Terrified tourists could be stuck in strife-torn Tunisia until the middle of this week, it has been revealed.
British Airways (BA) is operating its normal Monday service between Tunis and Gatwick. But for those not able to get on that flight, the next BA flight is not until Wednesday, meaning an anxious wait for British holidaymakers confined to their hotels in the North African country.
Robert Jenkins, staying in the resort of Hammamet with his wife, was critical of BA for allowing his flight last Friday to leave from Gatwick. But BA has said it is continuing with its five-flights-a-week service to Tunis and that there were seats available on its Wednesday flight.
Mr Jenkins, from Fetcham in Surrey, told the online Daily Mail: “I can’t believe that BA allowed the flight to take off when they knew the Foreign Office had advised against non-essential travel to Tunisia. We hadn’t seen the news and the warning was not mentioned when we checked in or when we boarded.”
The 51-year-old is in Hammamet with his brother Richard, 59, and sister-in-law Veronica, 61.
Richard Jenkins, a court usher from Byfleet, Surrey, said: “We haven’t even been out of the front door, we are so scared. Our three daughters are really worried. They just want us back as quickly as possible.”
A BA spokesman said: “There are seats available on Wednesday’s flight back to Gatwick. People can rebook online.
“We are monitoring the situation in Tunisia carefully. We continue to operate flights to and from Tunis to help as many of our customers as possible. We would not operate a service unless we were confident that it was safe to do so. Customers who are booked to travel to or from Tunis in the next 72 hours can claim a full refund, rebook to a different date or to an alternative destination.”
Major tour operators have brought home hundreds of British holidaymakers from Tunisia in the last few days. But it was estimated that between 1,000 and 1,500 British nationals remained in the country, which has been hit by rioting and civil disorder in the past week.
Christopher O’Connor, UK Ambassador to Tunisia, said: “Clearly, there have been a lot of people killed and injured. Those (British tourists) who do stay, we encourage them to stay indoors, and to avoid any signs of violence and demonstrations near them.”