I was up painfully early this morning to be online at 6am, ready for the second chance sales of remaining Olympic tickets. I’ve always loved the Olympics and attending a Games is on my bucket list, so getting up a bit early wasn’t going to put me off.
These tickets were for people who applied for tickets the first time but didn’t get any. Apparently LOCOG, the organising committee, initially said that only 1 in 7 people didn’t get any tickets in the first application. The true figure is more like 2 out of 3, which certainly fits with my experience and anecdotal evidence I’ve heard about other people’s applications.
That means there were many bleary-eyed people across the land this morning, hoping their luck would be better on the second attempt. The system for the first ballot has been widely criticised for leaving some people with plenty of tickets and most with none. There was a limit to the number of sessions you could apply for – 20. This time, it’s a first come first served system, which is no good at all if you’re on holiday or were unable to access a computer this morning. The applications are open for a week but most of the remaining events sold out very quickly. They should have had a much lower limit last time, maybe 10 sessions. That would have been much fairer, as the 20 sessions limit penalised those who did not have several thousands pounds lying around in their bank accounts (ie. most of us).
Predictably, the site could not handle the number of applications coming in. I had carefully planned, consulted with my friend Emma over which events we were going to apply for and made sure I could remember my log-in details. At 5.58 am I was logged in and as 6am rolled around I started searching for tickets. Having noted the codes and dates I found them quickly and started processing my order, which was very fast as my debit card details were saved from last time.
It can have been no later than 6.03 when I hit the ‘Submit’ button and that’s when I encountered the first pronlem. The site was busy. It kept refreshing itself, then not working. I always ended up back at the application summary page, where I tried again, as quickly as I could. This happened five or six times. Finally it got to the Visa security page, where I entered my password and started to relax, thinking it was working. Then it cut out again.
Back on the application summary page, the list of sessions I had picked had disappeared. I thought the site had lost it and I was, by now, very frustrated. I attempted to find them again, sure that my sessions would have sold out by now, only to find that my application seems to have gone through after all! I have an application number, it says my application was submitted in black and white (well, white and orange, but that’s not the point) and I can’t try to make another. However, I haven’t had a confirmation email, which I should have, and that’s worrying me.
A quick google search indicates that I’m not alone. Hopefully it won’t be a problem, but when I tried to call the tickets helpline to check, I was kept on the phone for 4 minutes listening to automated announcements, some of which are out of date, before being told once again that there was a high volume of calls. Then they said that because of the number of people trying to get through, my call would terminate, which it promptly did. Not impressed. I’m just glad it’s not a premium-rate number or I would be extremely peeved. There was no option to continue holding until you got to speak to a human being, which has always been my experience when phoning a bank or similar organisation, no matter how many calls they have to deal with.
Meanwhile, I keep checking my email hoping to get either my confirmation of application email or even the email telling me whether I got any tickets, which is supposed to come within 24 to 48 hours. Fingers crossed! I’m not hopeful though, as it turns out that of the 2.3 million tickets left before the start of today’s second-chance sales, 1.7 million are for football.