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Left stranded at 3am with 2 small children by Thomas Cook


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Myself my partner and my 2 children aged 5 and 2 went on holiday to Turkey with Thomas Cook arriving on Mon 28/05/12 (early hours).

 

On the Monday my daughter developed a rash and small raised bumps on her back.

I thought it was a reaction to the sun or suncream.

Changed the suncream and applied more often.

 

Tuesday rash also to back

 

Wednesday/Thursday some spots on torso (we thought she had been bitten).

 

Friday covered in spots head-to-toe.

 

We hadn't even considered chicken pox as our son had had it twice and she had never caught it so thought she was immune.

 

We told the rep on the friday afternoon and he advised we had done the right thing and she would need to see a doctor to determine if she could fly.

The doctor came out and examined her (ears, nose, throat) examined the spots and determined they were scabbing

and she would not be contagious for the flight during the early hours of Monday morning.

In fact he said he would be happy enough even if she was flying the next day.

 

He said he would complete a fit to fly certificate and drop it off on the Sunday.

We discussed with the rep who was relieved for us and advised we may be asked to see another doctor at the airport but it would just be proceedure.

He said he would be at the hotel on Sunday should we have any problem getting the certificate.

 

By 5pm on Sunday the fit to fly had still not arrived.

The original rep was not there buy the rep manager was.

My parner spoke to her and she was quite rude and seemed put out.

He then spoke to the reception staff who advised they would try to contact the doctor.

no help from Thomas Cook and thanks to the hotel staff we got the certificate.

The manager said that would be enough to get us on the plane.

 

Thinking all now ok we were picked up and arrived at the airport approximately 1.15am.

At check-in I volunteered the certificate to staff expecting we would need to see the doctor as advised by Thomas Cook.

After much discussion with her manager etc we were told she needed to copy it but we were checked in bags taken etc.

 

Through passport control fine. To departure gate. To door of the aircraft where the groundstaff were waiting with cabin crew and asked us to step aside.

 

At this point my partner is carrying my sleeping 2 year old and I have my daughter and all the hand luggage.

We were then lead back past queue of passengers to a small landing where people continued to file past.

 

We were then informed by a very rude condescending man (possibly co-pilot or chief cabin crew) that we wouldn't be permitted to board the plane.

 

My 5 year old started crying. He then pointed at her and said 'she can't travel with an infectious disease'.

At this point my daughter was devastated crying 'Im sorry Im sorry its all my fault.' It was extremely distressing.

 

He was very put out when we asked why as we had the certificate and he said she had only had it 3 days.

I pointed out that the certificate stated it had started more than 3 days before we saw the doctor i.e. we saw him on 01/06 but it had started 28-29/05.

He said it didn't matter as we were denied boarding.

 

He then said he would discuss with the pilot but during this time our baggage was removed from the plane

and groundstaff started discussing who would take us back out making it clear that the decision wouldn;t be changed.

 

He came back and said as per medical advise from the UK she couldn't fly and that was that.

He then said 'there's a plane full of people can you imagine the claim for compensation'.

 

He then said we wouldn'y be able to go home for at least 5 days.

 

My daughter was at this point hysterical - she had been up for 20 hours and was already sensitive as had alot of nasty comments on holiday about the spots.

Added to this all of the passengers were filing past pointing and staring at us.

It looked like we had tried to smuggle her on with the spots

when we had done absolutely everything as advised by Thomas Cook.

 

I said to my partner 'oh my god work is going to sack me'

- the guy then said 'now you're just being silly I'm sure they won't under the citcumstances'.

As if he had any knowledge of me or my job.

 

I then said can one of us fly with the baby which really put him out.

He replied 'if you must'.

 

I asked if we could have time to sort hrough the bags quickly as otherwise my partner would either have to have no bags or all of them

(Dalaman airport strictest in the world £14 per extra kg of luggage would have meant a charge of £420 if I'd left him the bags).

I was told 'now you're just being silly again'.

 

My daughter was then screaming 'mummy don't leave me'

and he said ' right Thomas Cook won;t leave you stranded and I'll leave you with the groundstaff' and off he went.

Plane left about 5 miniutes later.

 

We were then left to take our children, hand luggage and hold luggge (luckily on a trolley) back through the airport.

The staff spoke little English and we were led to the airport exit doors.

 

We waited just inside them but there was nowhere to sit so we had to sit on the floor with my still sobbing 5 year old for 2 hours.

 

The groundstaff spoke to a Thomas Cook rep who at no point asked to speak to us to give us any reassurance etc.

 

Eventually the woman put him on to me but only because she couldn;t understand him.

 

He advised he could put us in a hotel in Fethiye but it was 90 mins away so we would need to get a taxi.

We told him we had no money.

He then said he would call back.

He did but continued to talk to the staff again.

Eventually she put him on to me again and he said he had us a place in Icemeler but again we would need our own transport.

I reiterated we had no money.

 

He then suggested we get someone to transfer us some!

Or alternatively try to get a lift with another tour operator!!.

 

He then called back to the groundstaff by which point my partner became very upset,

me and my daughter were crying and sitting on the floor of a deserted airport at 5am whilst he carried our son.

 

He stated he would just take the money out and deal with the consequnces later.

The rep gave the hotel name to the groundstaff who found us a taxi.

 

We got in and only at this point did we find out we were going to neither of the resorts mentioned and were in fact going back to Marmaris!

It took us 90 minutes and cost £65 and

 

when we got there the taxi driver asked where the hotel was.

We explained we had no idea and didn;t even have the name.

He asked another taxi firm and they had no idea either.

We had no contact details from Thomas Cook to call for help so felt utterly abandoned and lost.

 

We were about to getout and lay the children on the beach when the taxi driver found the hotel by chance.

 

The place was grim.

We went to the room (it was by now after 6am)

and it was horrendously hot.

 

I opened the patioo doors which led to a balcony which was over the street and was easily scaleable by my 2 year old

(which is why I asked for a ground floor at our original hotel).

 

We asked about aircon.

The guy said 'you must pay more and left'.

 

In order for the children to sleep I hadf to open the doors but then couldn;t sleep myself for fear of the baby waking and going out there.

 

My daughter was then sick from the heat, distress and lack of sleep.

 

Next day my partner went to sort aircon and get water and bumped into the Thomas Cook rep

- who had no idea who we were or why we were there or what had happened.

 

she was very nice and really lovely but had to leave at 12 but advised someone from Thomas Cook would call with info on flights and when we could go home etc.

No calls for hours.

 

We then proceed to exchange calls with Thomas Cook (having to keep walking across the street to call them).

We were given the 0844 customer relations number to call which didn't work.

Their answer was 'oh yeah its closed til wednesday'.

We called them 5 times and on 3 occasions I was asked 'so what's the problem again'.

 

Ecventually I was called at the hotel by Thomas Cook who simply said it;s nothing to do with us now you need to speak to your insurance'.

I explained (again) that we couldn;t get flights because we didn;t know when we would be allowed to fly i.e. if a fit to fly cert wasn;t enough what did we need to do.

 

Also explained my insurance compnay were still waiting for a report from them re why we were denied boarding.

She put me on hold to speak to her manager then said she would call me back in a few minutes.

 

An hour and a half later no call.

I traipsed to call box again.

Asked why she hadn;t called me back and was told she was 'still waiting for information'.

 

I advised its common courtesy to call someone back when you say you were going to and she huffed down the phone at me!

I then went to town on her.

 

Within half an hour the manager turned up at the hotel.

She re-iterated again that it was down to our insurance company.

 

At this point we had just received the report from Thomas Cook re why we weren;t allowed to board

- it had taken them over 8 hours to produce it.

 

I explained we couldn't book tickets if we didn;t know if we could get on a plane!!

She then advised we would need ANOTHER fit to fly cert within 24 hours of the flight.

We had to go to the hospital and see another doctor (in fact we asked to see 2 so they could agree)

and they were stunned that we hadn;t been allowed on the plane.

 

Our insurance were great and got us flights for that night but Thomas Cook were not willing to provide any help with transfers to the airport.

We then had to get another taxi to the airport at a £65 cost.

 

My daughter became very upset as we went into the airport asking if everyone would look at her again and starting to cry.

We were then told at check in that again we wouldn;t be able to fly!!

 

After some discussion and speaking to the manager they advised would speak to the cabin crew (we were flying home with Monarch).

We were asllowed to go to departure lounge but bags kept to one side.

My daughter was crying asking if 'the man would shout at her again'.

It was avery stressful 2 hours where we only found out 5 minutes before boarding that we would be allowed to board.

 

It was a horrific experience and we were stranded and left to rot by Thomas Cook.

 

Apologies for the huge post but wanted to explain all in detail.

 

Do we have any legal standpoint here as our holiday was ruined (our first as a family)

and my daughter advised she doesn;t want to go on a plane again.

 

I want to claim for the distress, humiliation and stress to all of us but particularly to my daughter.

 

Any advice????

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What an awful experience for you all!

I found this on the NHS direct website;

 

Travelling on a plane*

 

If you or your child have chickenpox, you may not be allowed to fly until six days after the last spot has appeared.

You and your child should be safe to fly once you're past the infectious stage and all of the blisters have crusted over. But it's best to check the policy of your airline first. Inform the airline as soon as chickenpox is diagnosed.

It is also important to let your travel insurer know if you or your child have chickenpox. You need to make sure that you'll be covered if you have to delay or cancel your holiday, or if you need to extend your stay until your child is well enough to fly home.

 

If I remember rightly from my days as a nurse, you are highly infectious just before the rash/blisters appear up until the spots scab.

 

I'm no legal expert and I'm sure some of the more legally minded site team members will look in and give you their advice regarding the legal position but in the meantime, I would suggest looking through the terms and conditions to see if you can find anything relating to your situation

Gbarbm

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Ok - thanks very much for your help - I'm going to go though it with a fine toothcomb!

 

I've just checked their policy:

 

'What is your policy on travelling with chickenpox, or other infectious diseases?

You are able to travel 7 days after the last spot or rash has appeared. Please provide a fitness to fly letter from your doctor.'

 

I guess my problem is that the Thomas Cook reps weren;t aware of their own policy! At no point were we tld any of this. Also I appreciate the above is a general rule however this was secific to my daughter andwe wer told she wasn't infectious b a doctor.

 

Thanks so much for replying and the advice xx

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I think there us a Thomas Cook rep on this site, I will check that is the case and will see if it can be arranged for them to respond to your post

Gbarbm

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Sorry just checked again and that is Thomson's policy (d'oh)

 

Thomas Cook policy...

 

Chicken Pox: Clear to travel 7 days following appearance of rash

 

As such we should have been allowed to fly i.e. rash appeared Monday we were due to fly early hours of Monday. Plus how do they know when the rash appears??? We could have said it came up on the plane on the way there!!

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The thing is the doctor said she was fit to fly and issued a certificate to that effect.

I know pilots are clever but are they doctors now as well!

Gbarbm

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Hi

 

You have actually made a valid point about their Reps that they dont know there own Company Policy ans also as has been pointed out what legal medical qualification do those pilots hold that refused you on the flight a Valid Doctors Medical Certificate.

 

Also something else to consider is due to this your treatment by their Reps, abandoned by Thomas Cook, and that you had to use your own insurance and if their was an excess to pay well you want them to pay for that.

Edited by stu007

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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i'll read the 1st post in full a mo

but

a pilot can refuse for whatever reason not to fly someone.

 

right or wrong, you have no recourse that way.

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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ok well pilot not metioned anywhere so that blows that out the water anyhow.

 

we dont have a TC rep

and with the number of unresolved threads concerning TC - i can see why!

 

email to CEO me thinks.....

 

dx

please don't hit Quote...just type we know what we said earlier..

DCA's view debtors as suckers, marks and mugs

NO DCA has ANY legal powers whatsoever on ANY debt no matter what it's Type

and they

are NOT and can NEVER  be BAILIFFS. even if a debt has been to court..

If everyone stopped blindly paying DCA's Tomorrow, their industry would collapse overnight... 

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Hi

 

Have a read of this article sound a bit similar to your situation: http://www.guardian.co.uk/money/2011/may/08/thomas-cook-margaret-dibben

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

Please Donate button to the Consumer Action Group

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Hi

 

This is from Thomas Cooks Website.

 

Your responsibility

 

We want all our customers to have an enjoyable and carefree trip. However you must remember that you are responsible for your actions and the effect they may have on others.

 

Thomas Cook Airlines have a wide right to refuse carriage of passengers and/or their luggage (which includes removing passengers and/or their luggage at any stage after boarding/loading including at any intermediate stop (whether scheduled or not) or airport at which the aircraft lands or to which the aircraft is diverted. For details of the circumstances in which carriage may be refused when travelling on Thomas Cook Airlines flights please see the Conditions of Carriage as referred to above.

 

In the event that you and/or your luggage is refused carriage we will not pay you or anyone travelling with you any damages, compensation, refund(s) or any other sum(s) of any description whatsoever or meet any expenses or costs incurred as a result. Will have any further responsibility for you. If you are refused carriage on your outward flight, we are entitled to refuse carriage on your return flight or any other sector

 

And This:

 

Situations outside flythomascook's control

 

Except where we expressly say differently elsewhere in these conditions, we cannot pay any compensation, damages, expenses, costs, losses or any other amount of any description or otherwise accept responsibility if we or your airline have to change or cancel your flight or your flight cannot be provided as or when agreed, or your flight arrangements prove deficient or you suffer any loss or damage of any description (including death or personal injury) as a result of circumstances or an event beyond our control, which we could not foresee or avoid even after taking all reasonable care. Such circumstances will usually include war, terrorist activity, civil unrest, industrial dispute, fire, natural or nuclear disaster, bad weather and all similar circumstances and in all such cases whether, actual or threatened. References in these conditions to 'exceptional circumstances' mean such circumstances.

 

And this:

 

Denied Boarding:

 

Flights may be overbooked, and there is a slight chance that a seat will not be available on a flight even if you have a confirmed reservation. In most circumstances, if you are denied boarding involuntarily, you are entitled to compensation. When required by applicable law, the carrier must solicit volunteers before anyone is denied boarding involuntarily. Check with your carrier for the complete rules on payment of denied boarding compensation (DBC) and for information on the carrier's boarding priorities.

Edited by stu007

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I cannot give any advice by PM - If you provide a link to your Thread then I will be happy to offer advice there.

I advise to the best of my ability, but I am not a qualified professional, benefits lawyer nor Welfare Rights Adviser.

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Hi, what an awful time you and your family have had!

 

I used to listen to Ed Doolan on BBC WM and he regularly had a travel law solicitor called Ros Fernihough so maybe a call to the radio station might put you in touch with her?

 

I don't think CAG allows recommendation to solicitors but she had a regular radio spot assisting people with the kind of thing you have experienced so hopefully this post won't get cagbotted!

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Thank you so much everyone.

 

It's nice sometimes for people to agree that you are justified in feeling that you have been badly treated.

 

Complaints letter and emails to CEO etc to be composed this weekend.

 

Thanks againx

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fiestychick

 

You and your family were denied boarding and as such are entitled to the benefits of EC 261/2004: http://eur-lex.europa.eu/LexUriServ/LexUriServ.do?uri=CELEX:32004R0261:EN:HTML, specifically Articles 4, 7 and 9.

 

Since you originally presented yourselves for check in ontime and with the correct doctor's certificate to cover your daughters illness, you have been unreasonably denied boarding, especially as the decision was taken by a non-medically qualified layman.

 

For the denied boarding, TC owe you 400 euros (£325) per passenger. You are also entitled to recover under Article 9 costs relating to meals, accommodation, 2 phone calls and travel to and from airport and hotel so long as you can produce receipts to justify these.

 

Your claim letter to the airline should be succinct and devoid of emotion. State the facts only relating to the denied boarding, give your booking ref number and the number of passengers in your party, then state what you are claiming in £ and attach copies of receipts for the items I have listed above. Finally give the airline 14 days to respond or you will take your claim to the county court without further notice.

 

Post back here when/if you hear back form the airline.

 

I have not addressed any possible compensation you may feel you are owed for hurt feelings/distress etc as these issues are somewhat difficult to quantify and you have a direct remedy available via the denied boarding and reimbursement of expenses route I have suggested.

 

I am of the belief that TC was responsible for arranging your flights home not your ins co. If there is any further cost connected with your flight home that your insurance didn't cover then again TC are fully liable under Article 8.1(b).

 

You may also be able to avail yourself of legal expenses cover via your household contents insurance policy if you have this option and let a solicitor pursue your claim for you with no financial outlay yourselves, worth checking.

 

Your letter should go to:

 

Company Secretary

Thomas Cook Airlines Ltd

Thomas Cook Business Park

Coningsby Road

Peterborough

PE3 8SB

Edited by Cityboy62
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Some tips for your letters:-

 

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/article-1242161/How--write-letter-complaint.html

 

Thank you so much everyone.

 

It's nice sometimes for people to agree that you are justified in feeling that you have been badly treated.

 

Complaints letter and emails to CEO etc to be composed this weekend.

 

Thanks againx

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fiestychick

 

To save you much of the bother, you might like to base it on the following. You will need to complete the exact text and insert your names and other bits I've missed such as other receipted expenses but it should be largely complete:

 

 

Dear Sir

 

I am writing to complain about being denied boarding on a flight which I had booked with your company. I believe that under Regulation EC 261/2004 I am entitled to compensation due to this denied boarding .

 

 

On 4th June 2012 we had a booking to return from Dalaman to xxxx on flight number xxxx departingat xxxxhrs. The passengers were ticketed as follows:

 

 

 

(name surname ticket number

name surname ticket number

name surname ticket number

name surname ticket number)

 

 

We arrived at Dalaman in good time to check-in. Since my daughter had contracted chicken pox during our journey out to Turkey on 28th May, we had visited a doctor during our holiday to ensure we had the correct medical certification to enable her to fly home on the 4th June. Weproduced the letter at check in and were indeed checked in and given boarding cards. Only at the aircraft door were we told in no uncertain terms that, due to the illness having been ongoing for only 3 days, we would be denied boarding. This was despite the letter (dated 1st June) clearly stating that the illness had been ongoing for more than 3 days prior to the consultation with the doctor, lending credence to our assertion that the illness commenced 7 days prior to our return home.

 

I refer you to EC Regulation 261/2004 which clearly sets out the rights that passengers have in situations where they are booked on a flight with an EU based airline or which departs from an EU airport and their flight is cancelled or delayed, or they are denied boarding of that flight.

 

Article 4 provides as follows:

 

Article 4

 

Denied boarding

 

1.When an operating air carrier reasonably expects to deny boarding on a flight, it shall first call for volunteers to surrender their reservations in exchange for benefits under conditions to be agreed between the passenger concerned and the operating air carrier. Volunteers shall be assisted in accordance with Article 8, such assistance being additional to the benefits mentioned in this paragraph.

 

2.If an insufficient number of volunteers comes forward to allow the remaining passengers with reservations to board the flight, the operating air carrier may then deny boarding to passengers against their will.

 

3.If boarding is denied to passengers against their will, the operating aircarrier shall immediately compensate them in accordance with Article 7 and assist them in accordance with Articles 8 and 9.

 

 

Article 7(1) of the Regulation provides that where a flight is cancelled or passengers are denied boarding against their will, they are entitled to compensation as set out below:

 

Where reference is made to this Article, passengers shall receive compensation amounting to:

 

b) EUR 400 for all intra-Community flights of more than 1500 kilometers andfor all other flights between 1500 and 3500 kilometers;

 

At this stage I would also liketo put it on record that Thomas Cook made no onward arrangements for our eventual flight home, despite this being a clear obligation under Article 8 and it was left to my own efforts via my insurance company to sort this aspect of our return.Whilst accommodation and meals were provided, I had to spend £xxx out of my own pocket for taxi transfers to and from the airport and hotel as no arrangements were made by the airline whatsoever to effect this.

 

I believe that under the Regulation I am entitled to compensation. I therefore require payment of the following:

 

  • Compensation under Article 7 of EUR 1600 (the sterling equivalent being £1300.81).
  • Reimbursement of my properly receipted Article 9 expenses as described above of £xxx.

In accordance with the Regulation I require this amount to be paid in cash, by cheque, or by electronic bank transfer.

 

Please respond to this letter within 14 days or I may commence legal action without further notice. If you fail to respond, the Court may take the view that this is an unreasonable refusal to attempt to resolve this matter and you may be ordered to pay any legal costs which I incur.

 

I look forward to receiving your response.

 

Yours faithfully

xxxx

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  • 1 month later...

Hi fiesty

 

I would write again, but if you've got a Facebook or Twitter account, leave details on there for them, I'm sure they would welcome them.

 

http://twitter.com/ThomasCookUK/

http://www.facebook.com/thomascook

 

Remember they want people to share their experiences.

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