“This will be the blackest weekend for the Balearics in a very long time, perhaps ever,” said the director of Thomson Holidays Balearics, Leslie Rawlings yesterday. Tour operators, large and small, and independent travellers tried to make alternative arrangements to ease the impact of the coach strike. Thomson, which alone has 14'000 British tourists travelling to and from Majorca today, has been working on its Balearic coach strike contingency plans for weeks, as the problem is not only at Balearics' airports, but at main departure points in the United Kingdom and Germany also. Thomson and TUI have over 100 flights coming in this weekend with an average passenger load of 250. Rawlings said that their main concern is to make sure that their clients are as comfortable as possible. “The key issue we're waiting on is if there will be minimum services,” she said, “that's one of the three scenarios we've planned for.” “But there is only so much planning that can be done, the full impact and implications of the strike will not really be known until it has started. It's very difficult”. “No minimum services will mean chaos,” she said. “It's a black picture and the strike will cause serious damage to the Balearics and it will have a deep impact on customers, especially those who come to the islands regularly; they don't want to go through this.” “This weekend is going to be very busy with people leaving the UK and the strike will cause enormous disruptions. “We've been talking to the airport and we will all be doing our best to ensure a maximum level of efficiency.” One of the contingency plans drawn up by one of the other main UK tour operators was to take clients to the airport before the midnight deadline. However, many spoke of their disgust and unhappiness about the prospect of spending all night at the airport. One mother of two, who has a son with a broken arm said “we're looking at a 17 hour wait, it's going to be dreadful and our tour operators say that we're not entitled to any form of compensation.”

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