Family claim they were forced to pay $5,000 after being locked out of hotel in holiday 'nightmare'

Three days into their trip in Egypt, Natasha and Courtney claim they were locked out of their hotel room.

Left, Natasha Oakden poses for selfie. Right, Natasha Oakden with her fiancé Courtney Bogacki, who is holding her newborn baby sister.
Natasha Oakden travelled Egypt on Sunday with her fiancé Courtney Bogacki and other relatives, but claims the holiday quickly turned into a 'nightmare'. Source: Jam Press

A family-of-five say their dream holiday quickly became a nightmare this week after they were allegedly locked out of their hotel room and forced to pay $5,100 to salvage their trip. Natasha Oakden travelled from the UK to Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, on Sunday with her fiancé Courtney Bogacki, Courtney’s parents, Emma and Sam Lewis, and their four-week-old baby Ava.

Natasha, 24, said she booked the £5,724 (A$11,000) holiday with Loveholidays, but the day after they boarded the flight, its parent company FTI Group — Europe’s third-largest tour operator — filed for insolvency. It was then the family say their trip was thrown into chaos.

When Natasha and Courtney tried to enter their hotel room three days into their stay, they claim their room cards did not work. A note was attached to the door advising the couple to contact the hotel desk immediately.

Thankfully, Ava’s mother Emma had taken her baby up to the other room 10 minutes earlier to feed her, meaning the family had access to one of their two rooms. Natasha and her fiancé stayed with the newborn while Emma and Sam reportedly marched down to reception to see what was going on.

Courtney with her parents, Emma and Sam, holding baby Ava.
The family-of-five, including Courtney’s parents, Emma and Sam Lewis, and their four-week-old baby Ava, claim they had to pay an extra $5,000 or face being kicked out of their hotel. Source: Jam Press

The family claim hotel staff told them because of FTI Group’s insolvency, the holiday was not paid for and they would need to re-pay the hotel fees — A$5,100 — or they’d be kicked out.

“We as a family feel drained and are so disappointed with how the company has gone about the situation,” Natasha told Luxury Travel Daily. “We are so let down and feel on edge constantly. It’s been a very upsetting and difficult situation for us. We would not wish this on anyone, it's truly heartbreaking.”

She said the family were “distraught throughout this whole process”.

“The anxiety this caused the whole family is indescribable,” Natasha continued. “We immediately felt sick and it was like we were living some kind of nightmare.

“We rang friends in the UK to check out if the company has actually gone insolvent to ensure we weren't being scammed. This was our first holiday away with Ava, we wanted everything to be perfect and it felt like a nightmare.”

Natasha said she had been contacted by Loveholidays on Instagram. The message reads: “Our dedicated team will shortly contact the hotel on your behalf to make the payment and further arrangements.

“They’re working through the bookings they have as quickly as possible so please bear with them. Don’t worry we’ll get this sorted as quickly as we can.”

The UK travel agent issued a statement on Wednesday confirming a “small number” of customers’ arrangements may be affected. Loveholidays and FTI Group have been approached for comment.

Jam Press

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