A HUNTINGDON couple were told they could not fly home from their holiday in Cyprus...because one of them had a sprained wrist. Sheila and John Taplay said they had to splash out an extra £600 to get back to Jeffrey Drive, Huntingdon, after Thomson Holida

A HUNTINGDON couple were told they could not fly home from their holiday in Cyprus...because one of them had a sprained wrist.

Sheila and John Taplay said they had to splash out an extra £600 to get back to Jeffrey Drive, Huntingdon, after Thomson Holidays refused to allow Mrs Taplay to board the plan.

Problems started when, as the couple left their hotel to board a coach to the airport, Mrs Taplay got caught in an automatic door and was flung to the floor, hurting her wrist.

Mr Taplay told the Thomson rep who said the couple would not be allowed to go home without a letter of fitness to fly.

After that, the couple say their £2,300 all-inclusive holiday became "a nightmare".

Thomson Holidays has now apologised to the couple.

But only after the couple were:

nPrevented from catching their plane

nForced to pay 80 Euros to see a doctor and 150 Euros for an ambulance

nObliged to pay 210 Euros for later flights to Gatwick (instead the Luton flights they had already paid for)

nLanded in Gatwick at 2am and faced a £100 taxi bill to get home

Mrs Taplay, 54, said: "My husband and I are both first aid trained and I knew the wrist wasn't broken because it would have hurt a lot more. I asked why couldn't I get a taxi to the clinic, because then we could still have caught the plane, but they insisted that we wait for an ambulance.

"What if this had happened to people who didn't have an extra £600? What if they had small children with them or somebody elderly? I was also shocked that neither of the reps had first aid training.

"We asked if Thomson could just book us on a later flight and they refused. They said it couldn't be done. There were plenty of seats on that flight, I know because we were on it having paid extra for our tickets."

Mrs Taplay said since arriving home on July 9 she had been trying to claim back the money from her insurance firm and was still in correspondence with them.

However, she said she had no response to her letter of complaint to Thomson.

Both the holiday and the insurance were booked through Thomson Holidays in Bridge Street, St Ives.

Mrs Taplay, a support worker for people with learning difficulties, added: "The staff in the travel agents have done their best and faxed over further copies of my letter but I haven't even had the courtesy of a reply. We have been treated like rubbish."

A spokesman for Thomson Holidays said: "Customer satisfaction is Thomson's primary concern and we are sorry to hear of Mrs Taplay's concerns.

"In accordance with customer safety and welfare procedures, the holiday advisor present helped Mrs Taplay to her feet and offered assistance at a nearby medical centre to ensure that the injury was not serious. In such instances, and in the interests of customer well-being, it is standard procedure to obtain medical advice from a qualified medical professional and the assurance that the customer is fit to fly.

"The time taken to seek medical assistance resulted in Mrs Taplay and her husband missing their plane and so Thomson re-booked them onto the next available flight, which was to Gatwick Airport, rather than Luton.

"Thomson would like to take this opportunity to apologise to Mrs Taplay and assure her that our customer services team will be in touch in due course.