A couple’s plans for a dream sunshine wedding have been thrown into chaos after their Monarch flights were cancelled moments before they were due to leave Gatwick for Gran Canaria.
Alan Jee, 42, and his 43-year-old fiancee Donna are due to wed on a heart-shaped island in the Canaries on Saturday, surrounded by dozens of friends and family members.
But the pair – and their 30-strong entourage – were left frantically searching for replacement flights after Monarch went into administration in the early hours of Monday.
Mr Jee, a bricklayer from Christchurch in Dorset, said: “We went past passport control, then five minutes before we were due to go on the plane they just put an (announcement) out saying everything’s been cancelled and if we want to get flights anywhere else we have to pay for them ourselves.
“My missus just burst straight into tears, and my mother-in-law, and my mum.
“They (Monarch) are doing absolutely nothing about it whatsoever, they’ve palmed us off.
“No-one’s told us anything about it; we’ve tried speaking to Monarch but they’ve gone into liquidation.”
The group were later put up in a hotel nearby and were able to find flights out of Gatwick on Wednesday morning, at a cost of up to £400 each.
They had spent several hours previously camped out by a pillar in the Gatwick arrivals hall.
He said: “I’ve spent nearly £20,000 on the wedding as it is.
“I’m a bit narked, to say the least. I think it’s disgraceful. I don’t know how they can treat people like that.
“We’ve got wedding planners to see, hair and make-up, bits and pieces – we can’t get out there to do them.”
Mr Jee, who had left home at midnight, said he was due to be in the air by 6am, with his stag party originally scheduled to take place later in the week.
He said he has tried to remain calm in order not to distress the three children in his 30-strong party, two of whom have disabilities.
He said: “It’s been an absolute nightmare so far. I’ve got to (keep calm) for the kids.
“I’ve got another 36 people due to come out this week and I’m not sure if they’re going to get out either.
“My missus phoned Monarch yesterday. They told us it’s only the package holidays that are going to be cancelled – all our flights will be fine, the rest of our week’s going to be fine.
“Then five minutes before we were due to board the plane, they’ve just told us ‘No, nothing – everything’s been cancelled’.
“We’re stuck here now, we can’t find a hotel because everything’s been booked.
“We are looking to get flights now from anywhere, even if it’s one or two here, four or five on a flight there. But I don’t think it’s going to happen.
“I think it’s just a joke – an absolute joke.”