Norwich family stranded in India after airline collapse quoted £16,000 for flights home
PUBLISHED: 10:57 18 April 2019 | UPDATED: 08:59 19 April 2019
A Norfolk family has been told to pay £16,000 to fly home after being left stranded in India because Jet Airways has suspended all flights.
Gary Howard and his family have been left “devastated” by the last-minute cancellation of Jet flights from Goa to Mumbai and Mumbai to London.
Now they face a race against time to get home, as they need to vacate their rental apartment in Goa by Saturday - the day they were due to fly home from their dream holiday.
And they got a shock when they tried to find new flights, with Southall Travell quoting £4,000 each - and local agent Jet International quoting a total of £7,000.
A spokesman from Southall Travel, based in Middlesex, confirmed to this newspaper that the family would get a refund in 'four-six weeks.' “Mr Howard is not the only person affected, we have thousands who are and we are in a helpless situation. All we can do is provide options for passengers and it's their call whether they take them or not but the prices are on the high side because of so much demand.”
Mr Howard, from Norwich, is in Goa with his daughter Naiara, 12, his partner Freny Fernandes and her daughter Naina, 12.
They flew out from Heathrow on April 8, having already had their flights rescheduled three times - and paying for a hotel overnight out of their own pockets.
Mr Howard said: “On the flight over we had no in-flight entertainment for nine hours, so there were obviously money problems for the airline even then.
“We had a great time until yesterday, when I received an email saying our flight from Mumbai to London had been cancelled. I then received a message saying the flight from Goa to Mumbai had also been cancelled.”
He added: “Southall Travel said they can refund us the return flight - about £900 in total - in four weeks' time. They said we can get a flight home for £4,000 each. Jet International, which is nothing to do with Jet Airways, said £7,000 in total.
“I've since spoken to Southall again and been told we can have free flights with Etihad in mid May. But the girls have to go to school and we both work.”
Mr Howard said they were all “absolutely devastated”, adding: “The girls have been in tears. We've enjoyed a lovely holiday, but the last two days have been ruined. We were going to have a spa day and relax, but that's not happened.”
A spokesman from Jet International based in Goa, told this newspaper that they were now closed until Monday.
Jet Airways has temporarily suspended all its domestic and international flights after failing to find fresh funding.
The last flight operated on Wednesday as it was not able to pay for fuel and other critical services.
It has $1.2bn (£900m) debt and has been in talks with lenders for weeks.
Jet Airways, which has 123 planes, was once India's biggest private airline, but reports say that just five planes have been in use.
In a statement the airline said it had been forced to ground all its flights because “prolonged and sustained efforts with lenders and authorities did not yield the desired results”.