Friday 4th December was the day myself and most of the UK were waiting for. The day tickets for Adele’s tour went on sale.
I think we all expected it to go a little crazy as everyone rushed to get tickets, but I don’t think we quite anticipated what we were in store for that day.
Didn’t stand a chance
It was my day off work, so I made sure I was up early for the tickets going on sale at 9am. I even noted down the accessible ticket line number the night before so I was prepared for the Friday morning frenzy. I desperately wanted to get tickets for her first tour in four years.
I eagerly tried calling the number at 8:55am, but it quickly cut me off so I waited and called back dead on 9am. The message that played explained that only accessible tickets can be booked on this number and if it’s not for accessible tickets to call another number. I waited for the message to finish and expected to be put in a queue, but this didn’t happen. All I heard was an engaged tone then the call ended. I called back straightaway only to hear the same thing happen.
I tried the number again and again but kept hearing the same message and the same engaged tone before getting cut off. I started to think there was a problem with the line as it wasn’t letting me be put on hold. I repeatedly called this number from 9am before giving up at 10:30am. Did disabled Adele fans even stand a chance?
I must have called a thousand times
Ok it maybe wasn’t a thousand times I tried calling, more like 85 times, but it definitely felt like a thousand. 85 calls and not once did I get a chance to speak to anyone about booking Adele tickets. It was only after checking The SSE Hydro’s Facebook page and reading comments from other disappointed disabled fans that I realised the scale of the problem and that all tickets were in fact sold out.
Why was there a recorded message advising non-disabled customers that tickets were sold out, but no such recorded message on the accessible line letting disabled customers know this? Instead, eager disabled fans kept trying the number in the hope of getting tickets. Some even spending a small fortune on pointless phone calls. This is completely unfair and awful customer service to disabled customers.It can be stressful trying to book accessible tickets for any event, but more so when you have to call a specific number for an event that is in high demand. The number of accessible spaces is usually very limited in venues, which pretty much means most disabled customers have no chance of getting tickets.
I understand why SSE Hydro asks disabled customers to call the accessible ticket line instead of being able to book tickets online as people who don’t actually need the accessible tickets would book them instead. Surely there is a better system for booking tickets for events at The SSE Hydro?
The Access Card is something I’ve spoken about in previous posts and it’s a system that seems to be working really well. It is a card that identifies the barriers you face and any adjustments you may need at an event in regards to your disability. Symbols are used to identify the barriers/adjustments on your Access Card, which instantly allows providers and venues to know what support you require.
My Access Card has been great when booking tickets for gigs at O2 Academy venues in Scotland and England. All I have to do is book a standard ticket online for myself and then email the venue with my carer’s details and my Access Card number. It’s as easy as that!
Need for change
I’m not sure how the Access Card would work for a venue like the SSE Hydro, but anything is better than the disaster that took place trying to book Adele tickets. It makes you wonder how many people were actually working on the accessible ticket line to handle the volume of calls from disabled customers.
Hopefully, The SSE Hydro and the ticket providers have been made aware of the problems with the accessible ticket line and have a solution to prevent this from happening again. With more disabled music fans attending gigs than ever before due to overcoming many barriers to access etc, there are still barriers when it comes to purchasing tickets and that needs to change.
Main photo by Viktor Hanacek via picjumbo.com