Nervous flyer stranded for a month

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IOL pic jun25 airport travel board Associated Press File picture: AP

London - We all dread the moment when a relaxing holiday comes to an end.

For Samantha Disney, however, it was not returning to work she was afraid of, but getting on a plane.

In fact, she was so scared of flying that she and her fiance ended up stranded for a month in Tunisia - and had to fork out an estimated £5 000 to get home.

The 32-year-old was whisked away on the week-long package holiday by her partner, who proposed during the trip.

Right from the beginning, the romantic getaway did not go smoothly.

Disney, who has always been a nervous flyer, was prescribed medication to get her on the plane from Gatwick airport - only to suffer a panic attack in mid-air.

They made it to the all-inclusive Scheherazade Hotel in Sousse. But as they prepared to fly home, Disney was gripped by fear and refused to leave for the airport.

After flying her mother out to calm her down, she eventually agreed to get on a ferry to France before taking the Eurostar to England. She and fiance Chris Young arrived at their home in Ramsgate, Kent, more than a month after flying to Tunisia. Disney said: “It ruined what should have been an incredible holiday. Chris proposed and we were really celebrating.

“This was just a blight on the whole thing. We missed out on work for a month and we were draining our bank balances. It was absolutely awful.”

The dog groomer said she had never suffered a panic attack before taking the outbound flight on July 16. It escalated, leaving her hyperventilating and being sick throughout the two-and-a-half hour journey. After making it to the hotel, she was given tablets by a Tunisian doctor, but lost her nerve again on July 23 as they prepared to leave.

She said: “I completely freaked out. I wasn’t breathing very well and I kept passing out. When we told the holiday reps, they read us a disclaimer saying if we didn’t get on the coach to the airport then we were no longer their responsibility.”

The couple returned to the hotel but had to pay £104 a night for their room - far more than during their package break, which cost a total of £1 600. They searched for another way home and found a ferry crossing a week later from Tunis to France. But moments before boarding, Disney had another panic attack and refused the £160 trip.

Her mother Deborah Savannah, 56, who also suffers from panic attacks, was flown out to calm her down. On August 15, Disney was finally coaxed on to the ferry. It took them to Marseille, where they boarded a £250 train to Paris before taking the Eurostar to Ashford, Kent.

Disney said: “In total we must have spent an extra £5 000. The only saving grace was the hotel staff. They were fantastic.” - Daily Mail

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