Passengers stranded as flights to and from Belfast International cancelled

By Conor Neeson
BBC News NI

  • Published
Jonathan Boyd
Image caption,
Jonathan Boyd should be in Spain - but instead he is in Belfast

Travellers say they feel "let down" after they were left stranded by cancellations and delays at Belfast International Airport.

Passengers were stuck after an Easyjet flight to Portugal was cancelled on Sunday, while others flying with TUI were left on the Greek island of Kos.

Flights to Bristol and London Gatwick were also cancelled.

Johnathon Boyd's flight to Malaga, Spain was due out on Sunday but he was still in Belfast on Monday evening.

Mr Boyd said: "We are key workers. We have not had a holiday since the pandemic and this was something that we were really looking forward to, had saved up for, and we have been let down."

Image source, PACEMAKER
Image caption,
Travellers say they are out of pocket after delays and cancellations

Jude McLaughlin's wife was due in Faro in Portugal on Sunday.

He said the travellers were out of pocket about £400 after their flight did not arrive.

"They had to buy food and drink to keep them going all day, they had to get out a taxi from (Belfast) International Airport to city centre, they had to book a hotel, they had more parking to pay for, and then they got a taxi back this morning."

Another passenger due to fly out to Faro said she had been given no information by Easyjet.

"We've heard nothing from no one, they just put up a sign saying flight cancelled," said Danielle McLaughlin, from Londonderry.

She added: "There's no Easyjet representative in the actual airport and there's no flights out for tomorrow [Monday]."

In a statement, Easyjet confirmed its flight to Faro was cancelled due to earlier delays which it said resulted in the "crew reaching their maximum working hours".

Image source, Getty Images
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Easyjet apologised for the inconvenience and said customers could transfer to an alternative flight or receive a refund

It apologised for the inconvenience and said customers could transfer to an alternative flight or receive a refund.

The Belfast to Bristol flight was cancelled both ways "due to air traffic control restrictions earlier in the day which led to the crew reaching their maximum operating hours".

Meanwhile, "ground handling delays" at Gatwick were the reason for cancellation of flights to and from the London airport.

TUI said passengers on its flight from Kos had been due to leave on Saturday night but instead departed on Monday afternoon.

TUI apologised and said the flight was unable to depart as planned due to "operational issues".

A spokesperson for the airline said: "Everyone has been able to stay in their hotels and meals have been provided.

"We understand that delays are frustrating and we thank all impacted customers for their patience. Customers on this flight are entitled to compensation in line with regulations and have already been sent information on how to submit a claim."

'A right old mess'

Speaking on BBC News NI's Good Morning Ulster programme, travel expert Simon Calder said the incidents showed the type of stresses the travel industry was under.

"Easyjet, loads of cancellations as well as the Faro flight which is really upsetting because of course lots of people were looking forward to arriving in the Portuguese Algarve and having a lovely holiday on a Sunday evening", he said.

"But instead they find that they are collecting their bags and going home. The airline is blaming a combination of air traffic control problems and ground handling issues.

"But actually Easyjet is in a right old mess because it hasn't got enough staff for the flights it needs to operate this summer."

Mr Calder estimated that the airline was cancelling about 25 to 30 flights a day and that appeared to be on the increase.

He said that at least one flight between Belfast and London Heathrow had been cancelled every day for weeks - a route not operated by Easyjet.

Another TUI flight, from Belfast to Dalamanin Turkey, has been delayed by more than 12 hours in Monday