Holidaymakers Take Legal Action After Daughter’s 21st Birthday Ruined By Turkish Holiday Hell

Family Suffer Illness On Holiday

20.11.2009

A family who claim they were amongst dozens who suffered illness on holiday at a 5-star hotel in Turkey are to take legal action against UK tour operator, Thomas Cook.

Jeffrey Cook (52), his wife Jacqueline (56), daughter Leanne Barnes (21) and one year old son, Alfie Barnes all suffered serious gastric illness whilst staying at the all inclusive Didim Beach Resort in Altinkum, Turkey in October this year.

The two week holiday should have been a special getaway to celebrate Leanne’s 21st birthday but the family say poor hygiene and lack of health and safety standards made their stay “a nightmare from start to finish”, and have now approached travel law experts, Irwin Mitchell, to take legal action on their behalf.

Mr Cook, from Glascote in Tamworth, said: “Three days after arriving we all became ill. We weren’t the only ones. I saw an elderly couple who were so poorly they had to be put on saline drips. We saw ambulances arriving to take holidaymakers to hospital. It was dreadful. I would estimate around 50% of those staying at the hotel became ill.

“I believe the food at this hotel was to blame as we’ve stayed in this area of Turkey before and never experienced any problems. Last time we stayed in a 3 star hotel and although the facilities were basic we had no problems whatsoever with illness. As we wanted somewhere really nice this year to celebrate Leanne’s 21st birthday, we saved long and hard to afford something that would be really memorable – that was certainly the case but for all the wrong reasons!”

During their stay the family reported that they often saw flies and other insects on the food, they were served undercooked meat including chicken several times, and they felt that food was not kept at the correct temperature.  They even thought that leftover food was being re-served at later meals.

Jacqueline Cook said: “Both my husband and I have worked in the catering industry so we know about food hygiene.  We never once saw kitchen staff using thermometer probes to check the temperature of food.

“This was an all inclusive hotel so we had already paid for our meals but in our view the food they served was virtually inedible.  To make matters worse, the hotel staff had a really strict policy on bringing food or drink into the hotel so we couldn’t bring in safe food from local shops – they even stopped us bringing in bottled baby food for little Alfie.”

James Hendley, a travel litigation lawyer with national law firm, Irwin Mitchell, is investigating the family’s claim for holiday illness compensation.  He said: “We frequently hear from people who have become severely ill whilst staying at resorts which are supposedly ‘family-friendly’ destinations and I am sorry to say that the Cooks’ experience is not an isolated one and we expect to be instructed to pursue claims by a large number of other guests at this hotel .

“Tour operators have a responsibility to ensure their clients are staying in a safe environment and that the brochures give an accurate picture of the holiday they are spending their hard earned money on. We hope that Thomas Cook will now work with us to provide swift and fair compensation for our clients.”