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Flights cancelled, no job to come home to: Chorley couple trapped in Thailand

“I was so distressed and tired and they just weren’t helpful. I asked if we went back the following day could they help us and they said no one would be there.”

A Chorley couple who were celebrating their anniversary in Thailand could now be trapped there for months after Emirates cancelled all flights home.

Leanne and Rob Ashworth, who travelled out to Thailand earlier this month, have been left with no information and little hope of getting home after the company announced it would be cancelling for two weeks starting from tomorrow (March 25).

The pair, who were celebrating their second wedding anniversary and Rob’s upcoming 40th birthday, flew out on March 12 when there were still no travel restrictions in place.

Since then, Emirates has called off their flight and although the couple has booked onto a flight with Thai Airways, they have major doubts over whether this will go ahead.

They are desperately appealing for the British Embassy or Emirates to get in touch with customers to inform them of any help they can receive on getting home.

“We stayed in Pattaya for five nights then headed over to Koh Chang which is nearly seven hours away, then things started to change drastically,” said Leanne, 40.

“That’s when I tried calling Emirates for advice and information. When I called I would be in a queue and then after an hour it would tell me they could not answer my call, and hang up.

“Although it says online you could change flights with no charge, we tried to do this and this was untrue, it was trying to charge us over £1000.”

As the couple went to leave Koh Chang, Leanne decided to check the Emirates app and found that their flight from Bangkok had been cancelled with no email or call.

They immediately travelled to Bangkok airport but were told by staff to call the customer service number which was not working properly.

“We were lost with what to do,” she added. “So we headed down to the check-in desks where a queue of hundreds of people had formed.

“There was certainly no social distancing at the airport.

“You had to wait for two to three hours to speak to someone and when you did they told you all flights were full and they could not book you on another and you had to make your own arrangements.

“I was so distressed and tired and they just weren’t helpful. I asked if we went back the following day could they help us and they said no one would be there.

“They said the Thai Government was cancelling all travel and they said it could be months before it was reinstated but we don’t know what to believe anymore.”

Unsure about what to do, the couple returned to Pattaya where they found other groups in the same situation as them.

After a frantic search they discovered a flight to London Heathrow on Friday with Thai Airways costing £1000.

The company has since announced that all Asia-Pacific region flights have been cancelled from March 25 until May 31, and all flights to and from Europe will be cancelled as of April 1.

“We live in hope our flight on Friday does not get cancelled,” added Leanne. “I have already been made redundant from my job and have no further money to support being here any longer.

“No one is able to speak to anyone or receive any official advice. I have been tweeting the Prime Minister, British Embassy everyone and still no help or advice.

“We wanted to try and get on the earliest flight and get home. That is all we want to do.”

The couple must now wait and hope that the Thai Airways flight does not get overbooked as websites are still showing available places on the plane.

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