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Failure Of Tour Operator - Sikh And Non Sikh Pilgrims

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Airline passengers told to pay for fuel

Posted by ABC News November 18, 2011 07:44:04

Passengers on board a flight from the Indian city of Amritsar say they were forced to collect money on board the plane to pay for the remainder of their trip back to Britain.

Those on board said they were "held to ransom" for six hours on a runway in the Austrian capital Vienna.

The bizarre situation came after the flight, with Austrian airline Comtel Air, stopped to refuel.

Passengers said they were told they had to hand over around 20,000 pounds ($31,500) to complete the journey to Birmingham in England.

More than 180 passengers, who should have arrived in Birmingham on Saturday, finally reached the city late on Tuesday according to the Birmingham Mail newspaper.

Elderly women and children were among the passengers.

One passenger, Dalvinder Batra, told the paper: "It is absolutely disgusting. There are still people stuck out there."

Ranbir Dehal said: "We were escorted to the cash point to take money out. They said there was a deficit of nearly 24,000 euros and they gave us receipts."

Reena Rindi, who was travelling with her two-year-old daughter said: "We wanted to go home. We'd been stranded for about three to four days. Who was going to take us home?"

"If we didn't have the money they were making us go one by one outside in Vienna to get the cash out."

Konrad Bhupinder, managing director of Comtel Air, blamed tour operator Skyjet for the problem.

"We only organise flights if the tickets have been paid for," he said, adding that in this case Skyjet had not paid the airline for the flights.

The flight had been due to take off on Saturday but was delayed to Tuesday because of a conflict between Skyjet and Comtel Air.

Eight months later, anybody received compensation from travel agents or CAA team ?

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I was on their 2nd ever flight. it was delayed going there by 1hour and on the return leg it was delayed by almost 6hours. No info was forthcoming and no food, drink phone calls were given, I very very peeved and was planning on complaining when I got back.

However when I heard about these guys who were stranded I thought 'count my lucky stars and be grateful!'

A big issue was made on Sikh channel or sangat tv at that time, but being old news now it seems everyone has forgotten about it.

Oh well till next time when that crook of an owner sets up another airline company to fleece the tourists.

I'd say stick to the well established airlines. Yes that includes 'Air india' too!

Edited by SURYADEV
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The story is nearly eight months old, but it still appears families have not been reimbursed additional cost for tickets.

One grandmother was left stranded in India due to failure of tour operator. She had to pay additional £400.00 for return journey back to U.K.

Original ticket was bought from Panjab Radio, owners of Sonia travels. The case has gone to Civil Aviation Authority (CAA), because Sonia Travels have been unable to provide correct receipts listing ATOL number.

Punjab Radio are doing nothing to help resolve the issue. Sonia travels simply making excuses not to return the money. Great customer service. Quick to take your money, but slow to solve customer issues. Suryadev you are right Stick to well established tour operators.

Grandmother is out of pocket by nearly £600.00 to date.

Any similar stories elsewhere ?

Suggest a petition is started to put pressure on Tour operators for reimbursement.

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