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Redskins Fans in the Hampton Roads/Richmond Area (Bad Experience with a Travel Co.)

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Just wanted to let those of you thinking of taking one of these "tour group" packages to a Skins game know about my recent experience with one out of Virginia Beach.

I will bump this occasionally for a couple of weeks so people can see it. I wrote the experience up for an article on Drafttek.com but I am posting it in its entirety here for the sake of you who may be thinking about this option for seeing a game.

Scott Lilliston - Senior Writer, Drafttek.com Mid Atlantic

The Fit Club: Her First NFL Game

Filed under: Uncategorized — Draft Tek Draft Blog @ 9:10 pm

For as much football as she’s watched, or been forced to watch, I thought I’d take the better half to her first NFL game last weekend. It seemed the least I could do. What ensued was the most colossal failure since…well….you decide.

Our Sunday begins the day before when I surprise her by telling her that we are GOING to the game the next day and I even sprung for “upgraded” seats in the lower bowl of Fed-Ex Field! WOOHOO…bells and whistles, fireworks and hugs and kisses. This is gonna be fun! We pack up some warm clothes, a couple of coolers and we go to bed with visions of touchdowns dancing in our heads.

The game tickets and travel were purchased through a “tour and travel” group. (For those that have never done this, you basically ride on a chartered bus and get your tickets from the same company.) We leave our house in Virginia Beach and we show up at our pick-up location in Chesapeake at a little before 7am ET.

MAN…it’s early, but well worth it. The little lady smiles in agreement. A little after 7am, the bus departs. We are huddled up and looking to sneak in a few minutes of sleep.

7:50am ET, we make our first stop to pick up more groggy but eager fans. I head back to the toilet and quickly come back with some recon for the wife, ”the toilet is clean…I think”. She clearly has to go so she heads back, the bus eases off to our next pick up point.

8:00am ET, the wife dumps herself in the seat next to me and explains to me that there is no toilet paper in the bathroom and that I am a moron for not noticing this on my re-con trip. She mentions it to the “tour operator” who has by now been on the intercom 3 times to tell us folk in the top of the double decker bus which stairway we are to use…I’m beginning to feel like a third class citizen.

8:50am - What the heck?!?!? Is someone smoking on the bus?? The wife smacks me and asks me to get to the bottom of it. Luckily, another top-floor bus rider has just returned from below where he has found that guests are getting their morning smoke in while in the toilet paper-less bathroom. Good LORD…I think I just got cancer….”oh tour operator!?!?” One other quick issue if I may have a word. She shuffles off…looking confused.

9:00am ET, no intercom request to the guests not to smoke in the toilet paper-less bathroom, but we have heard twice more that we aren’t to use the front steps of the bus. We are also picking up people from our next stop.

9:30am ET, HEY…looks like they are going to turn on a movie or something for all of us.

9:33am ET, “attention….we’re having difficulties with the DVD player. We’ll keep working on it.” I get “the look” from the wife. This needs to start getting better.

10:30am ET, we’re stopped. I wake up…”we’re stopped”, I say. The wife gives me “the look” again. I’m going back to sleep.

11:45am ET, “we’re stopped”, I say. “YOU THINK” says the wife?!?! What is going on here? I look around…we’re still many miles from Fed-Ex Field and a battle in the NFC East. What does our itinerary say, sweetie?

It says we’re suppose to be at the stadium at 11:30am for a 1pm game! Hmmm….”oh tour operator?!?” She comes over and says, it’s a holiday weekend and traffic is bad. Clearly she works for Captain Obvious in the “NO Kidding” department. I don’t sweat it too much, surely they’ll take another route and we’ll be in our seats for that glorious kickoff. Maybe I’ll have a beer…

12:15pm ET, I’ve now had my second beer and I can tell I shouldn’t have any more. We’re not changing routes. We’re not gonna make kickoff…WE ARE STILL NOT MOVING!! By now, I have conceded that we are all going to miss the enshrinement of Sean Taylor into the Redskins Ring of Honor. It was to be done before the game. By now, I’m just praying we see the game. The wife’s not speaking to me at this point.

12:45pm ET, we’re on approach to the stadium. I ask the tour operator if she wants to hand out the tickets now rather than once we get there since that would just further delay us. Negative…I guess that made too much sense….she’ll dole them out once we arrive.

1:09pm ET, the wife and I exit the bus and wait for our tickets from the tour operator who is now wishing she had had done this on the bus. We run from the bus drop-off toward our gate with our “upgraded” tickets and walk to our seats.

1:15pm ET, UPGRADED SEATS?!?!?! We are in a section with “obstructed view” seats. Meaning that the wife and I can see only half of the field from our “upgraded seats”. We are seated next to, and behind, a concrete pillar. Oh but Dan Snyder was nice enough to put a 27 inch television above this section’s head. We appreciate the charity. ”They only cost an extra hundred dollars sweetie,” I joke. No response…I’m frightened for my life. Additionally, all that roaring we heard from out on the concourse was the Giants, Eli Manning heaving a pass 40+ yards to Amani Toomer for the games first score. I feel cheated and dejected…and scared.

2:00pm ET, some gems from the wife…”they switch sides after every quarter?!?! It looks the same on TV.” The nuances of the game don’t pass her by though. “Look at how the Giants seem to know exactly where the Redskins players are going.” Disgusted, I know exactly what she means.

2:20pm ET, Redskins Rookie Devin Thomas takes a reverse to the house…it would be the only time the crowd would sing Hail to the Redskins. We both belt it out at the top of our lungs.

2:50pm ET, Shaun Suisham misses a chip shot to end the first half…the Redskins are deflated. “That was ‘The Set Up Moment (http://blog.drafttek.com/page/3/’)..” I say to the wife.

3:30pm ET, The game is out of reach. The Redskins are getting their doors blown off.

4:05pm ET, a drunk Giants fan is trying his best to pick a fight with any Redskins fan he sees. “Can we please just go back to the bus?” she says. Yes but I don’t think it’s going to get better there, I think to myself.

4:25pm ET, our bus starts moving toward the exit.

4:26pm ET, our bus stops.

5:30pm ET, our bus makes it to the on ramp of the interstate.

5:32pm ET, “I’m going to the restroom” the wife says.

5:33pm ET, “There’s still no __________ toilet paper!” Says the wife.

5:35pm ET, I do the only thing I can…go to sleep.

6:50pm ET, Whats going on? ”We all just finished watching Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom”, sayeth my better half. Sweet! This must mean we’ve gotten at least a third of the way home. If we can zip home and get back by the 8:30 or 9:00pm time that the tour group promised, maybe I can beg for a couple hours and find myself a spot in our bed tonight. ”We’re only 8 miles from the stadium” she says. EIGHT MILES!!! Ugh….this is insanity. Cue up Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade! Hell, I’ll even take “Pooty-Tang” at this point.

7:00pm ET, I call over the “tour operator”…WHAT THE HELL?!?!? She’s wearing a Tiki Barber Giants jersey….this explains a lot. IT WAS AN INSIDE JOB!! I wave her off…I don’t need to talk to her anymore.

7:30pm ET, OK, were coming up on some alternate roads that we can head south on. We’ve been stuck in traffic for 3 hours, they HAVE to have enough sense to take an alternate route. The wife and I try to nod off again.

8:40pm ET, “WHY ARE WE STILL ON THIS ____________ ROAD!?!?” Shouts the wife…I wipe the slobber off my chin and look around…..”WHY ARE WE STILL ON THIS ____________ ROAD!?!?! I ask. I realize I’ve just made a scene but the other captives, I mean guests, on the bus are on my side. A mutiny is brewing….

8:45pm ET, Indian Jones reminds me that “only the penatent man shall pass.” I need to calm down, ignore my swelling knees and be humble and gracious. I try to tell the wife a joke…”so, what has two thumbs and has been stuck on a bus all day?” She’s not amused…”what has two thumbs and is going to kick your arse?!?!, she says. Point taken…I’m going back to sleep.

10:00pm ET, we are making our first stop to drop people off. We’ve been on the bus for 5 and a half hours with 80 other people who haven’t been able to use the bathroom or get up and walk around…people are not happy. The tour operator tells us that she’s going to pass around a hat for donations to the bus driver. Laughter errupts on the second floor of the bus. Hilarity.

10:05om ET, we stop and make our “scheduled” dinner stop at McDonald’s. The look on the staff’s faces are priceless when we tell them that there is a bus full of hungry, mostly hung-over people, outside and they all want food. The geniuses behind this event are apparently coming under some fire as I stand in line for some McNuggets and listen. One bus rider tells another…”go have a smoke in the bathroom, theyre not saying anything.”

10:30pm ET, we head back out on the road and back onto the parking lot…I mean the interstate.

11:50pm ET, we make our second to last stop to drop off people. A number of people also jump off to have a smoke. Finally Tiki Barber (our tour operator) has the guts to say something and asks those people to get back on the bus.

12:30pm ET, the weary couple return to their hometown. She’s not speaking to me. I ask her if she realizes that we could have flown to Washington, DC, and back for less money and in less time than we spent on the bus. She is aware…I should get comfy on the couch when we get home.

**Follow up - a couple of days later, after I had time to cool off, I called the ”tour and travel company” to ask them for a refund. I was basically told that they can’t control the weather or the traffic, and that since they had been doing this for 28 years, they knew how to run their business and I should stick it where the sun don’t shine. When I tell them about the limited view seats, the lateness, the overall miserableness of their service, I’m told…”so you GOT the service, you’re just mad about the QUALITY of the service.” Then the owner hung up on me. As I have given them some time to think about it before they answer my request for a refund in court, I will not yet mention them by name. Lessons learned though…consumer beware!**

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Sorry to hear you experience was bad but you've got to have some more realistic expectations. I used to take these tours at least a couple times a year and I never had an issue with it. Of course I went with a bunch of friends...not my wife. The way I look at it is nobody has to drive so everybody can get loaded, play cards, and generally have fun on the way up. On the way back instead of somebody having to drive 4-6 hours through that nightmare traffic everybody can sleep on the bus.

It's been a few years since I've taken one but we always left early enough to get to the game on time. I would be very upset missing the start of the game. There is no excuse for that.

As far as your tickets go that's what happens when you take these types of tours. It's a crap shoot what kind of tickets you will get but don't expect good seats. They don't have them. We always got nosebleed seats but they were at least on the sidelines and not the endzone. If you want good seats buy the tickets yourself on eBay, Craigslist, or StubHub and you will know exactly where you are sitting.

For anybody else thinking of taking one of these tours just set your expectations correctly and I think you'll see it's a pretty good deal.

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For anybody else thinking of taking one of these tours just set your expectations correctly and I think you'll see it's a pretty good deal.

Basically what this guy is saying is shell out $500 and expect to get hosed at every turn..

...and bump....so the word gets out.

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Originally Posted by chef8181 viewpost.gif

For anybody else thinking of taking one of these tours just set your expectations correctly and I think you'll see it's a pretty good deal.

Basically what this guy is saying is shell out $500 and expect to get hosed at every turn..

...and bump....so the word gets out

no offense dude, but you come off sounding like a dick... someone is giving an alternative experience and you feel the need to attack him... lolz!

Judging how nagging your wife was about things outside of your control, your wife sounds like a real ***** as well.

It seems like you might have not gotten a great deal on these tickets, but why did you choose to take the bus instead of buying the tickets yourself?

You could have gotten club seats for 350/pp...

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Great Atlantic sucks. I did this same thing from va beach in 2004 for the Dallas @ Washington MNF game. My conclusion afterwards is it is definitely not the way to go to a game. Buy the tickets yourself and drive your own car. I remember that same stop at Mcdonalds, we sat in the parking lot for about an hour. However, we did barely make the kickoff. I feel your pain.

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Fellas let me tell you something stay away from this company. Several years ago my brother-in-law and I got a trip and game ticket from these clowns. We requested certain tickets and were told we would get them. The owner would not give them to us ahead of time but we trusted him. We got on the bus and first the driver got lost on the way. Second when we got off the bus he handed out the tickets and they were crap, not what we requested. My brother-in-law got into a yelling match, we had no choice went into FedEx. During the game the bus driver allowed someone onto the bus to get something, problem was the person wasnt with the group and they stole coolers and other crap. Then to top it all off the A/C broke on the bus on the way home. The owner is an ass.

Several years later a new girlfriend not knowing my experience decided to get a package from them for me for X-mas. After I opened the gift before I could say 2 words she said, "the owner came out from the back yelling from the top of his lungs when she asked the person up front for the tickets to a certain seats ahead of time." She was telling me she wasnt even talking with him he just overheard her conversation with somebody up front.

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THANK YOU, SIR. I was planning a trip for me and the misses for next season. I've heard about some pretty bad experiences with the GAT. Only one person I know actually had some good things to say about their trip. Giving the overall experiences though, the bad outweighs the good. I guess I'll be buying the tickets and driving myself. Thank you, again, for posting.

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