Belfast Telegraph

Belfast-bound easyJet passengers stranded at Spanish airport

By Mark Bain

Budget airline easyJet has issued an apology after almost 350 Northern Ireland passengers faced a series of delays on their flight to Belfast from Palma over the weekend.

The holidaymakers were due to fly home from the Majorcan airport on Saturday night but many of them - including young families and elderly people - ended up spending the night there, according to one of the passengers.

Further delays followed yesterday. Passenger Alison Burns from Londonderry said: "We were supposed to fly at 9.55pm on Saturday night, but when we were told that was delayed, there was only limited overnight accommodation provided.

"Many had to stay in the airport, including people with young families. When people were trying to get information staff ended up shouting to get them to move away. We couldn't find out any information.

"We were then supposed to leave at 3pm on Sunday but that was delayed for what we were told was a catering problem. All we wanted was an honest answer but at one stage police arrived. We felt intimidated into complying."

EasyJet blamed circumstances beyond its control.

"EasyJet can confirm that flight EZY6714 from Palma to Belfast was overnight delayed on June 16 due to air traffic control restrictions affecting flight legs earlier in the day, leading to some crew members getting out of hours," the company said.

"Passengers were provided with regular updates, refreshments and overnight accommodation and the flight was rescheduled for the next day.

"Due to a combination of poor weather and a French air traffic control strike affecting areas overflown by the aircraft, easyJet, as all airlines, is currently suffering from heavy ATC restrictions to all aircraft departing and arriving. The flight was due to depart on Sunday evening.

"The safety and well-being of our passengers and crew is easyJet's highest priority. We would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused. Passengers received vouchers during the delay while waiting in the airport for the situation to be sorted."

The flight finally arrived home at 7.30pm yesterday evening but many took to Facebook to register their anger.

Tylar Murphy wrote that "it has been almost 12 hours since we arrived at the airport and we are still here. No buses or transport has been organised, staff members are ignoring us when we ask questions.

"There are numerous families travelling on this flight. There are currently children and adults lying on the airport floor, tired, hungry and frustrated and all staff can offer us is a €4.50 voucher to use in the one shop that is open to us at this hour! Absolutely horrendous experience."

Lou Lavery from Lurgan added: "Delays and cancellations we can handle as sometimes this is out of airline's control, but how families with small children and the rest of the passengers have been treated here in Palma has been an absolute disgrace!"

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