50 pensioners on first holiday since lockdown end up where they started after 12-hour easyJet nightmare

·3-min read
Some members of the doomed travelling party that was meant to visit Isle of Wight. (SWNS)
Some members of the doomed travelling party that were meant to visit Isle of Man. (SWNS)

A group of more than 50 pensioners flew off on their first holiday since lockdown only to end up back where they started following a nightmare 12-hour journey on easyJet.

The group, aged 75 to 92, were meant to fly from Gatwick Airport to the Isle of Man on 22 May for a four-night trip.

But their flight was forced to land in Manchester due to high winds and after a three and a half hour wait, it was cancelled and they were flown back.

Despite other flights making it to the Isle of Man, after a 90-minute wait at Gatwick they were told there was no hotel accommodation and the next flight was in three days.

The pensioners then cancelled their £675 a head trip and arrived back home in the early hours of 23 May.

Read more: Vueling flight ‘took off without any passengers’ because of Gatwick delays

Eileen Booker organised the trip for the group of pensioners. (SWNS)
Eileen Booker organised the trip for the group of pensioners. (SWNS)

The retirees – from Canterbury, Herne Bay, Whitstable and Hythe – said they are angry with their treatment and will never use the EasyJet again.

Eileen Booker, who organised the vacation for the over-70s through her Blean-based Booker Trip, said: “We were all hungry, tired, it was such a long day for nothing.

“It was absolutely disgusting the way were treated.

“Other planes were landing on the Isle of Man, other people had on-board apps showing that.

“Why they chose to abandon us I don’t know.”

Booker, 77, said the captain on the return flight had told them on arrival at Gatwick there would be a coach to take them to a hotel for overnight accommodation and there would be a new flight in the morning.

But she said when they got back to the airport, nobody at easyJet knew about the plan and there was no accommodation available.

Read more: Travel chaos 'to last into the summer' warns airport boss

More than 50 pensioners had to cancel their first holiday since lockdown. (SWNS)
More than 50 pensioners had to cancel their first holiday since lockdown. (SWNS)

A spokesperson for easyJet said: “We contacted customers to advise them of the cancellation and their options to rebook or receive a refund and with information on arranging hotel accommodation.

“Unfortunately, we are unable to provide rooms for all customers and we advise that anyone who sources their own hotel accommodation will be reimbursed.

“Our team are reaching out to Ms Booker to apologise for her experience and to reimburse her and her group for their expenses.

“While this was outside of our control, we are very sorry for the inconvenience caused by the cancellation.

“The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is our highest priority.”

EasyJet said it would not pay out any compensation because the cause of the cancellation was considered as an extraordinary circumstance,

The company will however, reimburse customers for any reasonable expenses.

It is understood other planes may have been able to fly to the Isle of Man at the same time due to changes in the weather at the time of arrival.

Meanwhile, transport secretary Grant Shapps has told the aviation industry must “do their bit” to resolve problems which have led to chaotic scenes at airports.

Passengers have been hit by disruption for several months, with the situation worsening this week due to the rise in demand sparked by the half-term school holiday and the Platinum Jubilee bank holiday period.

Cancelled flights and delays have affected Manchester, Heathrow, Gatwick, and Bristol airports.