Joe Winter and Hayley Vickery found themselves in Poznań, Poland when they were led onto a Wizz Air flight from Luton Airport they believed was headed for Ljubljana, Slovenia
Image: Hayley Vickery)
An 89-year-old woman in a wheelchair only discovered she’d been flown to the wrong country when she tried to get through passport control.
Joe Winter checked in at Luton Airport on April 9, excited to fly out to Ljubljana for the wedding of grandson Aaron in Lake Bled.
As Jo and her daughter Hayley Vickery, 58, were led to the Wizz Air plane they chatted with a member of staff about the Slovenian capital, before showing an air steward their boarding passes once they’d settled in.
It was only once they had touched down and made their way to passport control that a bemused boarder force guard told them that they were in Poznań, Poland – 680 miles away from Ljubljana.
The other half of their party, who were on the right plane, learned mid-flight that Joe and Hayley weren’t sitting in the designated access disability zone.
With no phone charger or medication for her mum, Hayley spent a frantic 24 hours and hundreds of pounds working out how to get to Slovenia in time for her son’s wedding two days later.
“It was all stress,” Hayley told the Mirror once back at home in Swansea.
“We were away for a week in total and Wizz Air still haven’t been in touch.
“My mother was terrible. She didn’t have her medication and was without it from the Saturday to the Tuesday.
“Everybody was besides themselves.”
Joe and Hayley’s journey began on April 8, when they traveled to Luton to stay in a hotel.
After arriving at the airport mum and daughter were separated from their group and taken to gate 20, in anticipation of them sitting in an accessible part of the plane.
All went smoothly until they touched down.
“We showed our passports at the gate and they asked if we had been to Poland before,” Hayley explained.
“I said ‘yes why?’ It was because we were in Poznań.”
When the rest of the party discovered Joe and Hayley were missing, they were told it would be impossible to send a message to them and that no one could be sent to meet them at the other end – as it was unclear where they were.
For three and a half hours the desperate duo sat in the airport trying to work out what to do, with no offers of help or refreshment coming from members of staff.
Eventually, after many attempts to ring Wizz Air’s premium rate phone number, they were told to either book a hotel in Poland or fly back to Luton – the latter option meaning they’d likely miss Aaron’s wedding.
Instead they decided to stay the night in Poznań before jumping in a £270 taxi to Warsaw, where they boarded a flight to Ljubljana which had cost them close to £700.
There they were reunited with their luggage including wedding outfits, which had been taken off the Wizz Air flight in Luton.
Hayley said: “We have had no contact with Wizz Air at all.
“In a really volatile Europe we were boarded onto a plane to Poland and no one knew where we were. We were close to the border with Ukraine.
“I would like Wizz Air to apologize and explain what happened, and a full refund.”
The Mirror has contacted Wizz Air for comment.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.