By Melissa Tan, newsroom intern
THEY holiday in Phuket three times a year. But one Singaporean family has vowed that their last trip there would be their final one.
Mrs Chan Siew Yong and her family are so fed up over delays resulting from Thai protests against the government that they will now look elsewhere for family fun.
When she heard on Friday afternoon that the Phuket airport would be closed, her first thought was: 'Why am I so unlucky?'
Mrs Chan was on holiday with her husband, Mr Chan Hock Seng, and their 14-year-old daughter. The couple, in their 30s, run their own business in Singapore.
The Chans had reached Phuket on Friday morning and were supposed to leave on Sunday morning.
On Sunday, they went to the airport to try and secure seats on today's flights back because they thought yesterday's flights would be too crowded.
They were told to go to the airport early this morning to wait.
They are among more than 40 Singaporean tourists who were still stuck in Phuket yesterday after the airport was closed on Friday afternoon due to protesters occupying the runway.
The airport reopened on Sunday.
'Luckily, it's the school holidays,' Mrs Chan said, 'or else my daughter would have missed school.'
They have spent at least $1,000 more than they intended to on this trip, said Mr Chan.
'Our holiday mood was ruined from Day1,' Mrs Chan said.
Another stranded tourist, Ms Hamailan Ha, 28, a student, was also put off by the incident. She said she and her friends, all engineers, would not visit Thailand again.
They are all from Vietnam and hold Singapore permanent resident status.
Some tourists have confirmed with the airlines that they can return home by today.
But both Ms Ha and the Chans were still on Tiger Airways' waiting list yesterday.
'They just keep telling me, 'Tomorrow, tomorrow'!' Mrs Chan said.
The other airlines that fly from Phuket are SilkAir and Air Asia. Both Air Asia and Tiger Airways have not arranged for any extra flights.
SilkAir sent three extra flights on Sunday night to clear the backlog of travellers.
The airline sends about three to four flights there a day, said its passenger marketing manager, Mr Tan Wei Ming.
Mr Tan said that SilkAir also sent an extra flight yesterday and expected to have everyone back by last night.
Travel agent Hana Tony Limpitaka, who is based in Thailand, told The New Paper that Air Asia too had flown most of its passengers back.
'There are four passengers travelling with Air Asia left at my agency and they've already confirmed that they can fly back on Tuesday,' Mr Limpitaka said.
Head of communications for Tiger Airways Matt Hobbs said that although the airline was not planning any extra flights, it expects all its passengers to be back safely by this evening.
Mr Hobbs said the airline had contacted each passenger to make arrangements.
But both Ms Ha and the Chans said they had not been contacted with any concrete plans. Tiger Airways did not reply by press time about the issue.
'They told us that we would be No1 on the waiting list for Tuesday's flight,' Mr Chan told The New Paper yesterday.
'But it's still just a waiting list. So we have to go to the airport at 6am to wait and see.'
Ms Ha's friends have had to miss work because of the delay.
They are also running out of cash.
'We have 2,000 ($83) to 3,000 baht left,' Ms Ha said, 'and have been trying to use our credit cards.
'Since there are four of us, it will probably last us one to two days. So I hope we can get home before then.'
This article was first published in The New Paper on September 02, 2008.