Belfast Telegraph

Northern Ireland family on Thomas Cook holiday told to leave Lanzarote hotel

Adrienne Sands with her two-year-old daughter Avianna
Adrienne Sands with her two-year-old daughter Avianna
Allan Preston

By Allan Preston

A Newtownabbey woman has told of her "holiday from hell" after a Lanzarote hotel called armed police to evict guests the morning after Thomas Cook collapsed.

Adrienne Sands (34) had been enjoying a package holiday in Playa Blanca with her daughter Avianna (2) and her parents, aged 65 and 70.

Having already paid £3,650 to Thomas Cook for the holiday, yesterday morning the family were told to pay an extra £1,600 or leave immediately.

"This morning we went for breakfast and the hotel manager was at the doors of the restaurant," she said.

"She told us: 'You either pay us right now or you leave right now'. I wouldn't be one to lose my temper but I had my daughter with me.

"I asked if she was seriously going to put us all out on the street and she said yes."

The family had already informed the hotel they were Atol protected (a scheme set up to protect holidaymakers if a holiday provider goes bust), but they were dismissed.

"There was a lot of families. One person had a panic attack and a paramedic was called," she added.

"The staff called the police because people were getting quite cross.

"So there was armed guards standing in front of the managers and they gave us 50 minutes to pack our stuff.

"We had to pack everything, my mum was in tears from the stress and my daughter has cried all day too.

"They wouldn't even help us carry our bags down from the room."

Ms Sands contacted the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), who advised her not to pay extra.

She said: "To be honest, they were very unhelpful. We've been told nothing about how we're getting home on Thursday."

The family have now had to pay an extra £660 to stay an extra two nights in a hotel in Puerto del Carmen.

"It's been an absolute disaster, a holiday nightmare beyond belief," she said.

Meanwhile, anger is growing over millions of pounds in payments made to Thomas Cook before the tour operator collapsed.

It emerged that top executives shared over £16m between them in pay and perks over the past five years while the group's profits have been in sharp decline.

On Monday the CAA launched the UK's biggest peacetime repatriation by bringing 14,700 Thomas Cook customers home on 64 flights.

A further 135,000 are expected to be returned over the next two weeks, including 6,000 to Northern Ireland.

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