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|T O P I C R E V I E W
||Posted - 18 Jan 2017 : 10:03:11
Thomas Cook holidaymakers to be flown out of The Gambia
Thousands of Thomas Cook holidaymakers will be returned to the UK from The Gambia after the Foreign Office changed its travel advice.
The firm plans to bring home 985 customers from package holidays over the next 48 hours.
Another 2,500 flight-only customers will be offered the "earliest available flight" from the west African country.
Are you in The Gambia? Have you been affected? Tell us your experiences by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org
The Foreign Office now advises against all but essential travel to The Gambia, based upon the risk of unrest.
A 90-day state of emergency has been declared over disputed elections.
What next for The Gambia?
In a statement, Thomas Cook said: "We will operate a programme of additional flights into Banjul airport over the next 48 hours to bring the 985 UK customers we currently have on holiday in Gambia home, including four additional flights on Wednesday 18 January.
"In addition, we have approximately 2,500 flight-only customers in Gambia, whom we are contacting to offer the earliest possible flight availability for return to the UK."
The travel company is sending a special assistance team on the first flight from the UK to provide additional support for customers.
"Our colleagues on the ground in Gambia will proactively contact all customers on holiday with us as soon as possible to prepare for return to the UK," the statement continued.
Gambian President Yahya Jammeh declared a state of emergency a day before his official mandate ends.
He decried "extraordinary" foreign interference in his country's affairs and in December's presidential election.
Regional leaders have been trying without success to persuade Mr Jammeh to hand over power to Adama Barrow, who won the vote.
Mr Barrow, a successful property developer, reportedly once worked as a security guard at an Argos store in north London.
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advises "against all but essential travel to The Gambia due to ongoing political uncertainty and potential military intervention following the presidential elections".
People should leave the country by commercial means if they have no essential need to stay, it adds.
Thomas Cook is offering free amendments or cancellations for holidays to The Gambia scheduled until Friday, and free amendments after that date.
|1 L A T E S T R E P L I E S (Newest First)
||Posted - 19 Jan 2017 : 17:13:54
Yeh I was one of those passengers flown out of TG by Thomas Cook yesterday. I can only describe the scene at Yundum airport as chaotic. Not only that but any communication from TC was non existent. On Tuesday I was visiting a Gambian friend who works in a hotel in Bijilo when his boss said I should go home (I stay in a compound in Manjai)because the man had declared a state of emergency. I tuned into the World service on West Coast radio but apart from the odd bit of repeat news learnt nothing new. During Weds morning my daughter texted me to say that British Govt advised all travellers should go to the airport where TC would be sending 4 planes to take us back to UK. Very quiet in Manjai but at about 11.30 I managed to find a taxi to take us to airport. There were about 5 different lines of people with luggage ,some saying they were from Gatwick and some from Birmingham and some from Manchester. Got in the Manchester queue and ended up on a plane at 1.30pm. More confusion about passengers and luggage so we didn,t depart til about 2.50. Then told we would be stopping at las Palmas for change of crew and refueling. Two more TC planes were still on tarmac as we left. Got back to Manchester at 11pm. On that plane were people from Gatwick and Birmingham who really shouldn.t have been on a Manchester flight also both package tourists and flight only so the whole thing was a bit of a mess. Felt sorry for the one Gambian TC rep rushing about. Just checked my emails today and low and behold a message from TC (I think) dated 18 Jan posted at about 5pm saying we should go to airport. Bit of a joke as I am already home.
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