A newlywed couple missed out on their £5,000 honeymoon due to alleged airport errors, with the bride’s wedding dress even going missing with her luggage.
Soumaya Elliott, 30, and husband Justin, 33, had splashed out on a four-week trip to Asia to follow their wedding last month.
But their dream honeymoon soon turned into a nightmare marred by flight delays, lost luggage and expensive rebookings.
Frustrated by the ordeal, the couple eventually decided to just scrap the trip.
And Soumaya, a lecturer in TV and film production, said the experience was so upsetting she ended up in bed for days.
She said: “It was really really horrendous. It was horrible. It was the worst experience of my life, I think.”
Soumaya and Justin, who married on July 10, had paid £5,000 for a trip to Bangkok, Phuket, Tokyo and Seoul, which they booked through Kiwi.com.
But after flying from London Heathrow to Vienna without any problems, they got caught up in three-and-a-half hour delays at passport control, check-in and security.
This made them miss their Saudi Arabia Airlines flight to Bangkok by two minutes, the couple say.
Soumaya, from Newbury, Berkshire, said: “They didn’t call our gate. We were just sat there waiting.
“Then we looked at the time and we were about two minutes late, so we ran down to the airport staff, but they said we were too late and basically told us to go away.
“We were stuck. We didn’t know what to do.”
Having contacted Kiwi.com, the couple claim they were told they didn’t qualify for a refund or new flights.
They then used wedding gift money to rebook on a £1,300 flight for the next day – and claim the agency assured them they would not need any additional visas.
“At this point we were panicking, so we just went with their advice and went to rebook flights,” Soumaya said.
But this meant they had to sleep on the airport floor while they waited, they say, with Justin using just a flipflop to support his back which he had recently broken.
He said: “I had several back spasms where I had to sit on the floor for about 20 minutes to get myself to stand up straight.
“I wasn’t allowed to bring any diazepam through a lot of the borders because you can only bring a restricted amount, so I just didn’t bring any.
“I didn’t think I was going to be under that kind of stress.”
And, to their horror, the couple were then denied check in for their flight the next morning because they did not have visas, they claim.
Soumaya said: “I ended up having a panic attack on the floor and I was being sick.”
They claim Kiwi.com still refused to offer them any help or refund, so they had no choice but to return home to the UK – costing them a further £800.
And, to make matters worse, their luggage got lost one of the legs to get back home – while traveling from Vienna to Frankfurt – which contains Soumaya’s wedding dress.
The couple have been refunded £1,235 for the extra flights they had to purchase to get to Bangkok.
They have also been given around £1,000 worth of Kiwi.com vouchers.
But Soumaya says she is after full compensation.
She said: “It is just terrifying that they are happy to take two or three grand off you and not actually help or deliver a service.
“I had to argue so much with them. It was two days after our wedding which should be a happy time.
“We don’t want vouchers – we don’t want to use them again. They need to give us back our money.”
A Kiwi.com spokesperson said: “We can’t imagine the distress Mr and Ms Elliott went through. Once the couple missed the flight in Vienna, they contacted our Customer Support department and were advised of the Transfer Protection conditions.
“Given the nature of the situation, our Customer Support agent also informed of the option to purchase flight tickets directly at the airport – this option, however, requires a final agreement with our team prior purchase.
“The customers decided to select and buy a flight without the consultation and unfortunately missed the visa requirements information alerting them of specific conditions to be met at their transit airport.
“Given the unpleasant hassle Mr and Ms Elliott had to experience, we went an extra step and processed the full refund for this booking, as well as refreshments that the couple had to purchase – in total £1,319.83.
“As a gesture of goodwill, Mr and Ms Elliott were also offered £835 and £250 on top in Kiwi.com credits, contributing to future honeymoon plans.”