BRIT honeymooners have been left stranded in Mexico while an epileptic mum fears she will be stuck in Morocco without her medication following the collapse of Thomas Cook today.
Newlyweds James and Rebecca Hyam are among thousands of holidaymakers now stranded overseas after the travel giant went bust.
The honeymooners, from Lichfield, were set to fly home with Thomas Cook today but all the firm’s flights to and from the UK have now been cancelled.
Mr Hyam said: “We’re trying to save up for a house and we’ve just spent a lot on our wedding, so we haven’t really got money lying around.
“It’s not relaxing for our honeymoon, it feels like we’ve got to sort this out now instead of relaxing.
“It’s not ruined it, but it’s not the relaxing time we were looking for.”
A rescue fleet of more than 40 jumbos will bring 150,000 stranded holidaymakers back to Britain from 51 destinations in 17 countries.
RUN OUT OF MEDICATION
Sian Galloway, 27, from Manchester, fears her mum Anne Williams, 54, will run out of epilepsy medication if they can’t get a flight home from Marrakesh.
The pair were due to fly back to the UK on Wednesday and Anne only has enough medication until then.
Sian told The Sun: “My mum is epileptic and she doesn’t have enough medication if we are stranded.
“She has enough till Wednesday morning. I would hate for her to have a fit here so we may need to ration them out.
Have you been affected? If so please email [email protected]
“The hotel knew nothing about it. And no one is giving us answers.”
Jim Hatton began pursuing emergency steps to get critical medical supplies over fears he would be stuck in Menorca.
The 61-year-old from Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, is waiting at the airport for his replacement flight to Glasgow.
He said: “My wife and I have mobility problems and take a lot of meds for pain relief and other conditions.
“We made provision for a couple of days extra but if we had been delayed longer some vital heart medication I take for an arrhythmia would have run out. Last night was sleepless.”
HONEYMOONS AT HOME
Lewis Bromiley and his wife Amy were due to go on their honeymoon to the Maldives in January after getting married in August.
Mr Bromiley, a 25-year-old insurance worker from Manchester, said: “We’ve got our honeymoon package booked which was the last one available in January, and now it’s cancelled. It appears we won’t be able to go to the same place now, and will have to wait a while to get our £7,000 refunded.
“We’ll have to wait for the refund which could takes months, due to the amount of people claiming. We won’t be able to rebook now, we’ll have to change destination as this was the last availability.
“We booked it over a year ago, so we were well prepared and had got the best deal. Me and my wife are devastated.
“We wanted to go to Maldives as it’s paradise and we’re looking to plan for children soon, so we wanted to tick it off our bucket list, before we couldn’t.”
Newlywed couple Jane and Richard Dawson woke up this morning to learn their honeymoon to Jamaica had been cancelled.
Jane said: “We’ve been told to go home. I know it’s no one’s fault, but it’s just very sad.”
Richard added: “Because we booked through Thomas Cook, we were told the reservation wouldn’t be honoured. So we’re spending our honeymoon at home.”
Bryan Ferriman, 82, who is staying on Greek island of Leros with his wife, Louise Robertson, and has flights back to the UK with the tour operator booked for later this week.
He said: “We have a flight from Kos to Birmingham late evening on Thursday. Kos airport is not a good place to be stranded in.
“I have tried to email Thomas Cook but this is impossible and phoning is futile.”
Tips for tourists
Q: I’m out of the country on a Thomas Cook holiday – what happens now?
A: The Civil Aviation Authority’s Operation Matterhorn will coordinate the repatriation of customers at the end of their holiday.
Q: I only bought Thomas Cook flights. Am I still protected?
A: No. Unfortunately, only package holiday customers are covered by the company’s Atol licence. Rival airlines may offer special rescue fares.
Q: I am on a Thomas Cook holiday and my hotel is insisting I pay them again. What do I do?
A: Refuse to pay. You have already paid Thomas Cook. The hotelier will have to apply via Atol.
Q: I have booked a Thomas Cook holiday? What happens now they’ve gone bust?
A: Anyone who has booked a package holiday is also covered by Atol and can apply to the CAA for their money back.
Mike Churcher, 63, who is currently on a Thomas Cook package holiday with his wife and 22-year-old son at the Royal Wings hotel in Antalya, Turkey, said he feared being thrown out of his hotel.
He told the Guardian: “There’s no information. It’s all very stoic – we’re all stiff upper lip, they’re all tight-lipped…we don’t think they’ve been paid for our holiday [by Thomas Cook] yet so we’re worried they may throw us out. The Royal Wings staff are being very nice now though.”
John Chilcott, 34 from Bridgend, South Wales, was supposed to fly out on Friday to Vegas for his stag do with 24 pals.
They had all paid £900 each for flights but are now in a mad scramble to book different ones.
The gas engineer, who is getting married in December, told the Sun Online: “We just feel a bit gutted really. There are some boys who haven’t got the money to pay for another set of flights and hotel.
“Everyone’s been on edge and my phone has just been going off.”
HOLIDAY PLANS RUINED
Travellers expecting to board Thomas Cook planes in the UK today have been told to stay at home as ALL flights are grounded permanently.
Lisa Godbeer and her family were due to fly out to Mexico for a trip of a lifetime to celebrate her 40th birthday.
She said they had paid more than £6,000 for the 10-day holiday to Cancun for her and her husband, her daughter and a friend.
Ms Godbeer, from Somerset, added: “I’m really angry and a bit shocked really.
“We had a joke yesterday saying imagine we get there and it (Thomas Cook) had shut down.
“If it was a couple of hundred quid I wouldn’t care but it’s a bloody lot of money.”
Paul McLennan was supposed to fly to Orlando in Florida from Glasgow on Monday morning.
He told the BBC: “I booked in yesterday and was told everything was OK then we came up (to the airport) this morning and got this.
“I’ve got no idea what we are going to do now. This has been booked for nearly two years so to say I’m scunnered is an understatement.”
Milea Leone only became aware her return from her holiday with sisters in Mallorca, Spain, was cancelled through social media.
She had been due to fly out to Glasgow on Monday morning and arrive at around 12pm, but now faces a diversion to Birmingham before a coach journey back north of the border.
It has added around nine hours onto her travel time.
Guests at one hotel in Tunisia were allegedly locked in by security guards as staff demanded extra money – worried they won’t be paid by Thomas Cook.
MOST READ IN TRAVEL
Ryan Farmer, from Leicestershire, said the hotel had on Saturday afternoon summoned all guests who were due to leave to go to reception “to pay additional fees”.
With many tourists refusing to pay on the grounds they had already paid Thomas Cook, security guards were keeping the hotel’s gates shut, refusing to allow guests out, or to let new visitors enter.
“We can’t leave the hotel. I’d describe it as exactly the same as being held hostage,” Mr Farmer said.
A fleet of 40 aircraft has been charted by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to lead the repatriation mission – an operation twice as big as that launched two years ago when Monarch Airlines collapsed – using jets from as far away as Malaysia.
It is expected to last two weeks and free flights will be offered to the majority of Thomas Cook’s 150,000 passengers currently abroad.
Only those booked on package holidays are officially protected under the Air Travel Organisers’ Licence (Atol) scheme.
Those travelling on “flight only” breaks would normally be expected to find and pay for their own return flights.
However the Department for Transport said that “given the extent the disruption” the repatriation will cover all Thomas Cook customers – but many will not get their money back for months. It is expected to cost the taxpayer up to £600 million.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson described the liquidation of Thomas Cook as a “very difficult situation” and vowed his Government would do its “level best” to get Brit holidaymakers home.
A Thomas Cook pilot’s family members wave as a flight departed Manchester Airport yesterday – among the last in the company’s 178-year history[/caption]
Online flight trackers this morning showed Thomas Cook planes making their way back to their UK bases to be grounded[/caption]
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