Disabled man sues easyJet after60-hour delay in returning to Belfast
A disabled man from Belfast has started legal action against easyJet after enduring a “nightmare 60 hour ordeal” trying to fly home from Bristol.
John McMaster (37) had been due to fly back from England on Sunday, February 18, after a weekend visit to a friend.
But on the morning of his flight he was informed by the budget airline that it would be delayed due to bad weather — leaving him struggling to cope on his own for three days.
“I was told to just go to the airport as normal,” John said.
“Once the weather cleared up and flights began arriving into and departing from Bristol, I was then told that the Belfast flight was cancelled. EasyJet informed me the next available flight to get home would be on the Wednesday morning.”
John, who suffers from ankylosing spondylitis, a form of arthritis, said: “I started to panic as I was going to run out of medication and I had little money available to me. I had packed enough medication for the weekend but didn’t expect my trip to last an extra three days.
“EasyJet did put me up in a hotel for the first night and provided a meal, but I had to make a number of calls to the airline on the Monday asking them to find a hotel for me to stay in for the remaining two nights as that hotel was booked up.
“My friend was going on holiday so I couldn’t stay there. I had no option other than navigating my way around an unfamiliar city from one hotel to another.
“Combined with the stress of not getting home for three nights and taking frantic calls from family at home, it all caused me a great deal of pain and impacted on my disability.
John, who is unable to work due to his illness, said he was in pain as he carried his luggage around.
He said that “after failing to receive a promised communication from easyJet”, he finally got back in touch with the airline and was booked into another hotel at Bristol airport.
“The airport is a good distance outside the city and that meant I had to try to get back out there,” he said. “Given my condition it meant I was holed up in my hotel room with nowhere else to go, no money and in a lot of pain.
“I had checked the airline website and there were flights going out from England to Belfast earlier than Wednesday. They could have got me home much earlier, even with a different airline from a different airport, and saved me from a lot of pain and anxiety. I ended up missing an important medical appointment.”
Coby Benson, Flight Delay Legal manager at Bott and Co Solicitors who are assisting John’s case, said: “John didn’t have the money to purchase tickets for flights departing sooner, so easyJet should have made every effort to get him on one of the earlier flights.”
In a statement, EasyJet confirmed that “unfortunately, due to heavy snow in Bristol, Mr McMaster’s flight from Bristol to Belfast was unable to operate on March 18”.
It added: “EasyJet tried hard to minimise disruption to passengers. Mr McMaster transferred himself free of charge onto an EasyJet flight from Bristol to Belfast on 21 March which was the first available flight due to high demand as a result of the weather related cancellations.”
EasyJet said it also provided hotel accommodation and meals until Mr McMaster’s departure.
“However we do understand the situation was very difficult for Mr McMaster and are in contact with him to apologise for his experience.”