MOST of us have experienced a few mishaps on our holidays – a delayed flight, a dodgy hotel or food poisoning.
But for one Huddersfield group a dream holiday became a nightmare plagued by disaster after disaster.
Cherril Smallburn, from Crosland Moor, and her friends Lynda Berry, her husband Chris and daughter Rachel, of Oakes, paid about £2,000 each for a Caribbean cruise starting in Florida, USA.
Having postponed their trip for 10 months so Lynda, 56, could have a hip replacement the four were eager to set sail in February.
But trouble began the moment the four left their doorstep as they battled through thick snow to get to Huddersfield railway station.
At Manchester Airport they found all flights to Heathrow had been cancelled and queued for three-and-a-half hours to secure alternative flights.
But the four had to book rooms at an airport hotel to avoid missing their flights.
Cherril, 58, said: “BA gave us a piece of paper and told us to go home as if we lived round the corner.”
The group boarded their plane for Paris but it was turned back due to a technical fault.
After catching the next flight the four had to sprint across Paris Charles De Gaulle Airport to catch their connection to Miami.
Cherill said: “One of our party had recently undergone a hip replacement operation and struggled to hurry and was deeply distressed and in absolute agony by the time she had reached the plane.”
Arriving at Miami Airport, the friends were told their luggage was still at Charles de Gaulle.
The four reached their cruise ship on time at Fort Lauderdale.
But the misery continued aboard when the luggage failed to materialise leaving the friends nothing to wear except their British winter clothes.
And when Lynda and Chris’ luggage finally arrived the case was damaged and left unusable.
But the worst came when an outbreak of norovirus, a form of gastroenteritis, struck on board.
Cherill, who works for Kirklees Active Leisure, said: “I was violently sick and had to call the doctor. I was confined to my cabin for 48 hours.
“On the whole it was a totally horrendous and disappointing holiday.
“It’s a good job we have sense of humour but at the time it wasn’t funny at all.”
A BA spokesman said: “Severe weather conditions meant Heathrow Airport was closed on February 2, which obviously had a major knock-on effect for passengers travelling on connecting flights from UK regional airports.
“In addition to the disrupted passengers from the cancelled flights to Heathrow, our ground staff also had to cope with disrupted passengers from four British Airways long-haul flights that were diverted into Manchester because Heathrow was closed.
“Unfortunately the sheer number of disrupted passengers meant staff were unable to talk to everyone immediately, and with no sign of Heathrow re-opening that day passengers who were able to travel home were advised to go there and ring the customer care line.
“We refute any suggestions that they appeared to have done absolutely nothing.
“British Airways will reimburse passengers for reasonable expenses.
“We do understand the frustration experienced by these passengers in such exceptional circumstances beyond our control, but can assure them everything possible was done to minimise the disruption.”
Perhaps you’ve had a trip which makes this family’s holiday from hell pale into insignificance? Let us know.