Brits stranded in Helsinki sleep at airport after Ryanair flight canceled last minute


Dozens of passengers were left to sleep at Helsinki Airport after a Ryanair flight was canceled at the last minute on Friday and no-one could get hold of the airline

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Brit holidaymakers forced to sleep at Helsinki Airport after RyanAir cancellation

British holidaymakers were stranded in Helsinki after their flight was axed at the last minute, with some left sleeping at the airport.

Ryanair has been accused of ‘gaslighting’ passengers, with airport staff allegedly not even able to get through to the airline following the cancellation on Friday night.

Paul Twentyman, 46, was traveling with his wife Louise Clark, 45, and their two children, Imogen, 11, and Isaac, eight, and said: “It was a survival of the fittest, Lord of the Flies situation.

“Go sort yourselves out, we won’t do anything.”

Flight FR 9353 to London Stansted was due to fly direct from the Finnish capital at 9.25pm, but after being informed it was delayed twice, at close to midnight passengers were told it was off.

Paul, from Market Harborough, Leicestershire, said the assumption was the cancellation was due to Storm Eunice, which was rampaging through Britain.

Paul Twentyman with his wife Louise Clark and children Imogen and Isaac
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Paul Twentyman)

But this was never confirmed by Ryanair on the day – and no-one could get hold of anyone from the airline until Saturday.

It is understood it was using drop-in agency staff for flights from Helsinki Airport.

Fellow passenger Lucy Miles, from Haringey, North London, said it was left to a rep from Finnair in departures to hand out a sheet detailing customers’ rights following a cancellation.

Jake Loft and Lucy Miles had to pay for new tickets home on Saturday
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Lucy Miles)

The 23-year-old and her partner Jake Loft, 25, were among dozens who eventually opted to sleep on sofas in the departure lounge.

She said she was initially under the impression everyone would be offered a hotel room but things became confused as Ryanair “wasn’t present” and it didn’t appear there was enough accommodation.

“We were then told you can come back in the morning to sort it out once Ryanair phone lines were open, so half of the people stayed in the airport overnight, slept there and the other half got a hotel,” she explained.

Lucy preparing to sleep at Helsinki Airport
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Lucy Miles)

Lucy and Jake remained at Helsinki Airport until their flight on Saturday
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Lucy Miles)

Paul and his family, meanwhile, were lucky enough to get a hotel room, after tracking down agency staff and being given a slip for a free hotel stay – eventually arriving at 3am.

But the following morning trying to get hold of Ryanair was “torturous”, he said, having waited in a two-hour queue of 100 people on its online chat portal.

“I just wanted some clarification, would they put us on a plane today or tomorrow, and if not shall we just go ahead and book another flight ourselves?”

Passengers were handed a list detailing their rights if flights are canceled last minute
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Lucy Miles)

Jake and Lucy flew home via a layover in Stockholm
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Lucy Miles)

He was eventually offered a direct flight on Thursday (February 24), but needed to be home sooner.

Paul is self-employed, Louise is a teacher and their children are back at school on Monday.

“My wife has epilepsy too and she brought enough tablets to see her comfortably through the five days we were away,” he explained.

“Going through to when they were suggesting she would have been without them for 48 hours.

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“On top of that, it’s not as if they were offering to put us up in a hotel for the next four days.”

In a chat conversation seen by the Mirror, the Ryanair spokesperson said all passengers had been told via message that the flight was canceled on Friday.

However, Paul said he didn’t receive anything and neither did any of the other passengers he knew of, including Lucy and Jake.

The Helsinki Vantaa airport
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AFP via Getty Images)

He said there has just been “no clarity” throughout the whole order, with the initial cancellation announcement supposedly only being read out in Finnish, with a local couple having to translate.

“Then the poor people on the desk couldn’t get anyone to pick up the phone. That’s not communicating what the situation is,” he continued.

“I don’t want to sound morbid but what happens if a plane falls out of the sky at nine o’clock at night? Is there nobody there to pick up the phone for Ryanair? It’s ridiculous.

“There’s a horrible parallel with our government, who are determined to give us no information at all and just gaslight us as much as they can, and that’s how I feel I’ve been treated by Ryanair.”

Paul was able to book a new flight to Gatwick for Sunday morning, which includes an eight-hour layover in Berlin, Germany, and cost £900 – though his car is parked at Stansted.

Lucy and Jake, meanwhile, paid for a new flight costing around £200 to fly back via Stockholm, in Sweden, on Saturday night.

Lucy said after contacting Ryanair yesterday morning, she was told the airline would only reimburse them for direct flights – contrary to what it says on its website – and the next one to Stansted isn’t until Wednesday.

The Mirror has contacted Ryanair for comment.

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www.mirror.co.uk

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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