22nd July 2021
A subsidiary of Tui, offers mainly all-inclusive breaks in sun-soaked destinations across Europe and further afield in places such as Antigua, Mexico and Thailand. Some half-board, bed and breakfast and room-only deals are also available, and the travel company provides adults-only breaks, spa escapes, winter sun options and now villa rentals. Customers can book online, call a travel adviser or visit one of the many First Choice or Tui stores, located on high streets across the UK.
Founded in 1987, you’d think First Choice would be well practised at holidays by now, but the travel company proved far from perfect.
Avg price per day: short haul/long haul
Description matching reality
Organisation of holiday
Value for money
PACKAGE HOLIDAY PROVIDER
VILLA HOLIDAY PROVIDER
First Choice may be part of the Tui Group, but it fared less well than its sister company in our survey of package holiday companies, and ended up five places below Tui in our results table. It was a similar story for villa holidays – First Choice couldn’t match the customer score of Tui and was the worst company to feature in our villa survey.
It was a mixed bag in terms of ratings, with holidaymakers scoring First Choice four stars out of a potential five for customer service and the organisation of their package holiday. However, accommodation and holiday descriptions failing to be the reality let First Choice down – customers only rated it three stars in both these categories.
As a villa provider, First Choice performed worse, with customers rating the holiday company an average three stars out of five in every category, accommodation included, which is an important element of any self-catering break.
Surprisingly for a company that claims to be ‘all about good value’, customers only rated First Choice three out of five stars for value for money. One customer who stayed at an all-inclusive property thought the ‘standard at times was lacking and there were too many extra charges’. The same person complained about ‘poor-quality food and drinks’. Another customer added that their hotel was ‘very expensive for what it offered’.
That said, lots of customers told us they had great holidays. One praised the company, saying, ‘Everything was perfect from start to finish and I’d definitely use them again’. Others commented on the ‘smooth’ booking process and ‘helpful’ staff.
First Choice automatically issued refund credit notes earlier in the pandemic and only then could customers apply for a cash refund. Now, it has committed to refunding everyone within 28 days.
While First Choice gained a respectable customer score for its package holidays, there are better and cheaper companies to choose from. EasyJet Holidays has exactly the same customer score, but gained better star ratings across the board and costs less, on average, for short-haul beach holidays. When it comes to villas, we wouldn’t even consider First Choice. Jet2Villas scored better and treated its customers well during the coronavirus crisis.