Misery for holidaymakers as Kiss Flights collapses

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The Independent Travel

Thousands of people were left furious tonight after their trips abroad were cancelled - and for some it was a double dose of holiday misery.



The collapse of Kiss Flights last night means around 60,000 people who were looking forward to their summer break will be left disappointed.



Air regulators managed to get more than 1,500 Kiss customers on flights from the UK to the Mediterranean today.



But after 6pm - when an arrangement made by the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) to allow customers to travel as normal ends - those who booked with Kiss will not be able to fly.



For some holidaymakers this was their second successive blow as they had booked with Kiss Flights having already fallen victim to the collapse last month of Surrey-based holiday company Goldtrail.



People whose holidays have been cancelled will now be forced to seek either alternative arrangements or compensation from the CAA.



But the 13,000 UK tourists already abroad on Kiss trips were able to carry on their holidays as the collapsed London-based company's operations were financially protected by the CAA-run Atol (Air Travel Operators Licensing) scheme.



One double whammy sufferer was Margaret Cleave, 67, from Glasgow, who booked originally with Goldtrail and is still waiting for the refund of nearly £1,000 for flights to Turkey for herself and her sister.



She had booked for the same dates in September through Kiss Flights.



She told the BBC: "We cannot afford to lose any of this money and cannot believe this has happened again.



"We will be a bit wary when we next go on holiday. We will get our money back but do not know when."



Passengers whose flights were cancelled vented their anger on social networking sites.



Neil Simnett, from Beccles in Suffolk, wrote on Facebook: "kiss flights ... more like kiss my arse ... messing up my holiday!!!"



Charlotte Ballam, from Nottingham, was supposed to be going to Sharm el Sheikh in Egypt. She said: "You dont really think they woud go bust like that im so angry now."



Ryan Fleming, from London, wrote: "The CEO of parent company Flight Options Ltd is said to be 'devastated'.



"Maybe the CEO should pick his parent company names with a bit more sensitivity in mind."



Iain Ellis, from Mirfield in West Yorkshire, wrote: "Typical, just our luck flights canceled!"



And another devastated passenger, from Auldearn outside Nairn in Scotland, posted: "Nick Terlouw would like to thank Kiss Flights very much for f***ing up my holiday!"



Kiss Flights, which operated flights to Greece, Egypt, Turkey and the Canary Islands, folded after its owner Flight Options ceased trading yesterday.



The CAA made arrangements to ensure that flights up to 6pm today were able to operate as normal, with the bulk of passengers flying from Gatwick and Manchester airports to Mediterranean destinations.



The CAA said that it hoped to ensure that when those already abroad with Kiss Flights fly home they will be able to do so with their planned carrier, without the CAA having to charter aircraft.







Flight Options also traded under the names Africa Options, America Options, Canada Options, Caribbean Options, Dubai Options, Elgouna Options, Elgouna Villas and Apartments, Florida Options, Florida Owners Club, Golf Options, Holidayops.com, Orlando Villas Direct, Sportops.com, Travel Options Direct and Travelplus.



This latest collapse follows those of Goldtrail and - last week - tour operator Sun4U.



:: Kiss Flights customers who are currently abroad can contact the CAA for more information on 0044 161 444 5811.



Those with forward bookings requiring general advice about refunds under the Atol scheme should go to the CAA website or call 0844 571 7262.

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