Flights home for XL customers going well
[September 15th 2008]
Repatriation flights for XL customers stranded abroad are operating smoothly and all passengers due to return by the weekend should be back in the UK today.
Over 22,000 XL customers have already been flown home, and thousands more are expected to arrive today. The Civil Aviation Authority, which is coordinating the rescue of XL passengers, says that over the next two weeks a further 30,000 people who are still on holiday will be flown home at a flight time as close as possible to their original scheduled time.
The CAA, with extensive help from the travel trade, has been working very hard to look after XLs customers. Our immediate challenge has been to repatriate holidaymakers due home in the days immediately following the companys collapse," explains CAA director of consumer protection, Richard Jackson.
Airlines including Astraeus, British Airways, bmi British Midland, First Choice Airways, Jet2.com, Monarch Airlines, Thomsonfly, Virgin Atlantic and a number of overseas airlines have been providing planes to fly the stranded passengers home.
No one who is an ATOL-protected customer should feel stranded. Whilst weve had some problems, including adverse weather conditions in the Caribbean making it difficult to position replacement aircraft, all customers will be able to return from their holidays, and as close to their planned flight times as possible. This is a massive logistical exercise, and its cost will be covered by the CAAs ATOL funding arrangements, says Jackson.
Passengers who booked flights direct with XL Airways who are not ATOL protected may still be able to get seats on some of the repatriation flights. The CAA says it is offering extra capacity on these flights so XL Airways passengers can fly back to the UK "at a reasonable price". Other airlines, including easyJet and British Airways, are also offering special fares to passengers who are not ATOL protected.
In resorts where XL customers are staying, staff from other tour operators including Thomson, First Choice, Thomas Cook and Virgin Holidays are providing essential support and advice.
Flights back to the UK are being organised from a vast list of places, including some of the UK's favourite holiday destinations such as Orlando in Florida, Palma, Tenerife, Malaga, Corfu, Faro and Cyprus.
Written by: Nick Purdom
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