Family with baby in 20 hour horror journey after Wizz Air dumps them in Doncaster

Hilla Lousky, 42, her husband, daughter Zohar, 10, and baby son Yahel were some of the passengers whose trip to the UK from Tel Aviv, Israel was disrupted by a sudden diversion

Yahel and his sister on board the Wizz Air flight

A family forked out hundreds of pounds for a mammoth taxi ride after being suddenly diverted to an airport 200 miles away in the middle of the night.

Passengers aboard the Wizz Air flight from Tel Aviv to London Gatwick were dismayed to learn they were being rerouted to Yorkshire’s Doncaster Sheffield airport 45 minutes before touchdown.

They emerged from the plane in the early hours of Monday morning.

The airport terminal was completely closed beyond a handful of staff seemingly drafted in to deal with the dead-of-night arrival – and the taxi rank was empty, leaving confused passengers to work out how to get to the South.

In their number was Hilla Lousky, 42, her husband, daughter Zohar, 10, and baby son Yahel, who ended up waiting more than two hours to get into a cab.

The Wizz Air flight was already delayed by three hours



Young Yahel, hungry and tired, wept as the five and a half hour flight stretched into a journey lasting closer to a day.

His family eventually made it home to Hampstead late on Monday morning, having made a £500 payment for a taxi they’re unsure if they’ll get refunded.

“Yahel was crying and was extremely tired,” Hilla told The Mirror.

“I prepared some food before the flight, snacks and milk, but when babies are too tired, they can’t really eat properly.

“By the time we got back to our house we were all very stressed. This is my first and last time flying with Wizz Air.”

Passengers aboard the flight, which had its take-off delayed by three hours, were told they would be heading to Luton rather than Gatwick just before take-off.

While this caused a certain amount of muttering, the anger was nothing compared to that sparked by the announcement five hours into the flight that they were all actually heading to Yorkshire.

Liran Morav, 35, witnessed several customers losing their cool.

“Several people got up and approached air hostesses,” the PHD student said.

“A few were visibly pissed off. One man was very agitated. He was gesticulating very severely, saying ‘you can’t do this to me, you should have canceled the flight instead, you’re saving this money off of our backs,’ shame on you. How will I get my kids to London?'”

The stewards told passengers that there would be a coach waiting for them when they touched down, Liran said.

A little toddler boarded the flight



Doncaster Sheffield airport was closed buy for a few staff



When he walked off the plane he overheard a crew member explaining that the pilot wasn’t going to come out of the cabin until all the customers had got off.

“It was clear the airport was closed and it smelt like cow manure,” Liran continued,

“Everything in the airport was closed. The air cabin crew, two pilots and the hostesses, were sat huddle together in the terminal lobby 15m further in.

“They then disappeared off the scene. No one from Wizz Air gave us information, but the people at the airport did.”

Staff explained that there was no coach, leaving stranded passengers to try and find a hotel, take the first train from Doncaster station at 5am, or get in a taxi.

Liran added: “(A member of staff) said you will be reimbursed, but she wouldn’t give it to us in writing.”

The majority of people opted for the cab option, only to head to the taxi rank to find it empty.

As they waited for South Yorkshire’s cabbies to be raised from their slumber, a rowdy queue formed.

“We all had to form a queue and wait for one taxi every 20 or so minutes to come and pick up six passengers at a time,” Liran said.

“There were tensions among people in the queue. Some people were shouting ‘don’t jump the queue’ as people ran to the taxis from the back.

“Not all taxis were willing to drive to London. All in all my partner and I waited almost two hours until we boarded a taxi.

“We all went to Gatwick airport, which in our case presented a further hazard: We had left our car parked there, which meant that following a sleepless flight and a further 4 hour taxi ride (also sleepless) we reached our car having spent 14 hours on the road with barely any sleep.

“My partner was forced to drive us both home from Gatwick to central London in that condition.”

Hilla’s family, who had been told to arrive at Ben Gurion airport four hours early only for the flight to be three hours late, said the grueling journey left her “miserable”.

“People lost their patience,” the animal vet said of the trip, which cost her £400 per head for the flight alone.

“People had to cancel hotels, cancel plans the day after. Not all the travelers were local.”

Liran Morav was caught up in the travel misery


Lyran Morav)

Hilla said that several passengers, who were speaking on a WhatsApp group, were now considering taking legal action.

A spokesperson for Wizz Air said: “Wizz Air sincerely apologizes for the inconvenience and disruption that was caused by the rerouting of its flight W9 5752 from Tel Aviv to London Gatwick on Easter Monday 18 th April.

“Due to Air Traffic Control staff shortages and absences at London Gatwick, it was unfortunately not possible for the flight to land at the airport as planned.

“As Doncaster Sheffield was the only airport which was able to help at such short notice, the flight was redirected to the airport. We did all we could do to help our customers get back to Gatwick however the UK Easter holidays – and lack of available bus and train transfers – made this extremely difficult to manage.

“As a result, Wizz Air has now been in touch with all those affected passengers to apologize directly and accept claims for transportation to be reimbursed.”

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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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