Belfast Telegraph

Friday 26 December 2014

Scramble to save Kiss Flights trips

Up to 1,500 passengers with collapsed airline Kiss Flights have flown on their holidays
Up to 1,500 passengers with collapsed airline Kiss Flights have flown on their holidays

Hundreds of holidaymakers hit by the collapse of travel firm Kiss Flights have managed to fly off on summer breaks but thousands more are scrambling to salvage their trips.

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) said around 1,500 Kiss Flights customers were taking flights to the Mediterranean, mainly from Gatwick and Manchester. But flights are only operating up to 6pm on Wednesday, with around 60,000 people with forward bookings trying to arrange alternative flights through a travel agent.

The 13,000 UK tourists already abroad on Kiss Flights-arranged trips will be able to carry on with their holidays, the CAA said.

London-based Kiss Flights, which operated flights to Greece, Egypt, Turkey and the Canary Islands, folded after its owner Flight Options ceased trading on Tuesday.

Fortunately for the thousands affected by the collapse, Kiss Flights' operations were financially protected by the CAA-run Atol (Air Travel Operators Licensing) scheme. This will enable those currently away to complete their trips and allow those with forward bookings to apply to the CAA for compensation.

A CAA spokesman said: "We've arranged for about 1,500 Kiss Flights-booked people to get away on flights to the Mediterranean. People due to fly after 6pm can either seek compensation or go to travel agents and see if they can get an alternative flight."

Clive Rees, from Llandrindod Wells, Powys, Wales, was due to fly to Turkey on Monday with Kiss and had previously booked with Goldtrail, a recently collapsed travel company.

He told the BBC: "We're very frustrated, it's a real nuisance. We've already had to rebook flights because of Goldtrail's collapse, and we're now looking around for cheaper flights."

Gary Johnson, from Colwyn Bay, was due to fly to Sharm el Sheik in Egypt with Kiss Flights in just over a week.

He told the BBC: "We're just absolutely gutted, we really are, because we can't get hold of anybody to let us know what is going on or ask them any advice. It's just disgusting really."

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