A furious grandmother has hit out at Thomas Cook after she was charged a £500 administration fee to change her holiday destination from Egypt to Lanzarote.
Sheena Reah, 48, had paid a £500 deposit at Hays Travel to spend next Christmas with her family in Sharm-el-Sheik, Egypt. But after reading about fighting and unrest in the country, changed her mind and visited the shop again to change the booking to Lanzarote, sticking with Thomas Cook as the operator.
Speaking to the Shields Gazette, Mrs Reah said she shouldn't have been charged that much for someone to "press a few buttons", adding: "The girl in Hays Travel was really helpful and I can't fault her but she said I would have to wait for the Government to issue a travel warning or make it Egypt a 'no go zone' before I could get my deposit back. We go away as a family every Christmas and I didn't want us to miss out.
"I've paid it now but want to warn other people about this astronomical charge."
Sheen also wrote an outraged email to Thomas Cook on Facebook, calling the admin charge "disgusting".
She received a reply from Thomas Cook saying: "Hi Sheena, unfortunately as this was booked third party you will need to contact them regarding this. Apologies for any inconveniences caused."
A spokesman for Thomas Cook told the Shields Gazette: "Thomas Cook has a duty of care towards all its customers, and we would never knowingly offer holidays in destinations where we felt their safety might be compromised.
"We are continuing to monitor the situation in Egypt, working in close collaboration with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO).
"Although the FCO currently has some restrictions in place for travel to certain parts of Egypt, these lie many miles from the resorts we operate. Our experienced teams on the ground inform us that the resorts to which we travel are operating as normal and that our customers are continuing to enjoy their holidays. Our holiday and flight programmes are operating as normal and normal booking conditions apply.
"Thomas Cook can confirm that it amended Ms Reah's holiday to Egypt to an alternative in Lanzarote at the customer's request. As is standard across the travel industry, changes made to a booking at the request of a customer are subject to amendment charges. Accordingly, the changes requested by Ms Reah were subject to standard booking conditions and a fee was incurred, as outlined in our terms and conditions."