We fly to rescue as easyJet gives couple refund for airport nightmare
Being stuck at an airport overnight isn't exactly a pleasant experience. But if you're an elderly couple – like 80-year-old Kenneth and Nora Jones (77) – it comes close being to your worst nightmare.
They were supposed to be flying from Malaga to Belfast International Airport on an easyJet flight at 1.05pm on June 12.
However, at 1.30pm the flight was cancelled due to a strike by French air traffic controllers and Mr and Mrs Jones were told to wait.
Mr Jones, a retired civil servant, said his wife, who wasn't feeling well, was becoming increasingly distressed.
"Around 9pm I asked a member of staff if it would be possible for us to have accommodation for the night, but we were told we had to stay in the airport," the Strabane man said.
"That meant we had to sit on hard, plastic seats, so we couldn't sleep, and we weren't given any food. It was awful.
"Then, at 6.30am the next day (June 13), there was an announcement telling us to go and wait for an 8am flight to Belfast – but in the end they put us on a flight three-and-a-half hours later, at 10am.
"We finally arrived home at 3pm, both of us were feeling very ill and upset."
Mr Jones claimed he had sent several complaints about the matter to easyJet by email to no avail, so the Belfast Telegraph contacted the airline on his behalf.
A spokeswoman said easyJet had apologised to the couple and issued a refund of £400 "as a gesture of goodwill".
"Strikes over French air space caused significant disruption to airlines across Europe in June and a large number of easyJet flights were cancelled as a result, including Mr and Mrs Jones' flight to Belfast," she said.
"We have apologised to the couple for the delay in handling their case and the difficulties experienced at Malaga Airport.
"As a gesture of goodwill we have provided a refund of £400 and are investigating the incident to improve our processes in the future. Although the strike action was beyond easyJet's control, we made every effort to minimise the disruption caused to our passengers."
Mr Jones said he was relieved their holiday nightmare was over, adding: "I don't think we would have been acknowledged by easyJet if the Belfast Telegraph hadn't stepped in."