Ottery couple escape XL nightmare

AN Ottery couple whose flight home was cancelled after airline XL collapsed last week have praised a local travel agent in ensuring their holiday didn t end in disaster.

AN Ottery couple whose flight home was cancelled after airline XL collapsed last week have praised a local travel agent in ensuring their holiday didn't end in disaster.

Raymond and Susan Bailey, of Gosford Lane, were set fly home from a week's holiday in Majorca on Saturday when news of the airline's demise filtered through to them by word of mouth on Friday morning.

XL, the UK's third largest package holiday group, has left tens of thousands of Britons stranded abroad after going into administration.

Mrs Bailey, 60, said: "The news really worried us and we went back to the hotel and phoned our daughter, she told us what was going on but we didn't know what to do. We didn't have holiday rep and didn't have a clue who to contact or what to and just felt stranded. It was totally out of the blue, you just don't expect your airline to go bust."

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However the miffed couple's anxiety was short-lived as they received an unexpected telephone call from their travel agent, Claire Connors, manager of Harvey World Travel in Ottery.

Mrs Bailey added: "Claire phoned us out of the blue. It was a miracle she phoned as we were really worried. She told us to make our way to the airport as usual and be prepared to stay two to three days."

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Mr and Mrs Bailey were fortunate enough to find themselves on a flight to Gatwick just hours after there original flight should have been taking them to Bristol. A coach service was then laid on to bring them home from London.

Mrs Bailey said: "We were due home Saturday lunchtime and got back at 10.30pm but were treated like royalty on the plane so there are no complaints there."

Miss Connors said: "I heard the news on the radio and rushed into work, we've got strict procedures in place to instantly deal with problems like this.

It is really fortunate everybody knows everybody here so we contacted her work who contacted someone else and luckily we ended up with their number.

We still have customers oversees who are due back this week and don't know how they are getting home. We have been helping customers collect their money back daily or re-book ."

Mrs Bailey added: "We are so grateful and have been in to thank her, you just wouldn't expect that service."

XL Chairman Phil Wyatt said he was "totally devastated" by the failure which grounded XL's 21 planes, leaving 67,000 stranded who booked directly with XL, and another 23,000 who booked via other companies.

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