How cancelled easyJet flight put a dampener on my festive break in the sun
A Northern Ireland man is demanding compensation from easyJet after his dream Christmas break in Spain ended with a nightmare journey to get back home.
Jim Montgomery (72) from Portstewart was stranded for two days on the Costa Del Sol after his return flight was cancelled.
Mr Montgomery flew to Malaga en route to Torremolinos on the Wednesday before Christmas and was due to return a week later.
But that's when things started to go wrong.
He explained: "It was a very stressful time. I was at the departure gate at Malaga Airport when the first hint of trouble came.
"The noticeboard said there would be a 15-minute delay, and that became a half-hour delay, which wasn't too bad.
"But then I realised people were walking away from the gate and it was only then that I discovered that the flight had been cancelled."
He says he was told to go back outside the security zone to enquire about what to do next, but staff at first refused to let passengers leave.
He explained: "Once I did get out I went to the desk where I was told there were people who could help me.
"But they directed me to another easyJet desk and by the time I got there I couldn't believe it - there must have been 100 people in the queue. It took me nearly four hours to get to the top of the queue, where I was told I wouldn't be going home until two days later - via Bristol.
"The staff informed me that I would have to make the necessary arrangements through an easyJet app on the phone.
"I told them that I didn't know how to use that and they eventually said they would get me a hotel but that I would have to pay the taxi fare and claim it back later.
"The hotel wasn't exactly close to anywhere I wanted to be and it wasn't until the next day that I was informed I would be staying another night in the same place so I didn't have to move."
On the Friday he boarded a plane to Bristol for a connecting flight to Belfast. He said he had been left €150 (£132) out of pocket. EasyJet said the plane was cancelled as a result of an earlier diversion because of snow in the UK.
It added: "Every effort was made to minimise the impact of the cancellations on customers.
"Due to limited availability easyJet transferred some passengers onto flights to alternative UK destinations and then on to Belfast, and they were provided with hotel accommodation where required."