St Albans couple stranded in Turkey after Thomas Cook goes under
PUBLISHED: 13:09 26 September 2019 | UPDATED: 13:14 26 September 2019
A St Albans couple "don't know how they're getting back" from Turkey after their flights were cancelled by Thomas Cook going under.
Travel company Thomas Cook ceased trading at 2am on Monday, placing 9,000 jobs at risk and leaving 150,000 UK holidaymakers stranded abroad.
The company - which had a branch in The Maltings Shopping Centre, St Albans - cited unresolvable financial issues as the cause of the collapse.
Transport secretary and Welwyn Hatfield MP Grant Shapps said all customers currently abroad with Thomas Cook who are booked to return home over the next two weeks will be brought home as close as possible to their planned return date, and asked for travellers to remain patient.
Kieran Bourne, 26, and his girlfriend Lisa Power, 27, flew to Kusadasi in Turkey on Wednesday, September 18 for a 10-day holiday at the Ramada Resort, but their return flights to Gatwick Airport on Saturday were cancelled.
Speaking after Monday morning's announcement, Kieran said: "We didn't even know Thomas Cook was in trouble until we got here and all the news flashes started to appear. We woke up to hear Thomas Cook went under - we found out from relatives at home.
"There were 15 to 20 people outside our reception today, all with Thomas Cook, and no-one had a clue what was going on.
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"We tried to contact the Thomas Cook rep but they understandably didn't pick up our calls.
"We asked reception and they couldn't tell us anything, and there's nothing on the website to help us, so basically we don't know how we're getting back."
This is Kieran and Lisa's second holiday together - their first was also with Thomas Cook and they described it as "brilliant".
Kieran said: "This has ruined our holiday a bit. We just don't know what to expect and apparently we will get flown to another English airport if necessary. We're meant to be flying to Gatwick Airport but I doubt that will happen.
"With six days left of our holiday we can't really enjoy it as someone said we might have to move to a different hotel."
The couple received a letter from Ramada Resort, addressed to all their Thomas Cook guests, apologising for the situation and advising them to contact their insurance company as soon as possible.
The effort to bring all Thomas Cook passengers home has been described as "the biggest peacetime repatriation in UK history".
The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has asked passengers stranded abroad not to travel to the airport until a return flight has been organised, and advised customers still in the UK not to go to the airport as their flights have been cancelled.