"As the clock ticked closer to our holiday the anxiety grew" Preston family nightmare with travel giant
A Preston dad has claimed he only found out his dream family holiday was in jeopardy through a Facebook post revealing the hotel was closed.
Richard Kurjan, from Fulwood, was preparing for a much needed family break to Crete with his wife and three children on August 2 before finding out their hotel was closed through social media.
Booking through travel giant TUI, Richard spent almost £9,000 on the Greek all-inclusive break for his family, which would see them sunbathe by the pool for 11 nights.
However it was only through browsing on Facebook, that the 32 year-old dad of three found out that the hotel they had booked to stay in, was closed until April 2021 because of the Coronavirus pandemic.
"I booked this hotel purely on the fact we wanted an all inclusive holiday but my hotel had informed me that they are not open for the entirety of 2020 and will open again in April next year. I found out via the hotel's Facebook page and messaged them," said Richard.
"They have also informed me that they informed TUI four weeks ago."
Richard says he has spent up to three hours at a time on the phone to TUI, trying to sort out new arrangements. However, after the Post contacted the firm yesterday, the firm has now stepped in and offered an alternative hotel for the family of five, which they claim is 'an alternative hotel which we believe is similar to the original choice.
Despite the alternative hotel provided by the travel company, Richard looked into booking the new hotel separately and found the total would come to just over £4,000 - half the price of the original booking he had made.
Richard says the whole saga has caused him and his partner stress at a time when they were looking forward to relaxing.
He said: "We have both worked full time throughout the entire COVID-19 lockdown. The only thing that has kept us going through this very turbulent time is knowing we had a holiday to look forward to. We have used the countdown on the TUI App as a countdown as anticipation for our holiday, but once we realised our hotel was closed, we have used to countdown as a negative thing in the anticipation that TUI would contact us. As the clock ticked closer to our holiday the anxiety only grew."
A TUI UK spokesman apologised for the delay and any frustration caused, adding booking amendments could be made free of charge and that they were contacting Richard directly about his options.
A Facebook group, 'Thomson Don't Care' has attracted almost 30,000 other frustrated members, including Richard, to discuss their individual booking situations and complaints.
One commented: "Getting slightly desperate now, don't know where to turn next. We are meant to be flying out to Mallorca in eight days to a closed hotel. I know it is closed because the hotel has confirmed by email to us. I have spent around 25 hours on the phone to TUI telling them but they keep telling me and my husband we just have to wait for notification."
The key need-to-knows about refunds for imminent travel, or other information regarding the FCO guidelines are available here.