Hundreds of passengers, including babies, whose Ryanair flight from Lanzarote was delayed by more than 20 hours, were forced to sleep on concrete floors and conveyor belts at the Spanish island’s airport.
One couple even claim they have been left “traumatised” by the whole debacle after their return trip to Bristol was first delayed and then cancelled due to bad weather. And due to local accommodation all being booked up, travellers had no choice but to bed down for the night at the airport, with no water, food or blankets, as they waited for a plane to take them home, reports Bristol Live.
Sam Johns, 31, and his partner Danielle Downing, 30, flew from Bristol to Lanzarote on Thursday 9 March and were due to return three days later. But due to delays and cancellations, they eventually arrived home just before 7pm on Monday 13 March after suffering an agonising night’s sleep in the process.
Young children and elderly people were among those who had to sleep on concrete floors and conveyor belts, according to the couple.
Sam, a website and marketing manager, said: “I took my partner out there for a birthday surprise and getting there was not a problem. It had all gone fine until we arrived at Lanzarote airport last Sunday about 3pm.
“Our flight was due to take off at 6.20pm. As we were waiting the boards said all flights were delayed.
“There was a lack of communication from Ryanair staff who said they were waiting to hear updates, but didn’t tell us why the flight was delayed. At first, the flight was delayed for one hour and then a boarding gate announcement came up – but when we got there it had changed from Bristol to Bournemouth.
“We were sent on a wild goose chase across the airport and it was getting later and later. At around 11.30pm it was officially confirmed our fight had been cancelled until the next day at 12.30pm due to bad weather.
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“At midnight we were given back our luggage and promised accommodation and transfers by Ryanair, but they never came. When we got to the area of the airport we were told to meet, all the Ryanair staff had disappeared.
“By then, other airlines had already got passengers out of the airport to take them to hotels.
“As we had been deserted, many of us decided to take matters into our own hands and tried to ring around for accommodation, but everything had been fully booked. Hundreds of people were instead forced to sleep on the concrete floor or conveyor belts in the arrivals section.
“We had no water, blankets or anything, but a €4 voucher which was voided in certain places. My partner and I slept on the conveyor belt for the night but, as you can imagine, between us we only got an hour’s sleep.”
He said they witnessed things “you should never see”, such as babies sleeping on concrete floors and elderly couples well into their 70s sleeping in wheelchairs. He went on: “It was horrible.
“I have never experienced anything before like it in my life. It was pretty traumatic.
“We are trying to get compensation, but that is also proving to be an absolute nightmare. As we booked through a third party we are having to go through them – it would appear they have tried closing my case without even contacting me to explain.”
In a statement, a Ryanair spokesman told The Daily Mail: “A small number of flights to/from Lanzarote (March 12) were delayed overnight due to heavy fog at Lanzarote Airport. Affected passengers were notified and subsequently updated via email, SMS and PUSH notification.
“Passengers were offered overnight accommodation, however, as there was limited hotel availability in Lanzarote, some passengers remained at the airport and any passengers who arranged their own accommodation were advised that they can claim reimbursement on ryanair.com
“To minimise disruption to passengers, Ryanair arranged for rescue flights for the following morning (March 13) when the fog cleared. We sincerely apologise to affected passengers for any inconvenience caused as a result of these weather-related delays, which were entirely beyond our control.”
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