Page last updated at 13:02 GMT, Friday, 29 August 2008 14:02 UK

Stranded passengers count the cost

Thousands of Zoom passengers are trying to find alternative flights after the budget airline collapsed.

The majority have yet to take their journeys, but hundreds have been left stranded at airports on both sides of the Atlantic.

BBC Scotland heard some of their stories.

CAROLINE NEWTON, SCOTLAND

Passengers Glasgow airport
Passengers were left stranded in Glasgow after the airline collapsed

Caroline Newton's husband Douglas booked flights costing 1,300 for a Christmas family trip to Canada on Thursday morning via the airline's website - only hours before it applied to go into administration.

Mrs Newton said: "They were still doing business yesterday morning, clearly knowing that this was going to happen. The problem is that our money has gone into their account and we have to go through the process of trying to retrieve it.

"You can print out your e-ticket, you've got your receipt etc, but unfortunately there was nobody available to speak to us from Zoom.

"We tried for over two hours last night with the bank trying to discuss ways to stop the money going into their account, but unfortunately there's nothing that they can do."

Mrs Newton said her family did not usually travel with budget airlines but were attracted to the offer of a free child's place.

She said: "We looked at various other airlines, and the cost as you know has increased greatly. It was just one of these super deals. But you know it was just one of those things, if it's too good to be true then it isn't.

"We don't normally go with low cost airlines, that's a fact, but the direct flight from Glasgow was the pinnacle of the selling feature.

"Unfortunately I think I'd rather go with a company that's been around for a long, long time and there is some assurance to passengers in this event that you would get compensation. At this moment we're not clear if we will be entitled to our money back as a result of the insolvency."

GABRIELLE WILSON AND MEGAN BEADLE, CANADA

Gabrielle Wilson and Megan Beagle
Garbrielle Wilson and Megan Beagle will have to dip into their college fund

Canadian students Garbrielle Wilson and Megan Beadle were expecting to return home after a holiday in Scotland, but have been left trying to find the cash to pay for alternative flights.

The girls were left waiting at Glasgow Airport before being told the airline had collapsed.

Ms Wilson said: "Basically they just kept people waiting and kept coming back and telling us we'll give you more information. No final answers, nothing at all until 6 o'clock when basically they told us you're out of luck.

"We're trying to find tickets at the moment, but they're all about 1,500 - really, really expensive.

"At the moment it looks like I'm going to be about $2,000 more in debt - there's no other way I can pay for it. It was all budgeted out but now it's going to be very expensive. It's going to come out of our school accounts for food, our living, because as students we don't have that money available."

Ms Beadle said coming up with the money for another flight would be difficult.

She said: "I would love to just jump on a plane, I was just talking to a lady who just threw her visa down and said get me home, but we can't do that. We don't have that luxury."

DR STEWART KATZ AND URSULA KATZ, PORTUGAL

Ursula and Dr Stewart Katz
Dr Stewart Katz and his wife Ursula were unable to travel to a wedding

Dr Stewart Katz and his wife Ursula were on their way from Portugal to a wedding in Toronto.

Mrs Katz said: "We flew in from Portugal, where we live, booked into the Holiday Inn, saw a TV reporter and asked her what all the excitement was, only to be told Zoom went bust at 7 o'clock."

"We've looked at alternate flights. Getting from Glasgow to London was the problem and unless we're prepared to pay about 3,000 each, each way - so you're talking 12,000 - there was no way we could do it.

"So we've called it quits now, we're going back to Portugal."

Dr Katz said he felt sorry for the owners of the airline.

He said: "I feel heartily sorry for all the passengers obviously, but I also feel sorry for the Boyle brothers who founded the airline. They must be in a terrible state.

"They've got all these people and there's little they can do. As I can gather, they were trying to get a rescue package until the last minute, which probably accounts for why nobody knew anything.

"In this present economic climate, it's not the first airline that's gone and there's going to be a lot more if we're not careful."




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