A THOMAS Cook holidaymaker stranded in Turkey claims she and her family have been held hostage at their hotel – and ordered to pay £1,600 to keep their rooms.
Emma Robinson said she paid £5,000 for the all-inclusive two-week break in Antlayla with her six children and mum, Jennifer, 52.
Jennifer Robinson, pictured second from left) with her grandchildren and Emma, pictured second from right (back row)[/caption]
But the single mum says they’ve been left with “nowhere to sleep” for the remainder of their holiday after staff at the Eftalia Splash Resort Hotel “locked us out of our rooms”.
Emma, 33, claims the resort manager is now demanding they pay £800 to keep their two rooms at the five-star hotel.
The family was due to travel home to Loftus, North Yorks., on Wednesday, but are now stranded abroad after Thomas Cook went bust.
Emma told Sun Online: “We were called into reception this morning after the news broke about Thomas Cook going bankrupt. We have two rooms at the hotel – and we were told we would have to pay £800 for each room if we wanted to stay on there.
“I can’t afford to pay £1,600 – I’m a single mum. The holiday itself cost £5,000. Now we’re locked out of our rooms. We don’t know where we’ll be sleeping for the next two nights – or when we’ll get home. We’re devastated. This is the children’s first holiday abroad together – and this is how it has turned out.
“I have been arguing with the hotel manager, who says he’s been left out of of pocket by Thomas Cook, but that’s not our fault. This was supposed to be our holiday. It’s so stressful – and now they’ve sent security guards with guns into the hotel. We’re still waiting in reception as we have nowhere else to go. We just want to come home now – and we don’t even know when or how that will happen.”
I can’t afford to pay £1,600 – I’m a single mum. The holiday itself cost £5,000
Emma recorded footage during her stand-off with the hotel’s manager.
She added: “He was shouting at me, telling me I must pay the money to stay on at the hotel. He then ordered me to delete the footage from my phone, saying it was ‘illegal’ to film him.”
Britain’s oldest travel firm went bust this morning, leaving 21,000 jobs at risk and thousands of holidaymakers stranded abroad.
Emma’s ordeal comes as hoteliers in Spain admitted British Thomas Cook guests could be asked to stump up extra cash or be asked to leave before the end of their holidays – if they discover the ATOL scheme will not cover the cost of their full stays.
Uncertainty reigned among hotel chiefs in Britain’s number one foreign holiday destination following the shock news.
Rescue planes began to fly the first holidaymakers back to the UK from Spain this morning with apparent normality.
But high-level emergency meetings were taking place to discuss issues facing those who reached their holiday destinations just hours before Thomas Cook collapsed.
Antonio Mayor, President of the Benidorm, Costa Blanca and Valencia Regional Hotel Association, said: “As far as hoteliers go there is no hope.Thomas Cook is a corpse and all that’s left to do is bury it.
“In Benidorm alone hoteliers are going to lose around a million euros in unpaid bills and we’re talking about a resort which is very popular with British tourists but where Thomas Cook accounted for only about 500 tourists a day.
“Hotels are going to treat tourists well but the length of time they stay in hotels under the current circumstances will depend on what the British authorities decide and how far the ATOL cover goes.
“I think we have to wait to see what they say and whether they will tell tourists they have the right to five days more for instance but not two weeks.
“No one is being asked to leave hotels in this area at the moment but that could change if the British authorities start saying 48 hours for example is the limit.
“If that happens then tourists could be asked to pay up if they want to stay beyond that time period because the hotel is never going to be paid the money.
“It depends very much on the signals coming out of the UK. Hotels are going to look after their clients but logically we’re not going to provide planes or provide free accommodation for days on end when the bill for unpaid stays in Benidorm alone is already at the one million euro mark.”
‘NOWHERE TO SLEEP’
The uncertainty hanging over the future of British holidaymakers’ continuing stays in Spain contrasted with the initial phases of the plane rescue operation.
A spokesman for Spanish airports authority AENA said Majorca’s Palma Airport, where five repatriation flights were due to take off this morning to several UK destinations including Manchester and Glasgow, was operating “with total normality.”
The spokesman said: “Other airlines are flying the holidaymakers back to the UK.
“Their reallocation on other planes has been organised with the help of the British consulate.
“For Palma today, five Thomas Cook flights with 1,100 seats on board were due to leave.
“Everything appears to be functioning normally and we are not aware of any problems at Palma Airport.”
Jennifer pictured with her grandsons at the Eftalia Splash Hotel in Turkey[/caption]
According to local reports, Iberia agreed to take the first tourists on Majorca back. However, a spokesman for the airline said that as the handling company for Palma Airport they had simply assisted other airlines.
Another seven rescue flights were due to leave the neighbouring island of Menorca.
Workers at Thomas Cook’s Palma HQ, where around 700 people have been employed since it opened a new office in February 2018, told waiting journalists they were working “normally” while they waited for more information.
One quoted by island paper Diario de Mallorca said: “They haven’t told us anything. We’ve haven’t received any email or statements, there hasn’t been any sort of meeting, we’ve come to work as normal but we are obviously worried.”
In the Canary Islands, one of the worst-affected parts of Spain along with the Balearic Islands which includes Majorca and Ibiza, an estimated 25,000 to 30,000 people were said to have been affected by the Thomas Cook collapse.
Eleven Thomas Cook-operated flights were due to leave the Canary Islands today/yesterday (MON) including five from Lanzarote and four from Gran Canaria.
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Francina Armengol, president of the regional Balearic Islands government, described the travel firm’s collapse as “extremely worrying.”
Meetings and talks were taking place today between the Spanish central and regional government officials and politicians to discuss the recovery flight programme and other issues linked to Thomas Cook going bust.
No one from the CAA was available for comment.
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