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Family stuck in Turkey left £3,500 out of pocket to book flight home

A family of six stuck in Turkey due to a UK air traffic control failure has been left £3,500 out of pocket to fly back home.

Shamila Kauser, from Rochdale, Greater Manchester, who went to Antalya with her husband, her four children and her brother and his family, said she is “stressed out” after they were due to fly home on Monday but have ended up staying five days longer than expected.

Ms Kauser, 40, who works in catering, said booking one flight for her family of six was “impossible” and that she spent £3,500 with a travel provider different to her own in an attempt to arrange the next available flight home.

She said she has found the ordeal “a nightmare”.

Ms Kauser told the PA news agency: “I’m stressed out and very anxious.

“It’s been a nightmare.”

The mother of four attempted to find a booking, setting her back more than £3,000, which she is unsure if she will be reimbursed for, after fearing she would not return to the UK until September 8 due to a lack of available flights.

However, her travel provider, On The Beach, was able to find a flight at 11.55pm on Friday night for all six family members with Jet2 airlines despite them initially flying with easyJet.

She explained: “On The Beach had to book me with another airline because easyJet had no seats until September 8.

“I’ve got to go to work and the kids have to go to school, so I don’t have time to be waiting that long.”

Ms Kauser and her family originally flew from Manchester Airport to Turkey, but will now return home to Leeds Bradford Airport, which will add more travel time and expenses to get home to Rochdale.

She said: “Leeds Bradford is a lot further from me than Manchester is to Rochdale, where I live.

“It’s another stress that I’ll have to deal with at 4 o’clock in the morning.”

Ms Kauser also went on holiday with her brother, Imran Ahmed, and his family, who have been forced to stay in Turkey until Saturday after their flight was cancelled an hour before they were due to return to England.

Family of four in Turkey
Imran Ahmed and his family will spend an extra six days in Turkey after their flight was cancelled an hour before they were due to fly home (Imran Ahmed)

Mr Ahmed, 46, from Rochdale, travelled with his wife Nazia and his two daughters, Zahra, 12, and Amira, eight, and were due to fly home on Monday, but felt they were left “totally in the dark” after there were no airline representatives to help with their unexpected cancellation.

The housing officer, who flew to Turkey with easyJet, told PA: “I’ve never been in this situation before.

“There was no rep from the airline.

“Travel Republic – the travel operator that we went with – they had nobody there either. We were just left to our own devices.”

Though Mr Ahmed had hoped to fly home on Wednesday, he considers himself “lucky” after finding an easyJet flight to Liverpool Airport on Saturday.

“I was lucky I got flights with easyJet without having to pay extra,” he said.

Despite their cancelled flight, Mr Ahmed remains positive about the situation.

Imran Ahmed (far left), with his daughters, Amira (left), Zahra, (right) and his wife, Nazia (far right) stuck in Turkey after their flight was cancelled
Imran Ahmed (far left), with his daughters, Amira (left), Zahra, (right) and his wife, Nazia (far right) stuck in Turkey after their flight was cancelled (Imran Ahmed)

He said: “We’re trying to forget what’s happened.

“We’ve got a date going back home now, so we just want to enjoy the rest of the extended holiday that we have.

“There’s no point stressing about it because we’re here now and we might as well enjoy the days we have in the sun.”