A Scots bride-to-be is facing a race against time for her father-in-law to make it to their big day after ‘disgusting’ treatment by a UK-government backed travel firm.
Louise Douglas, a magician from Buckhaven, Fife, has already had to reschedule her wedding date to Shafiq Zeshan Mirza, 34, due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The couple are due to finally tie the knot this month, but have had to pay out thousands.
The 36-year-old – who performs magic for sick kids – claims CTM Travel did not not send out the required information for Shaf’s dad Rahat, 71, to board the flight to London from the Pakistani capital of Islamabad.
Louise, who now lives in the UK capital, claims she has faced a gruelling challenge even being able to contact the firm after shelling out £2,285 for a quarantine hotel.
Rahat lives in the UK but has been stuck in Pakistan since the start of the pandemic.
Another £600 flight was booked but Louise says again the travel firm have not processed the booking.
If the father-in-law does not make it to the UK by Monday he faces missing the wedding of his son in Biggar on September 22.
Louise claims she has spent countless hours trying to get through to the company but has been left in the lurch.
The Department for Health and Social Work website lists CTM Travel as a point of call for coronavirus related issues coming into the UK.
Pakistan is a ‘red list’ country for coronavirus restrictions into the UK and Rahat would face quarantine before the wedding.
Louise told the Record: “Rahat should have arrived on September 2 but couldn’t board the flight because they didn’t issue the invoice number- which is what you need for the passenger locator form.
“We had an acknowledgement of the booking the hotel but without that they don’t let you board.
“We have had to pay for a new flight because he would miss our wedding if he got the next available one and then did quarantine.
“So we booked him a new flight for Monday thinking that surely six days would be enough time but had the exact same issues again.
“He took a three hour journey to the airport hoping and praying it would come through and then obviously it didn’t so he was left having to travel back.
“We are running out of time. He lives in the UK as well so it is not like he’s just coming over for a holiday.”
“I’m calling them every day but they just hang up on you or say it will come in one hour and it doesn’t come.”
Louise added she had spent up to eight hours on the phone to the firm.
She said: “The call handlers are working from India I think- at one point one lady was clearly on a farm as there were cockerels in the background and a screaming child.
“The line is always terrible and they they just hang up. We are at a complete loss trying to sort this while also working.”
Louise has since taken to social media to call out the Government backed firm.
She wrote on Facebook: “We have had the most horrendous and stressful experience trying to get Shaf’s dad home and in time for our wedding
“Booked the UK quarantine hotel £2285 and this shameful company did not send the information needed for him to board the flight, despite booking two days in advance .
“We tried calling and were on hold or hung up on for eight hours straight – he missed the flight despite us doing everything our end to the letter as per UK government guidelines .
“The government have given this company the sole contract . We have no choice but to use this horrendous company – had to pay £600 for a new flight and still cannot get CTM – Corporate Travel Management to process the booking ?! It’s been FOUR DAYS . Nobody will help us ! Government Foreign travel advice are not interested.”
Friend of the couple Davina Douglas said: “This couple are devastated. They are a genuine hard working couple who would do anything for anyone it is so sad to watch helplessly.
“Louise is a magician who gives so much of her time to working for spread a smile a charity for children with life threatening illnesses.
“If only she could do her magic, if only we could get Shaf’s dad home and raise a smile for the happy couple.”
The Department for Health and Social Work and CTM travel have been contacted for comment.
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