'Vast majority' of stranded tourists home today

THE vast majority of Goldtrail customers who were on holiday when the tour operator collapsed should be back in the UK by tonight, the Civil Aviation Authority said.

About 16,000 Britons were abroad when the Turkey and Greece specialist went into administration on Friday afternoon, while a further 2,000 were scheduled to fly from the UK this weekend.

As the school holiday season gets under way, it is estimated 50,000 people booked to travel with firm could be affected over the summer months.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

Authorities reassured holidaymakers they could claim back money lost on bookings

while alternative flights were available through the Air Travel Organisers' Licensing (Atol) scheme.

Under the scheme, the CAA said it had stepped in to protect customers by arranging to fly tourists home at the end of their holiday.

Claims can also be submitted to the aviation regulator for Goldtrail trips already booked while travel agents should be able to help people arrange alternative flights and accommodation.

A spokesman for the CAA said last night: "Everybody is coming home on the flights they were supposed to anyway. We think by the close of play tomorrow the vast majority of people will be home."

The CAA has also offered to intervene on behalf of British holidaymakers being asked to make extra payments to hoteliers following the firm's collapse.

A number of British travellers complained they had been told to pay for their hotels even though they had paid when they booked their holiday.

CAA spokesman Jonathan Nicholson said: "There will be the odd hotelier who hasn't been paid who doesn't understand the system and says you are not leaving until we are paid.

"If you've got time contact us and we will speak to the hotelier and explain the system and tell them we'll be paying, or if you haven't got time pay them, keep your receipt and we'll refund you."