Leukaemia boy’s Eurodisney treat becomes a chaotic £1,000 nightmare
Published 21/12/2009 | 05:04
An east Belfast father has told how he was forced to fork out more than a thousand pounds to get his eight-year-old son home for a vital leukaemia appointment after a treat holiday to Eurodisney turned into a travel nightmare.
The journey home ended up lasting three days and hours of negotiations with staff.
Sydney Harvey from Gilnahirk said at one stage he feared his family might have to spend Christmas in Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris.
Mr Harvey took his wife Wendy and three children, including little Ryan to Eurodisney last Monday. They were due to return to Belfast International Airport on Thursday, but their journey home turned into three days waiting around airports.
He described how the fury felt by passengers at the Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris got to the stage where the French authorities had to bring in the police and army for crowd control.
“First of all we were told there was ice on the runway, then we saw flights coming in and going out so they said there was ice on the wings, then no crew to fly the planes. It went on like that — there was never any proper explanation or information for the delays.
People were getting hysterical, shouting at those behind the desks. They had to bring the police and army in to stop it getting dangerous,” he said.
“At one stage I thought this is it, we are going to be stuck here over Christmas. I had to do something to get Ryan home so I just asked for the next flight to anywhere in the UK.”
Mr Harvey ended up taking his family on the next available flight out of Paris which was to Bristol on Friday night.
“It was a late night flight, then when we got to Bristol, there were no Easyjet flights to Belfast so they told us to book a flight to Belfast online,” he said.
“How could we do that standing in the middle of an airport.
“I had to ring my brother in Jordanstown at midnight and ask him to book us a flight.
“The only ones we could get were to Belfast City Aiport while my car was at Belfast International Airport.
“It cost £850 so I thought I’d better check with Easyjet to make sure they would cover it, they said yes, but by the time I had got through and got an answer it had gone up to £1,150. I just hope they will cover it.
“The kids were crying, they had had no sleep, we were all exhausted standing in queues for hours and then Ryan had a hospital appointment for special medical on Saturday. It was absolute chaos.
“Easyjet were so unhelpful, they just did not seem to care. When you called it was mostly automated voice messages, it was an absolute disgrace,” he said.
However Easyjet have said it is experiencing problems with the French aviation authorities and confirmed they will reimburse the cost of the flight from Bristol to Belfast.
“We sincerely apologise to passengers who have been affected by this weather disruption, and have been doing everything we can to minimise the delays and cancellations,” a spokesman said.
“The disruption has been further exacerbated by the French Aviation Authorities who imposed flight restrictions upon us at Paris Charles De Gaulle this weekend, therefore we have experienced more delays and cancellations from Paris than we would have hoped for.”