Difficulties of making a simple holiday flight

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From: Keith Wigglesworth, Mead Way, Highburton, Huddersfield.

MY cousin, who lives in the Caribbean, also has a house in Alsace where we usually join them.

Here, about a 30-minute drive from Basel airport, we can enjoy the scenery of the Vosges mountains, the medieval towns along the wine trail, easily visit Germany or Switzerland, enjoy a glass or three of the local Alsatian wines, partake of a fantastic range of foods and enjoy good company. What could be better? Getting there could be better!

Last year, we flew BMI from Manchester to Basel in a little under two hours and at a very reasonable cost, but they no longer fly that route.

Today, the cost has more than doubled and sorting out how to get there is a total minefield as there seems to be an almost total lack of carriers flying direct to Basel, which I find strange with the city being regarded as the commercial centre for Switzerland.

Some operators were offering flights with a duration of 12 hours with one extreme shown of outbound 23 hours and a return of 26 hours. Who in their right mind would even consider this sort of service, bearing in mind that Basel is less than two hours flying time from Manchester?

Last year’s flight with BMI was superb with outstanding service, as my wife, following a number of hip operations and having difficulty in walking long distances, was able to ride her mobility scooter all the way to the aircraft door, had it waiting at the door when we disembarked, by-passed the queues for immigration and was able to use it in the town where we were staying – an ideal situation.

This year, having finally booked to Zurich with Swiss International, and requiring an extra hour’s journey to be collected at arrivals, we find that the airline will not transport her scooter free of charge but were willing to carry it with a charge for excess baggage at e150 per 23 kilos, possibly creating an extra cost of more than £300.

Whatever happened to European integration and common sense?