I will start off by saying that the on track experience is very fun and special. However, everything about the way this company runs this is HORRIBLE and they are thieves.
BEWARE of the worst / unclear booking website you will ever find. I was in Abu Dhabi for a few days and was going to Dubai on December 6th 2022. I saw this experience and decided I have to do it.
So I went online, on the official formula yas website. I selected formula yas 3000, and selected “book now”. I was directed to a page that asks for 3 things:
Select a date / time
Select country origin of drivers license
Would you like to add a video?
That’s it. Then it asks you to check out. So I selected my date and time and paid. I received email confirmation shortly and the invoice reads: “yas Marina 3000 experience with video”
On their website, it’s very clear what the experience includes. It says it’s 20 min on the track following an instructor, then afterwards your instructor gives you advice on how you could improve.
I arrived on the day of my booking, checked in and got dressed in their suits.
I will pause quickly from the story to comment on the DISGUSTING driving suit they provide, that look AND smell dirty. My suit clearly had not been washed and smelled of horrible body odour. They also make you change your shoes if they deem they are not flat enough, and they give you also dirty shoes that have not been sanitized.
Now back to the story. Once you get ready you do your briefing, where the instructor shows you a video of important info of the car and track, then also talks to you and the group a little bit and answers any questions.
After this you are lead downstairs, you enter the car and they start your engines one by one and send you off behind one of the instructors.
The cars are amazing. Fast, responsive and really fun to drive. The instructor gives you a few laps going very slow to teach you the track / allow you to get acquainted with the car, then speeds up as he sees you are comfortable.
I was enjoying it at this point, forgetting all about the disgusting clothes I was wearing and just really enjoying the drive.
After about 9 minutes on the track, they waved a checkered flag for me, meaning my session was done and I must follow the instructor into the pits. I was confused, but of course followed him there not knowing why we went.
They made me park the car and get out and told me I was finished. I was confused because this is supposedly a 20 min session and it had only been less than 10. When I got out I asked the instructor “what’s going on, isn’t it 20 min” and he said to me “the normal session is 20 min, you booked express which is 10”
I said “express? I didn’t book anything express. What’s express?”
He then asked me to go upstairs and double check with the guy I checked in with.
I had never heard of “express” - the word wasn’t on the website when booking, there was no option for a full session vs an “express” session, and the word express cannot be found on my email confirmation OR my paid invoice.
Confused as ever, I went to registration and asked the guy. He told me that what I paid for was the express. “The express is 1025 AED with the video, and the full is 2050 AED with the video. On your invoice they charged you 1025 only. So it must be express.”
I explained to him that I didn’t select anything express, nor would I have ever booked it because 10 min on the track is not worth it at all to me. I showed him the website booking process, and the invoice and email i was sent. I showed him that no where in the booking process OR the invoice and email they sent, OR during registration did I see or hear anyone mention an express experience.
He was shocked and he agreed that the website didn’t advertise it properly and was very unclear. He said that he doesn’t know why even on my invoice it doesn’t say “express” when it should, and that my invoice description was that of the full experience and not the express one.
I told him how frustrated I was and how that session was a total waste and not what’s on my invoice, and so I told him I want to do the full session.
He told me I’d have to pay and do it another day as they are fully booked.
I had no problem with paying for it, as I know the full price is more than what I paid. I told him that’s fine I’ll pay for it, just refund this experience that was advertised wrong.
He told me that they can’t refund it because I already did the experience. He said “if you knew from before, and decided to not do it then I would’ve refunded you. But since you did it I can’t. Besides, technically you got what you paid for, even if it wasn’t clear during the booking”
I said to him: seriously? And how exactly was I supposed to know when it doesn’t say it anywhere on YOUR website, it doesn’t say it anywhere in my email confirmation, and it doesn’t say it on my invoice.
He sat there quietly and apologized and said he knows it’s a mistake from their end but there’s nothing he can do
I felt bad at this point for him because it isn’t HIS fault but the company.
He offered to send my complaint up to a higher up and get them to call me. After a lot of back and forth, they tried offering me merchandise to make up for it but said they cannot refund it, and after speaking to people in higher positions of power they said they’d call me back when I refused the merchandise and asked again for a refund.
After all the back and forth and not hearing back, I ended up calling my credit card company to get the charge cancelled, since they did not advertise it correctly at all.
For anyone looking to book, it is a seriously fun experience run by HORRIBLE people. Beware of your booking, if it is 1025 you are booking ONLY 10 MIN. It will not say this anywhere or specify that it’s express if you got the driving and video package.
The full session is the 2050 one.
Oh and the video that “allows you to relive the thrill” is only a video of your fastest lap. Not the whole experience. Also something that’s not advertised on their website.