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French air traffic strike sees Northern Ireland families stranded in Europe

By Staff Reporter

Published 11/04/2015

Holiday hell: Chloe Monteith
Holiday hell: Chloe Monteith

A dream holiday turned into a nightmare when a family from Northern Ireland, including two senior citizens and an autistic child, were left stranded in southern France because of a strike by air traffic controllers.

The Monteith family, from Crumlin, Co Antrim, had to fork out almost £2,000 to get home after their easyJet flight from Nice was cancelled.

Mum Pauline told reporters she only heard about the cancellation by text from the airline.

"I think it is terrible that they can just send a simple text with no advice number to contact and no accountability," she said.

"When I got on to the Easyjet website, there were no flights available to Belfast from Nice for the next five days. It put a dampener on the holiday."

Pauline added that the whole experience had been very distressing for her autistic son and her daughter Chloe.

The family-of-five eventually got a train to London, but the tickets cost more than £1,000, and they also had to pay for a hotel for the night.

Easyjet said it was sorry for any problems. The airline added in a statement: "We apologise that Ms Monteith and her family were affected by this strike.

"EasyJet did everything possible to limit the inconvenience of this strike for passengers."

The French air traffic control strike hit several other Northern Ireland families, including a group of 50 parents and their children who were on holiday in Disneyland.

They were stranded in Paris on the return leg of their journey and faced long delays in getting home.

The Carroll family from Newtownabbey were stranded in Spain, as was Belfast woman Brenda Hughes, whose flight home from Alicante was cancelled, leaving her, her elderly mother and her teenage son fuming at the "horrendous" situation they found themselves in.

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