Holiday company collapse means former Burnley grandmother may be forced to miss son's wedding

The collapse of holiday company Thomas Cook has brought heartbreak for former Burnley woman Dianne Cheema as it means she may miss her son's wedding and her granddaughter's christening.

Tuesday, 24th September 2019, 12:11 pm
Dianne Cheema may have to miss her granddaughter's christening and her son's wedding due to the collapse of Thomas Cook

Dianne moved to Turkey in 2017 but makes regular trips back to the UK to see her family in Burnley including her five children and grandchildren Aria (14 weeks) Melody, who is four, 12-year-old Thomas, Louis (seven) and Max, (two) who she dotes on.

But Thomas Cook was the only company that did direct flights from Turkey to the UK and if no other company picks this up she could be stuck in Turkey from November until April.

Dianne said: "The only alternative is to fly to Istanbul then Manchester but flights are around £500 plus a five hour wait in the airport at Christmas time. I just couldn't afford it.

Dianne Cheema may have to miss her granddaughter's christening and her son's wedding due to the collapse of Thomas Cook

"Return flights are normally around £120."

Dianne came over to Burnley in July to meet her youngest grandchild Aria. She had also booked flights with Thomas Cook to return to Burnley in March next year for Aria's christening and her son's wedding on August 1st.

But now it looks like she will have to miss both special family occasions.

Dianne said: "There are no flights available now for the dates in March and the flights for July and August with other travel companies have gone up by £140.

Dianne's granddaughters Melody and Aria

"I was set on going back home every six months for a month so they don’t forget me and apart from this Christmas I wasn’t going to miss another because that’s the worst time for me.

"I only missed this year because I’d already been over twice this year and just couldn’t afford it.

"But I could be stuck here from November until April every year and miss every Christmas."

Thomas Cook, one of the UK's largest tour operators has two branches in Burnley town centre, collapsed after last minute negotiations aimed at saving it failed.

Dianne's grandsons Thomas, Louis and Max.

In an announcement yesterday the Civil Aviation Authority said the 178 year old holiday firm had 'ceased trading with immediate effect.'

The tour operator's failure puts the 9,000 jobs in the UK at risk, including staff who work at the Burnley branches in Chancery Walk and Curzon Street.

Both branches were closed this week.