The holidays are a merry affair. At least they’re supposed to be. But for one family from Hyde in Greater Manchester, the holidays took on a nightmarish turn as they were left stranded in Egypt by their travel organiser.
The problems started with the fall of travel giant Thomas Cook. The company officially filed for bankruptcy in the early hours of September 23rd 2019, bringing to a close, their century and a half long heritage as the trusted travel organiser for millions.
With the collapse of the company came the stranding of over 60,000 passengers across the world.
Family stranded in Egypt with no way out
Anneka Skade, her mother Lynn and her daughters Alisha and Jessica were on a relaxing holiday to Egypt. On September 29th 2019, they headed to the Hurghada International Airport to catch a flight back home.
However, when they reached the boarding gate, the family was informed that the England bound flight was already full and that there were no seats for them. The news shook the family as the repatriation tickets had already been booked months in advance.
When asked about alternative flights back to the UK, airport authorities informed Anneka and her family that the two remaining options – one to Birmingham Airport and the other to Gatwick – were full too. The family of four had to wait at the airport for the next flight or return to their hotel.
False promises and unprofessionalism continue
After the exchange with airport authorities, Anneka Skade and her family ushered into a minibus, which was to take them from Hurghada International Airport to their hotel of residence. But based on reports from Anneka, the minibus did not drop them at their hotel. Instead, the driver stopped the vehicle just a few kilometres outside the airport and asked the passengers to debark.
When asked how she feels about the terrible treatment, Anneka had this to say: “It’s very stressful. My children were terrified; they did not know what was going on. I’ve got my disabled mum and two young children with me and I had to get a taxi back to the hotel.”
Thankfully, Anneka’s ordeal was about to an end. When they finally managed to return to their hotel, the staff was extremely empathetic and attentive. The mother of two confirms that the hotel even upgraded the family’s stay to an all-inclusive room for the additional layover at a small charge of £400.
Not an isolated situation
Unfortunately, Anneka Skade’s experience isn’t a one-off situation.
Just a week before Anekka’s troubles, Essex-based Demine Warner and her partner visited Spain with her two-year-old daughter Aubree. They too were left stranded and without a way back home. Demine confirmed that her child, who has epilepsy and cerebral palsy, was in a delicate condition and that supplies had run out to care for her, because of the unanticipated holiday extension.
The Civil Aviation Authority, who was in charge of helping travellers return to the UK, declined to comment about either case.