Leach, said: 'Whether it's disappointing accommodation, incompetent reps or a holiday that doesn't live up to the glossy brochure, choosing the wrong travel operator could leave you wishing you'd stayed at home.
'Our hard-earned holidays are too precious to be ruined by second-rate accommodation or shoddy customer service. If your package is not as described, don't be afraid to make a complaint.