Cancer patient stranded after string of cancelled flights

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Left to right: Panos Vikis, Nicola McAndrew, Patricia and Alison Vikis

By Cara Sulieman

A CANCER patient was left facing a nightmare before Christmas after a catalogue of travel disasters.

First Patricia Vikis and her husband Panos were left stranded in Cyprus last Wednesday after the collapse of what was Scotland’s biggest airline Flyglobespan.

Disappointed but pragmatic, they instead booked a flight back with low-cost airline easyJet – on for that to be cancelled too owing to heavy snow.

And because the only seats they could get were to London, it meant they also had to cancel their connecting British Airways flight from Gatwick to Edinburgh.

Fingers crossed

A second easyJet flight was arranged last Sunday to Manchester.

But it also succumbed to bad weather.

This time they were forced to scrap a connecting train to Edinburgh and start again.

And last night the pair, from Leith in Edinburgh, were keeping their fingers cross they could finally board a Thomas Cook flight due to arrive home this morning (Weds).

Seventy-year-old Patricia was diagnosed with cancer three years ago and has to undergo chemotherapy every three weeks.

She was given an extended break by doctors so that she and Panos, 65, could visit a holiday home on the Mediterranean island that they bought just before Patricia was diagnosed.

“Hellish”

But the holiday of their dreams has turned into a nightmare as they desperately try and get home in time for their grandchild’s birth.

The couple’s daughter, Nicola McAndrew, 32, has been trying to organise for her parents to return to the UK before she undergoes a caesarean.

Panos said: “It’s been absolutely hellish.

“It’s extremely unpleasant as our daughter is due to give birth any day now and she’s not happy with us being stuck here.

“We’ve got a fourth flight booked with Thomas Cook today, so we’ve got our fingers crossed that this one takes off without a problem and we can make it home for Christmas.

“My wife is extremely distressed, and she’s anxious to get home and see our daughter.”

“Practically broke down”

And their second daughter, Alison, 37, revealed the cost of the cancellations runs into the thousands.

She said: “She’s (Nicola) had to fork out about £1,500 to rescue our parents each time, and we won’t see a great deal of it back.

“They can’t get travel insurance because of my mum’s illness, and they didn’t pay by credit card.

EasyJet initially refused a transfer when their first flight was cancelled, and only relented when Nicola practically broke down.

“However, she’s lost a lot of money on the missed connections.”

A spokesman for easyJet said that flights had been cancelled because of weather conditions at airports.

He added: “EasyJet, like many airlines has experienced continued disruption this weekend.

“We can confirm that we will reimburse the passengers for their costs to return home, and would ask them to get in contact with our customer services team.”

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