easyJet cancellations force British tourists to take 24hour journey home – ‘Impossible’

Reasons why the UK could face a summer of travel misery

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Tricia travelled to Montenegro with her daughter Dani and sister Julie for a long-awaited holiday to celebrate her 60th birthday. Tricia, 60, said: “We hadn’t been on a plane for two years because of the pandemic and had really scrimped and saved for this trip.”

Tricia and Julie live a long way from each other in the UK so the trip was also one of their few chances to spend time together.

The three Britons first had to cope with a two and a half delay on their way out at Gatwick but said staff were pleasant and they were happy to be away.

It was the final day of a perfect holiday at a “beautiful hotel” when disaster struck for the three British tourists.

Dani, 27, said: “All week other people at the hotel had had flights cancelled but as they were all flying with Wizz Air, we thought we’d be okay on easyJet.

“We had a really early night on our last night because we needed to get up early in the morning.

“As soon as we woke up, we saw that easyJet had emailed us at 4am to cancel our flight at 1:30pm.”

Dani said the group weren’t that panicked at first but soon realised there wasn’t another easyJet flight available that week.

Tricia works in a school so couldn’t miss any time off work while Dani and Julie also had jobs to get back to.

Dani said: “We kept trying to book flights on other airlines but as it was about to complete, the site would crash and the flights would be gone.”

Eventually, the three women were able to book a Finnair flight from Dubrovnik in Croatia. However, they would first have to fly to Helsinki then back to London in a nightmare 24 hour saga at an extra cost of £500 each.

Dani said: “Originally our hotel owner was going to take us to the airport but he was opening a cigar bar in the evening and couldn’t drive us to our new flights.”

Only taxi drivers with international passports are able to drive across the border between Montenegro and Croatia and the group then faced a struggle to find a driver.

Luckily their hotel manager was able to secure a driver but the Britons had to pay £150 for the journey.

After flying from Dubrovnik to Helsinki, the group had to wait eight hours overnight at Helsinki airport for their second flight.

Dani said: “As it was summer in Finland, the sun was shining pretty much all night so it was impossible to sleep. We were exhausted.”

Although the group eventually made it back to the UK on Monday morning, they were then delayed by Tube strikes and Julie had to take an unpaid day of leave.

Dani told Express.co.uk: “I will definitely not be risking leaving from Gatwick while they don’t have their operations under control.

“I am put off easyJet because its options for other journeys home were not good enough, there should have been other priority flights to get people to the UK. However, Finnair was very smooth and welcoming.”

Rory Boland, editor of Which Travel? said on the cancellations: “Some holidaymakers have been notified on the day they were due to travel, which is totally unacceptable.

“We continue to hear concerning examples of the airline failing to fulfil its legal obligations to passengers and ignoring their rights.

“If a flight is cancelled within 14 days of departure, passengers could be entitled to compensation and should be offered the option of being rerouted using another carrier if necessary.

“We know this requirement is not always being met, so the government and Civil Aviation Authority must intervene where airlines are playing fast and loose with the rules.

“The cavalier approach some airlines are currently taking towards their customers is a reminder of why passenger rights must be strengthened.

“The Government should drop plans to slash compensation for delayed and cancelled domestic flights and give the CAA direct fining powers so it can properly hold airlines to account when they flout the law.”

easyJet has been contacted for comment. 

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