2 flights to repatriate German tourists in Cambodia that left from Phnom Penh yesterday have been described as “half empty” – with stranded UK tourists expressing anger that they were not informed of the flights – and the chance to get back home – by the UK Embassy.
It has been reported that the German flight had a capacity of 350 people, but many seats – including the entire Premium Economy section – were empty.
Here’s a video from a passenger on the second German repatriation flight that flew yesterday… It was open to other nationalities but we were not informed of it’s existence.
I’ve been told this flight could take about 350 pax but only half the seats were filled. There was reportedly nobody in premium economy.
Posted by Beth Palmer on Sunday, March 29, 2020
Members of the Facebook group “Stranded in Cambodia” UK have already organised one private charter flight from Phnom Penh to the UK and have expressed concern over a seeming lack of action from the UK Government and Embassy, in the face of other western countries such as France and Germany, who have organised multiple flights from Cambodia to repatriate their own citizens.
British tourists in Cambodia have complained of confusing and contradictory advice given by the Embassy – with travel advice being given for flights that no longer exist or cost many thousands of dollars.
The Embassy finally made contact with the group on Sunday, but many stranded UK tourists are questioning why assistance has come so late. Complaints of slow or nonexistent communication have also been raised – with one member of the group saying that communication with the Embassy is at proceeding at a “snail’s pace”.
This comes against a background of tourists facing dwindling funds as well as health and accommodation issues, with additional concerns over travel restrictions and a potential lockdown in Cambodia.
Yesterday, UK housing secretary, Robert Jenrick said “We haven’t ruled out repatriation flights and we are doing those in some cases. There is a flight ongoing at the moment, for example to Peru, to bring back a group of British citizens who have been in a difficult situation there.”
In the meantime, members of the Facebook group are now attempting to organise a second private charter flight and currently have over 200 names on their waiting list.