Britons hit with travel nightmare

The fire in the Channel Tunnel has compounded the travel chaos faced by holidaymakers racing to find alternative routes following the collapse of the UK's third largest tour operator.

Tens of thousands of holidaymakers have been left stranded after the UK's third largest tour operator went into administration and grounded all flights.

The group, which had been taking holiday bookings until recently, said all its flights had been cancelled. It blames the collapse on rising fuel costs and the credit crunch.

XL customers face a race to get tickets on alternative transport if they plan to go ahead with their holidays. But routes through the Channel Tunnel in either direction are off limits due to the blaze.

EasyJet has offered those passengers stranded at their destinations a special rescue fee of £75 to return to the UK. The offer is available to any XL passenger due to travel inbound to the UK during the next seven days.

The suspension of all rail services on the undersea route has also stranded passengers on both sides of the Channel.

Six people suffered minor injuries and dozens needed to be evacuated from the tunnel after the blaze, which started on a lorry on board a freight train travelling from Folkestone to Calais.

Copyright © PA Business 2008

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