Belfast Telegraph

Flybe apologises as confusion reigns for passengers during snow-delayed flight at Belfast City Airport

By Claire Williamson

Flybe has apologised after passengers were left "confused and frustrated" after they claimed they were left at the departure gate with no information or staff to help them while their flight was delayed at Belfast City Airport due to overnight snow.

Northern Ireland woke up to a blanket of snow on Friday morning as temperatures plummeted.

A yellow weather warning for snow and ice remains in place with disruption caused to commuters.

On Friday morning Belfast City Airport warned of delays and disruptions to flights due to the weather.

However, passengers due to fly with Flybe said they were told to go to the departure gate for their 9.30am flight to Birmingham but as the time ticked by they were told no more information.

Flybe have apologised for the delay saying it was caused by a contractor's de-icing truck breaking down.

The airline has said it is investigating the reports of absence of staff.

One passenger Francoise Barlet was going to Birmingham to catch a connection flight to Lyon - which she subsequently missed.

She said: "There was no-one at the departures desk. I had to call the airport from the departure gate and tell them to send someone to manage the crisis.

"Flights were being delayed and no-one gave information. So they finally sent someone from security who was trying to help.

"I'm not going to be able to leave today. I'm going to miss my flights,  I can't go on holidays, I'm going to miss my car hire and no-one can give any information at all.

"I was going to visit my mum and it's completely gone. I'm going to miss my connection.

"I'm lucky I live in Belfast so I can go home."

Francoise said it was "unacceptable" that the situation arose as the weather warnings were issued earlier this week.

"The planes were in a queue to be de-iced and no-one was there to tell us anything."

Fellow passenger Julia was flying to Birmingham to meet her daughter and son.

She said: "There was nobody overseeing the whole departure lounge.

"At about 9.45am we were sent down to the departure gate and the next thing they said 'it's started snowing.' And that the plane needed to be de-iced. I said 'why haven't you been doing that since the crack of dawn this morning'.

"There were about three or four planes lined up so the point is, why weren't they on it this morning instead of waiting until the weather gets worse.

"Why they have an information bureau here it fathoms me to be honest with you.

"It was just a mess."

Flybe apologised for the inconvenience caused.

A spokesman said: "Flybe would like to sincerely apologise for the inconvenience caused due to the late departure of the above flight this morning due to the breakdown of one of the de-icing rigs contracted from third party ground handlers at Belfast City Airport: and the airline is investigating the reported absence of staff to communicate the situation to its customers and apologises for any confusion experienced.

"The safety of our passengers and crew remains our number one priority at all times and this will never be compromised."

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