A family-of-five claim their Wizz Air flight from Catania to Gatwick left without them, despite the departure gate never coming up on terminal screens in the airport
Image: James Barrow)
A family-of-five has been left stranded in Italy after a Wizz Air ‘ghost flight’ left without them.
The dad of the family, who did not want to be named, has vowed to never fly with the airline again after an alleged series of blunders.
The father-of-three said Wizz Air delayed their flight home from Catania-Fontanarossa Airport to Gatwick several times, before finally canceling it at 1am on April 18.
When they went back for their rescheduled flight the next day, the departure gate never came up on the terminal screens and there were no calls for their flight, he claims.
Around an hour later, the family discovered the ‘ghost flight’ had left without them, forcing them to wait days for the next available plane.
Explaining how they missed their ‘ghost flight’ home, the dad told The Mirror: “We arrived at the airport in good time and checked-in our suitcase.
“Things felt wrong when we struggled to pass through airport security with our old boarding passes. But we talked our way through.
“A departure gate for our flight never appeared on the terminal screens. And there was no announcement about the flight. No passenger calls.
“We met other confused passengers and the local police said I’d have to go back out through security to speak to Wizz Air at check-in.
“Nobody was there and we feared further delay. But the reality was far worse.
“At 5pm it became apparent the ‘flight’ had left. I say flight, as it was like a ghost flight that never existed.”
The dad, from Sevenoaks, Kent, said he spoke to other stressed passengers who had also missed the Wizz Air flight.
He added: “I asked the Wizz Air check-in desk, ticket office and baggage claims desk how many other people missed but they wouldn’t say.
“We were hours early, trying to find information and wanting to get home. We know how an airport works.”
The family’s problems started when they first arrived at Gatwick Airport for an Easter weekend break to Catania, Sicily, on April 15.
Him and his wife were taking their children, aged two, five and nine, on their first family holiday in three years.
The dad told The Mirror that their boarding passes said they were departing from the airport’s south terminal.
But when they arrived staff told them they were actually flying from the north terminal.
Fortunately the family reached the terminal with plenty of time to spare and they made their flight in good time.
However, they then encountered issues with their return flight from Catania.
The father said: “We were due to fly back on April 18 at 2.50pm. Wizz Air then informed us our flight would be delayed until 9.50pm that evening.
“Then we received five further updates informing us of further delays.
“We made the decision to leave for the airport at 11pm on this basis the latest update said we’d be flying at 1.32am.
“At 11.30pm the airport was dead, other than confused and frustrated Wizz Air passengers.
“We were told by a Wizz Air representative that the flight was not yet canceled and if it was the airline would provide transport and accommodation.
“At around 1am it became apparent the flight had been cancelled. The Wizz Air representative was nowhere to be seen.”
The family ended up booking their own hotel and a taxi to the accommodation.
They were forced to stay another two nights in Catania after missing their flight on April 19.
The dad said he would have left Italy on an earlier flight, however they were all fully booked.
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He is due to travel home with Wizz Air today (April 22), however he has vowed to never fly with the airline again.
He said: “The cost to us has been considerable. Not only extra accommodation for three nights and transfers but also the children missing school.
“And I recently started a new job and should have been at work this week.
“I desperately hope we’ll make it back today. And we’ll never fly with Wizz again.”
Wizz Air has been approached for comment.
George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.