Stranded tourists line up in front of the Thomas Cook counter at the Cancun airport in Mexico. Picture: AP

London - Thomas Cook cabin crew were told to pay for hotels and flights home out of their own pockets after they were left stranded at airports in the US.

Nine flight attendants, two captains and a first officer were evicted from the Sahara Hotel in Las Vegas on Monday evening and left to find their own way home.

The captain’s company credit cards were cut off with immediate effect, meaning the crew had to pay for food, drink and spare clothes. They would have had to pay around £64 (about R1 200) each to stay in a budget hotel for a night but a local Virgin Atlantic supervisor stepped in and picked up the bill.

They made their way to the airport on Tuesday but claim they were told by British Airways that they would have to pay £8 000 each for tickets on their next flight back to London. On Tuesday night BA agreed to fly the Las Vegas crew back to London. Most of the cabin crew arrived in the US with nothing more than their uniforms, a change of clothes and some bare essentials.

Many are single mothers who were banking on being back in time to look after their children.

Former cabin crew worker, Jenna Kenny, 31, said: "Thomas Cook have been utterly despicable, heartless and selfish. While their bigwigs are pocketing millions, thousands of us will not get paid any wage at all on Monday.

"I have worked for the airline from the age of 18 and the loss is like nothing I’ve experienced before – it is truly like a bereavement."

Daily Mail