September 17, 2008

Our Cyprus Nightmare After XL Collapse Scots Couple Tell of Battle to Get Home From Holiday


SCOTS couple Janice and Billy Black were today due to return home after a 48hour ordeal.

They were among thousands left stranded after airline XL collapsed and feared they would never get home.

After checking in at Cyprus's Larnaca airport on Sunday evening, they hoped to be back a few hours later.

They had been told they were on a special flight to Gatwick and relatives booked them on easyJet flights back to Glasgow.

However, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) flight was cancelled twice and eventually took off late yesterday afternoon.

The Blacks were finally due to arrive in Glasgow this afternoon after enduring a marathon wait at the airport.

Today they hit out at a lack of information after a chaotic trip.

They also lost out financially after having to cancel flights from London to get them back to Scotland.

Janice, 54, from Cambuslang, who arrived in Gatwick last night, said: "We thought it was too good to be true when we were told not to worry we would be flown home around the same time as the original flight on Sunday evening.

"The only difference was we were flying into Gatwick. My family booked us on easyJet flights to Glasgow to coincide with our arrival in Gatwick - but the Cyprus flight ended up being cancelled on and we weren't given any update. We lost GBP40 for cancelling the easyJet flights."

The couple were among dozens of holidaymakers who had to bunk down on airport floors for the night without blankets.

An emergency nappy run was arranged for parents with young children whose supplies were running low. Some travellers had even run out of money and had to fight for compensation.

Janice added: "We arrived and checked everything in, but it was announced the flight had been cancelled. After that we weren't told anything and had no idea how we were going to get home.

"It was a complete nightmare and we haven't slept a wink. We were given 10 euros on Sunday. We had to fight for another 17 euros yesterday as we had been there for so long. Everyone at the airport was angry and upset but no wonder with the way we were just left there."

Valerie Muirhead, 50, from Shawlands, was preparing to spend last night at Gatwick and hoped to return to Glasgow today. Valerie, who suffers from chronic fatigue, said: "If we had been told the flight was not going out until yesterday afternoon, people would have paid for an extra night in their resort rather than be left in an airport.

"Now we are paying extra for fl ights from London to Glasgow. Who can afford to shell out for accommodation at Gatwick?"

A spokesman for the CAA said: "We can only apologise to passengers whose flight went out later than the original XL flight.

"We are trying to get everyone home as quickly as we can and will be looking into the problems at Larnaca.

"Glasgow passengers arriving in Gatwick would not have been abandoned and helped with their continuing journey."

The CAA said 29,610 customers have either returned to the UK or flights have been arranged for their return since the collapse of XL on Friday.

deborah. [email protected] eveningtimes. co. uk

Originally published by Newsquest Media Group.

(c) 2008 Evening Times; Glasgow (UK). Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.