A family of four endured hell of holiday agony after their trip was canceled three times at a cost of more than £7,000.
Charlotte Moss, 43, says on her fourth try she was finally able to secure a £3,700 booking for a hotel in Mallorca through Wizz Air.
She says that was after she had already spent £7,200 to book a half-term holiday.
To add insult to injury, the family found themselves caught up in the UK’s ongoing travel chaos when they finally arrived at the airport and their departure was five hours late.
On their return, they waited three hours at the airport for their bags before giving up and deciding to have them couriered home.
Charlotte claims that their bags were not returned to them until four days after they landed.
The mum-of-two, from Poole, Dorset, said: “There was quite a bit of chaos booking the holiday – the agencies take your money and then the booking isn’t confirmed.
Charlotte Moss / SWNS)
Charlotte Moss / SWNS)
“It was just awful – we had a great time on holiday but we were panicking about the return trip the whole time.
“As soon as we landed, I knew there would be problems – they couldn’t access stairs to the plane due to staff shortages, and then they didn’t give us a baggage carousel number when we got off.”
Charlotte, founder of Belief Botanicals, was originally trying to book a half term getaway from Bournemouth to Mallorca for her partner Ben, 43, and their teenage sons.
She says she paid Thomas Cook £2,700 for the flights and hotel from Bournemouth to Mallorca.
But she says she was then told after six days that the family couldn’t get the return flight they wanted as there wasn’t enough space on the return flight – and they would have to return a few days later.
While waiting for her money back, Charlotte tried to book flights to Zante through Love Holidays and paid £3,000 for flights and a hotel – only to find they couldn’t get the flights they wanted as again there weren’t enough Space on the flights after three days of waiting, she claims.
The mother then used lastminute.com to book flights to Mallorca and spent around £1,500 on plane tickets which were canceled as the return flight was overbooked – although she praised the company and said she would refund her the same day would have reimbursed.
Charlotte Moss / SWNS)
Desperate for a holiday, she then went straight to Wizz Air to book flights to the Spanish island and eventually managed to get confirmation that her trip was booked.
However, in order to get the flights they wanted, they decided to travel to Gatwick instead of Bournemouth as they originally intended.
But during the two and a half hour drive to Gatwick, the family received word their flight was four hours late – but chose to continue on their way and wait at the airport rather than turn back.
When they arrived at Gatwick, their delay was extended to five hours after the family was given an incorrect departure time and sent to the wrong gate, she says.
They eventually made it to Mallorca, but Charlotte was terrified of traveling back, which meant she couldn’t fully enjoy the holiday she had worked so hard for.
Unfortunately, their fears turned out to be correct – upon returning to the UK, the flight was an hour late and they were stuck on the plane while they waited for staff to bring stairs to the doors.
When they went to collect their luggage from the carousel, they had to wait three hours before finally giving up at 3am and leaving the airport without their luggage.
“The travel agents take your money and then wait, the first one we booked took six days to tell us there are no return flights and asked if we would like to come back two days later but we could because of the children’s school not and high school,” said Charlotte.
“Nearly £3,000 was collected from Thomas Cook three weeks ago which has only just been refunded – you’re buying something that doesn’t exist.
“Then we booked with Love Holidays to Zante – I didn’t care where we went, just tried any destination.
“We spent a further £3,000 on Love Holidays as they use Tui to book the flights and I thought availability must be guaranteed but they said there is no availability and they will refund us the money .
“Then I tried lastminute.com Booking flights direct but they refunded me fairly quickly saying they no longer had the flights.
“Eventually I found a holiday and booked flights direct with Wizz Air and ended up spending almost £1,000 more than I originally booked the holiday – it was almost £500 per ticket and then we had to travel to Gatwick and park the Cars pay too.
“We had to shorten our holiday by a day as we could only get six days off and then on our way to Gatwick we got a message that our flight was going to be four hours late.
“It was too late to turn back so we decide to wait at the airport where we had delay after delay, departure times changed and they sent us to the wrong gate.”
She added: “We had a lovely holiday and were only an hour late on the return flight, but once we landed I knew there would be problems.
“The luggage sign kept saying please wait and staff flinched as soon as they saw all those angry faces – there was a woman behind a counter who went behind a door and never came back and nobody from Gatwick.
“There wasn’t a single person at the counter, there was a huge line and I kept going back but there was never anyone there.
“I think they were all hiding or were so understaffed, I think all the staff are so fed up they don’t want to speak to anyone.
“We waited three hours – there were all the families with babies and children standing and waiting there, we left so I don’t know how long they waited but they could have made a message to say the bags are out today Can’t get through tonight – she can’t just leave them there and wait and not say anything.
“I just can’t see them fixing this for the summer holidays – obviously it’s worse when everyone is trying to leave at the same time.”
A spokesman for Wizz Air said: “We are so sorry that too many of our passengers are being affected by current delays and in some cases cancellations.
“Across the travel industry, Wizz Air and all airlines are doing everything they can to help as many passengers as possible reach their destinations on time and with minimal delay.
“However, among other issues causing operational instability across the travel industry, there are widespread staffing shortages, particularly in air traffic control, ground operations and baggage handling, security and airports.
“Wizz Air has increased direct communication with all our customers via SMS, email and phone calls to ensure that they are – as much as possible – up to date on any changes to our services.
“Book direct at wizzair.com or the WIZZ app – unlike other online booking platforms – remains the best way to ensure we reach our customers faster.
“While any cancellation is unfortunate, the vast majority of our flights are operating as planned, with more than 100,000 passengers arriving at their destination each day.
“Once again, we would like to offer our sincere apologies to the customers whose travel plans have been impacted as we understand their disappointment, especially when so many people want and deserve to travel the world again.
“We are trying our best to offer them a range of options to enable them to travel, including alternative flights with Wizz Air, a full refund or 120% flight credit (both of which we aim to process within a week).
“In accordance with local regulations, Wizz Air will provide reasonable compensation for meals, travel and accommodation resulting from the cancellation or delay of its flights – passengers should keep their receipts and complete the claim form under the ‘Welfare’ category wizzair.com be refunded.”
A Loveholidays spokesperson said: “We are sorry to hear that the customer had an issue with their booking experience.
“We welcome all feedback from our customers and continue to strive to provide a simple and clear booking experience.
“Our website states that it can take up to 72 hours for a booking to be confirmed. This is because, as an independent online travel agency, we require our suppliers to confirm every separate element of the holiday booking – from accommodation to flights to transport, and more.
“In this case, the customer booked on May 25th and the payment was made in full.
“Unfortunately, during the above confirmation process, the flights became unavailable. We immediately contacted the customer via email on May 26th when this became known.
“We informed the customer that we were unable to confirm the selected flights and that one of our consultants would be in touch within 72 hours to offer alternative options.
“On May 27th we offered the customer alternative departure airports and dates to ensure the customer could still enjoy their holiday – however the customer instead requested a full refund which we processed within 52 hours of receiving the first payment. “
A spokesman for Thomas Cook said: “We are really sorry that the holiday Ms Moss was going to take had to be changed at short notice and we have refunded her in full.”
https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/family-face-7000-holiday-bill-27217483 The family are facing a £7,000 holiday bill after a 'hell trip' as flights were canceled three times