Tuesday, 24 March 2009

The Royal Opera House - Period 4 Friends booking

What a fiasco.

It's actually right up there at the top of an immensely tall stack of fiasco's by the Royal Opera House.

I'm logged in at 10am, ready to purchase tickets - today is the first day for some Friends to book.

I keep refreshing the pages but by 10.15 I'm thinking that some new gremlin must have been generated by the changes made since last booking, because there are no tickets to buy.

Further refreshes of the page show that one production is on sale, but the others remain mulish.

I fire off an email to the online box office asking what is going on.

In the meantime I call the box office to try to book tickets over the phone. Eventually I get through and the operator doesn't really know which tickets are on sale and then leaves me on hold for a while. When she comes back she tries to tell me that I can only buy 2 tickets, and so I have to explain that as a member I can actually buy 4 if I want to - and she asks me to point out the small print which was sent to me by the box office, showing the same. Crazy.

But more to the point, it's time wasting. All the while, other customers are booking by phone or online (if they can), and some will have sent in postal forms which the box ofice will be working on at the same time to ensure fairness.

It's now 10.30 and I've persuaded the box office assistant that I am entitled to these tickets and so now she attempts to find me some. Only a few of my preferred seats are available and I have to buy in two pairs. And we are spending £85 here on each ticket !

I receive a reply from the online box office team telling me to check my browser settings and delete temporary files etc. Typical to suggest that it's my fault and slightly beggars belief given all the problems they've had.

I go back into the site, via the grey waiting room, position 136, and log in again. Sure enough, it's the same, except that if I use the calendar then I can buy any of the productions.

So, the problem is not with my browser, but with the way they have loaded the information onto the system. Only one production could be booked via the "Book Now" link, but if you go to the calendar via the "What's On" link, they are all there.

Furious to have wasted half an hour when they've tinkered with the system yet again and it's been found wanting.

The box ofice told me that I was the only person to have this problem - so if others have found the same, or other issues, please do let me know.

Thank goodness that's it for the rest of this season.

Next month we will know what the 09/10 season has in store - and I'm not holding my breath for anything exciting. Perhaps that will make booking a whole lot easier !


  1. Who has tried today to buy tickets from Royal Opera House and had problems? I've been trying for 3 hours without success having been kicked out of their waiting room when I get to position no. 1. What a joke!

  2. Anon - I understand where you are coming from. I have been trying, for a long time, to get improvements to the booking system but as you have discovered, there are problems. It is frustrating and you are far from alone. I hope you do get the tickets you are hoping for. It would be worth calling the box office if you can, to let them know you are having problems and to see what they could do to help you. Keep me posted, please.


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