EXCLUSIVE: Furious mother releases photos of daughter, eight, sleeping on Faro airport floor after last-minute EasyJet cancellation
- A furious mother released photos of her eight-year-old daughter forced to sleep on the floor at Faro Airport after EasyJet cancelled their flight home
- Amy Holder, 34, says her family’s flight was cancelled as they were on the steps to board the plane back to Liverpool leaving them stuck in Portugal
- The family booked three new flights home on Wednesday at their own expense
A furious mother has released photographs of her eight-year-old daughter forced to sleep on the floor at Faro Airport after EasyJet cancelled their flight home at the last minute.
Amy Holder, 34, says her family was left stranded at the airport in Portugal without warning at 11.20pm on Saturday as they were about to board the plane to fly back to Liverpool.
Tired and unable to find accommodation at such short notice, her daughter Olivia Rigby bedded down on the floor using her mother’s coat for comfort.
The family has managed to book three new flights home on Wednesday at their own expense – but Olivia will have missed three days of school.
In total, the cancellation has cost Amy and her partner Dan Rigby, 36, a painter and decorator, £1,200 – £625 for new flight tickets, £100 on transport, £175 on food and £300 to stay at the Monica Isabel Beach Club in Albufeira since Sunday.
Olivia, 8, will miss three days of school after being forced to sleep on the floor at Faro Airport after EasyJet cancelled her family’s flight home while they were on the steps waiting to board
Amy Holder, 34, pictured left, says her family was left stranded at the airport in Portugal without warning as they were about to fly back to Liverpool on Saturday
Speaking to MailOnline as she waits to go home, Amy, who works for Marks & Spencer Bank, said the cancellation and subsequent delay has ruined their hitherto ‘brilliant’ half-term break.
‘We were on the steps ready to board our flight to Liverpool on Saturday night. We were then sent back to the gate to be told that one of the stewards had fallen ill. Then they said the whole flight was cancelled.
‘EasyJet customer service has been disgusting. No one from EasyJet was at the airport to help. Everything in the airport was shut. There was nothing to eat to drink. I couldn’t get hold of anyone from the airline.
‘We were stuck at the airport with my eight-year-old daughter sleeping on a cold hard floor with no food or drink offered and zero assistance until the call centre opened at 7am on Sunday.
She went on: ‘Olivia was already tired because it was so late. But she became inconsolable in the airport, she was sobbing. She was worried that we would never get home.
‘I tried to reassure her that everything would be alright, and that we were safe. But she was worried about missing school. Everything in the airport was shut. There was nothing to eat to drink. I couldn’t get hold of anyone from EasyJet because they had turned off their App.
‘Amy had to sleep on my jacket. It was cold and drafty because it was the middle of the night. My partner Dan and I didn’t get any sleep at all. We had had a really nice holiday but this has ruined it.’
Amy and Dan flew to Faro from Liverpool with EasyJet on May 25th for a ten-day break.
The family, from Chester, had enjoyed playing in the pool of Patio Suite hotel near Albufeira.
After the cancellation, Amy explained: ‘I only managed to get hold of EasyJet at about 9am the following morning – after I had been on hold for two hours.
‘They said they would be in touch within 90 minutes with details of a hotel where we could stay.
Amy got an email telling her to use the app to request a refund but said it wasn’t working when she tried to send the request
No one from EasyJet was at the airport to help, with no shops and stalls open at the time their flight was cancelled, said Amy, who called Easy Jet’s customer service ‘disgusting’
‘I was still waiting at 12pm at which point I had to book my own hotel and pay for myself.
‘It also became clear that I’d have to book my own flights home. I had to book these as there were only five seats left and needed to get back to the UK.
‘We still have not heard anything from EasyJet.
I got an email telling me that I had to log on to the app to request a refund but the app isn’t working.
‘I have now had to spend a further three days in Portugal and so far, I am over £1,200 out of pocket.
‘Luckily we had a card that we were able to cover this cost on
‘Even now, we still haven’t heard anything from EasyJet. We are supposed to be getting a flight tomorrow afternoon. But who knows what will happen.
‘My partner Dan is self-employed and has already lost three days’ work. It’s been an horrific experience.
EasyJet tonight apologised to Olivia and her parents.
The budget airline said the flight was cancellation because a crew member fell ill.
They said customers were told of their options to rebook flights and provided with hotel accommodation and meals.
Amy and Dan, pictured with their daughter Olivia, had flown to Faro from Liverpool with EasyJet on May 25th for a ten-day break
Amy said they had enjoyed a lovely half-term break, until the flight home. Thousands of holidaymakers have found themselves struck overseas after the cancellation of flights
A spokeswoman added: ‘Nonetheless we fully understand the disruption this will have caused to their plans and we are very sorry for this. Our team will be reaching out to Ms Holder to apologise for their experience and ensure their wellbeing. We will also be reimbursing them for expenses incurred as a result of the cancellation.’
Thousands of holidaymakers have found themselves struck overseas after the cancellation of flights to the UK.
Passengers who booked with EasyJet, British Airways, TUI Airways and Wizz Air were among the worst affected on the return journey from their half-term and bank holiday breaks.
The airlines have blamed the rapid surge in demand for travel following the end of Covid-19 restrictions and severe airport staffing shortages for the disruption.
EasyJet has cancelled more than 300 flights across Europe in the past three days with more than 2,000 others delayed. This included 37 flights axed on Monday and a further 46 today, Tuesday.
London’s Gatwick Airport has been the worst affected.
LONDON GATWICK AIRPORT: Passengers endure large queues at London Gatwick Airport yet again this morning
LONDON HEATHROW AIRPORT: Huge queues at the UK Border at London Heathrow this morning as disruption continues
LONDON STANSTED AIRPORT: This picture of queues for fast track security at Stansted Airport was tweeted this morning
BRISTOL AIRPORT: People sleep on benches in a cafe at Bristol Airport this morning amid further huge queues
MANCHESTER AIRPORT: Huge queues at Manchester Airport Terminal One this morning as the airport chaos continues
British Airways has axed more than 100 short-haul flights at London’s Heathrow Airport on Monday, although the airline stressed that passengers had been given advanced notice.
TUI Airways has cancelled six daily flights at Manchester Airport.
And Wizz Air also made dozens of cancellations over the weekend.
When British holidaymakers finally do arrive back in the UK, they are having to wait as long as three hours at Gatwick Airport’s baggage reclaim in the latest evidence of major disruption at UK airports.
Passenger Emma Bromfield said she was subjected to the huge wait after landing today and described scenes of ‘absolute chaos’.
Her carrier, Canadian airline WestJet, said the issue had been caused by ‘ramp staffing’ at Gatwick, and apologised to customers.
EasyJet has cancelled nearly 50 flights today
GATWICK – 20
- 8 departures: Amsterdam, Luqa, Rijeka, Copenhagen, Bastia, Nantes, Milan and Bordeaux
- 12 arrivals: Gran Canaria, Pafos, Lanzarote, Kos, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Rijeka, Luqa, Bastia, Nantes, Bordeaux and Milan
LUTON – 7
- 4 departures: Bristol, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Palermo
- 3 arrivals: Amsterdam, Lisbon and Palermo
BRISTOL – 16
- 7 departures: Split, Pula, Edinburgh, Inverness, Olbia, Bilbao and Geneva
- 9 arrivals: Alicante, Palma de Mallorca, Luton, Pula Edinburgh, Split, Bucharest, Inverness and Bilbao
EDINBURGH – 4
- 2 departures: Bristol and Amsterdam
- 2 arrivals: Bristol and Amsterdam
GLASGOW – 4
- 2 departures: Bristol and Amsterdam
- 2 arrivals: Bristol and Amsterdam
INVERNESS – 2
- 1 departure: Bristol
- 1 arrival: Bristol
The total number of cancelled easyJet flights at airports today is 53, but the actual total is 46 because seven are duplicates – ie Edinburgh to Bristol is listed twice, once as an Edinburgh departure and once as a Bristol arrival
It comes as easyJet today cancelled nearly 50 more flights, while other families stranded in Europe were scrambling to get home after being told there were no seats available on flights for several days.
Travellers crossed borders instead of waiting as they raced to return to work and school after half-term, with some saying they were unable to get through to customer service teams of airlines on the phone to try to rebook.
Some whose flights were cancelled on Saturday were told it would take until Friday for the next available seats, so were forced to spend hundreds of pounds for new flights or other modes of transport such as Eurostar trains.
Among them were teachers needing to get back to the classroom and A-level pupils who risk missing exams after easyJet cancelled more than 300 flights across Europe in the past three days, with more than 2,000 delayed.
Families impacted including the O’Hara family from Sussex whose easyJet flight home from Fuerteventura on Saturday was cancelled – with the next available tickets on Friday. A couple from Lincolnshire also had an easyJet flight home from Montenegro cancelled on Saturday, and were told Thursday was the earliest they could get back.
It comes as travel agents are being inundated with phone calls from customers fearing their summer holidays will be disrupted, with about a third of calls at present being from those worried about bookings for July and August.
EasyJet axed 46 flights today, including 20 at Gatwick and seven at Luton. The Gatwick departures were flights to Amsterdam, Luqa, Rijeka, Copenhagen, Bastia, Nantes, Milan and Bordeaux – and the arrivals were from Gran Canaria, Pafos, Lanzarote, Kos, Amsterdam, Copenhagen, Rijeka, Luqa, Bastia, Nantes, Bordeaux and Milan.
Wizz Air also cancelled two arrivals at Gatwick from Tel Aviv and Faro. At Luton, there were three easyJet arrivals cancelled from Amsterdam, Lisbon and Palermo; and four departures to Bristol, Amsterdam, Lisbon and Palermo.
Bristol Airport, which has been one of the worst-hit airports, was badly affected again today with a total of 16 easyJet cancellations – including seven departures to Split, Pula, Edinburgh, Inverness, Olbia, Bilbao and Geneva; and nine arrivals from Alicante, Palma de Mallorca, Luton, Edinburgh, Pula, Split, Bucharest, Inverness and Bilbao.
In Scotland, easyJet also cancelled four flights at Edinburgh and four flights at Glasgow today – all of which were arrivals or departures to Bristol or Amsterdam. At Inverness, one departure and arrival from Bristol were axed.
While the total number of cancelled easyJet flights at airports today is 53, the actual total is 46 because seven are duplicates – ie Edinburgh to Bristol is listed twice, once as an Edinburgh departure and once as a Bristol arrival.
Some 124 British Airways flights at London Heathrow Airport were cancelled today, although the airline stressed that affected passengers were given plenty of advance notice with these services all axed a few months ago.
UK airline passengers have been hit by disruption for several months due to a lack of staff after the companies let thousands of people go during the pandemic. Airlines, airports and ground handling firms are now struggling to recruit new staff and have their security checks processed amid a surge in demand since restrictions were lifted.
GLASGOW AIRPORT: Passengers at Glagsow Airport wait for check-in desks to open after arriving there early this morning
BIRMINGHAM AIRPORT: Huge queues for security at Birmingham Airport at 5am this morning as the airport chaos continues
EDINBURGH AIRPORT: A picture of huge numbers of suitcases in a cordoned-off area at Edinburgh Airport was tweeted today