Stranded mum forced to sleep in ‘freezing’ airport after easyJet cancelled flight home

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Mum-of-three Jodie McGeown, 34, from Belfast, was visiting Liverpool for a friend’s birthday, but her return flight was cancelled and she had to sleep in a ‘freezing’ check-in lounge

Mum-of-three Jodie McGeown, 34, said she and 155 others were stranded in
Mum-of-three Jodie McGeown, 34, said she and 155 others were stranded in “freezing” conditions after her flight from Liverpool Airport was cancelled

A mum-of-three claims she was stranded with 155 other “fuming” passengers and forced to sleep in “freezing” conditions due to a flight cancellation.

Jodie McGeown, 34, from Belfast, was in Liverpool over the weekend to celebrate a friend’s birthday.

When she first arrived at John Lennon Airport to fly home on Sunday, she said “everything was fine”.

But after several delays on the departure board, easyJet told passengers they were experiencing “technical difficulties”, Jodie said.

They were eventually allowed to board the plane, but after three hours sitting in their seats, the travellers were told the flight was being cancelled.

Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, Jodie said: “They moved us down to a different gate and then about 11.30pm they put us on the plane – 156 people on the plane.”

Once through security, the departure board kept pushing the flight back

After the three-hour wait, “everybody was fuming”, she said.

The mum-of-three claims the passengers were eventually told they would not be able to fly at 1.30am.

After speaking to a member of easyJet staff, she claims passengers were told there was nothing more the airline could do and they would have to wait in the check-in area as departures was closed.

Jodie said: “Everyone was exhausted at this stage, we haven’t eaten, we haven’t drank.”

Jodie said the 156 other passengers were “fuming”

Jodie said easyJet said the delays were due to “technical problems”

Jodie claims she asked if the passengers were going to be put up in a hotel, but claims she was told there were “no hotels left in Liverpool.”

The mum said she later received an email at 3.10am from easyJet, seen by the ECHO, explaining if passengers needed a hotel room then they would try and organise one.

EasyJet had also rearranged a flight for the stranded passengers at 6.40am on Monday.

Jodie claimed it was “freezing” in the check-in area of the airport and there were no shops open at the airport.

The 34-year-old said she asked for pillows and blankets due to it being so cold, however was told the airport did not have any.

The mum claims there was also one heater provided for 156 people and a spokesperson for John Lennon Airport confirmed there were problems with the heating.

She added metal chairs were provided, however these were uncomfortable due to the cold temperatures.

Jodie added: “It was so cold, why would they not have prepared for that?

“Why didn’t they let us know earlier because people might have gone back to the houses they came from in Liverpool, stayed there for the night. Why was it left so late?

“I have three young children and I missed the school run this morning.

“Everybody has had to take the day off work and the reason we booked that flight was so they could get home and go to work this morning.

“There was a physiotherapist there who had to cancel her clients and a teacher had a GCSE exam going on today.”

The passengers boarded for a new flight at 6.40am on Monday and Jodie said the experience made her “angry”.

She said: “I was literally in Liverpool for 24 hours for a friend’s birthday and I wish I had never bothered.

“I got there on Saturday and evening and was leaving Sunday evening, literally 24 hours and it wasn’t worth it.

“I have lost a whole night’s sleep and it has put me off ever flying again.”

An airport spokesperson told the Liverpool Echo: “We are aware of delays and cancellations to flights yesterday caused by problems that the handling agent experienced with multiple equipment failures when de-icing aircraft on behalf of airlines, which we are naturally disappointed about.

“This is being discussed with the handling agent to understand what happened and why, in order to reduce the likelihood of re-occurrence.

“Since some flights were cancelled, passengers will have been returned to the public areas of the terminal by the handling agent in order to return home or to leave and find accommodation until they had alternative flights arranged.

“Unfortunately the terminal also experienced heating problems yesterday which we apologise for and these are currently being worked on to rectify the problem.

“At that time of night, retailers will have already closed some time earlier and whilst vending machines should have been available for hot drinks and snacks, passengers rarely choose to spend the night here due to the limited seating and facilities during the night time.”

An easyJet spokesperson told the ECHO: “easyJet can confirm that flight EZY617 from Liverpool to Belfast yesterday November 28 was delayed overnight due to a shortage of de-icing trucks at Liverpool airport, which meant the aircraft was unable to be de-iced sufficiently to depart safely.

“While we did all possible to source some hotel accommodation, due to limited availability of hotel rooms in Liverpool we were unfortunately unable to provide hotel accommodation for all customers and those customers who were required to source their own accommodate were advised they would be reimbursed for any reasonable expenses, as well as for meals and refreshments.

“While this was outside of our control, we would like to apologise to passengers for the inconvenience experienced.

“The safety and well-being of our customers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority.”

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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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