SCALLOWAY man Alec Johnson had an unusual end to his holiday recently when he was one of the hundreds of tourists to be caught up in the protests in Thailand.
What should have been a short journey home after a 16-day holiday turned into five days of uncertainty as the main airport in Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi, ground to a standstill.
Mr Johnson had been due to fly out on the evening of the 25th. He had heard rumours from other tourists that there may be some kind of disruption, but nothing on the scale of what happened.
He arrived at the airport in plenty of time for his flight, which had been due to leave at around 1am, and was aware that there was something going on.
“The airport was crammed, there was nowhere to sit, just the floor. All the airline desks were closed and there were queues of folk all over,” he said.
The travel company representative, who had accompanied the group to the airport, advised Mr Johnson and others to stay put and wait to see if the situation changed. By 11.30pm it was clear no flights were going to be leaving and the holiday rep took the travellers back to the hotel.
Thankfully for Mr Johnson, the company he had travelled with, Saga, were very helpful and allowed him to return to the hotel he had been staying at. They also gave him a three minute phone call for every day he was stranded, which he used to call friends and family to let them know of the situation and make arrangements at home.
Mr Johnson said: “I’d like to say a big thank you to Joy Johnson, Maureen Grant and Cathy Leask for being my help at the other side, and also to my daughter, Ann Marie, who arranged my boat journey home.”
The company eventually got the flight rescheduled for the 5th December.
Mr Johnson said of his ordeal: “I was one of the lucky ones; I was only £300 out of pocket.”
He is currently waiting to hear if Flybe will refund his flight home to Shetland.