Family in holiday pay out

PUBLISHED: 09:57 30 January 2009 | UPDATED: 12:54 03 July 2010

COMPENSATION BID: The Harold family

COMPENSATION BID: The Harold family

Liz Coates

A FAMILY'S “treat” trip to Alicante was marred by a string of misunderstandings and problems which meant their journey took hours longer than expected.

A FAMILY'S “treat” trip to Alicante was marred by a string of misunderstandings and problems which meant their journey took hours longer than expected.

Lisa and Karl Harold, their three children and Mrs Harold's parents Ritchie and Sandra Warnes, endured their 20-hour ordeal last summer. Now Mrs Harold, of Beechwood Road, Hemsby is angry at the stress the saga caused her family and frustrated that she has not yet received any money back or compensation.

Their journey began well in Hemsby last August but soon turned into a nightmare when they arrived at Norwich International Airport to discover they had already missed their flight because budget Spanish airline LTE had not told them of the changes.

Mrs Harold said she could not praise enough the efforts of airport staff who booked alternative flights although because Mr Warnes was a nervous traveller Mrs Harold went with him from Stansted, while the rest of the family including her two year old son Charlie flew from Gatwick.

It meant arriving separately and exhausted at night in the middle of a Spanish holiday, and paying £800 for the additional flights.

Mrs Harold said it took the family days to recover but that in the end the week-long holiday - booked as a thank-you for her parents' support - turned out ok.

Thinking nothing could go wrong on the return flight they were horrified to discover they and another family had been “bumped” on a later flight to Gatwick - cancelling out the whole point of the holiday which was the ease of flying from Norwich.

Adding to their frustration was that although two taxis were provided at Gatwick there was no safety seat for Charlie.

Mrs Harold said seeking compensation from LTE had drawn an unacceptable offer even though she had been told at the time they would pay for the flights. She is now hoping to claim back the £1500 and £800 she paid for the flights through her credit card company, since LTE were not able to fly her in or out of Norwich.

She said that on the day staff at Norwich bent over backwards to help the family get to Spain but that she was disappointed that in the aftermath they had not been able to tell her more about what was happening with LTE who have since suspended flights from Norwich.

The long-running compensation saga had been dogged by problems Mrs Harold said, adding that because she had every expectation that LTE would pay she missed the 30 day deadline to claim on her holiday insurance.

Her advice to other travellers booking direct was to always check flight times the day before. The Mercury did not receive a response from Norwich International Airport at the time of going to press.

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