Just £87 offered to disabled Bracknell woman after nightmare trip
Published: 26 Jun 2013 09:001 comment
A SEVERELY disabled woman suffered a holiday from hell when she was forced to go a week without washing - then was offered just £87 to compensate her for the ordeal.
Vicki Dennis has suffered with congenital muscular dystrophy since birth, meaning she is wheelchair-bound and needs assistance to do most day-to-day tasks.
So when the 30-year-old saw a Thomson holiday for £517 per person, all-inclusive, in Turkey, she decided that she, boyfriend Keegan and her mum Susan needed a break.
She told the Midweek: "I was so keen to find out if the hotel was accessible for me to stay - as obviously I needed to make sure I could access all areas of the hotel."
Miss Dennis spoke to an adviser at Thomson in Bracknell to find out whether the hotel was compliant under the Disability Discrimination Act and importantly had a big bathroom, as she needs two people to help her shower.
She claims she was informed there were no disabled rooms available but that the rooms - and their bathrooms - would be large enough to fit her wheelchair in.
The Forest Park resident was over the moon and booked the holiday, also requesting a specially-adapted taxi for the transfer at the same time - for which she paid £40.
But when they arrived at Antalya airport, in Turkey, on Thursday, May 30, she says the Thomson rep had no record of the group needing an adapted taxi.
"They said that a normal taxi could take us, but it was a small mini bus," said Miss Dennis. "My boyfriend had to lift me into this bus, which is extremely dangerous for both of us." And to make matters worse, when the trio arrived at the hotel they discovered their room was much smaller than promised.
Miss Dennis explained: "I could barely move my wheelchair around. And then we opened the bathroom door - it was tiny!
"My wheelchair didn't fit through the door. The bath had a glass door on it which didn't move, and there was a tiny gap to fit through."
They tried to change rooms but were told by management at the Liberty Hotel, in Lara Beach, that all the rooms were the same size.
"For the whole duration of my holiday I was unable to have a shower," Miss Dennis said.
"Although I was enjoying my holiday I felt awful. I was washed with baby wipes every day but still needed a bath or shower and I was unable to.
"I cannot emphasise how disappointed I am with Thomson. They have allowed me to go on a holiday thinking I had paid for a holiday where I can get into the bathroom to wash like a normal human being, when I couldn't. I felt horrible, dirty and just couldn't relax."
Mark Healey, a spokesman for Thomson, said the manager of the Bracknell store has been in touch with Miss Dennis, and has offered her a discounted holiday to compensate for her disastrous trip.
He told the Midweek: "This is not something we get a lot of complaints about, it's very rare for this to happen and we always make sure that our staff go through the correct training - they all know what they're doing. It was just an unfortunate one-off."
But Miss Dennis has said she is "insulted" by the Thomson offering - which she says equated to just £87 off her next holiday.
The Turkey holiday had cost her more than £1,600 in total, including taxi fares.