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Families left stranded after Flybe cancels flight in Belfast - and hotel rooms booked out with Frampton fight

Rachel Haddon and her nine-year-old son Luke. Picture by Ann McManus
Marie Louise McConville

A MOTHER of one has told how she and other passengers were left stranded in Belfast after Flybe cancelled their flight from the city with no explanation or apology.

Rachel Haddon, who is from Burton-on-Trent, had been on holiday in Northern Ireland with her nine-year-old son Luke and was on route to Belfast City airport around 4pm on Saturday when she received a text saying their flight at 6pm was cancelled.

The 36-year-old language tutor contacted the airline's helpline only to find it only operated within office hours.

She said when she arrived at the airport no explanation for the cancellation was given and to add to her distress was told there were no hotel rooms available in Belfast because of the boxing night at Windsor Park.

She said passengers were given Dublin given as the only alternative and she said they were told she would have to make her own way there and back for the re-scheduled flight.

Rachel Haddon with her nine-year-old son Luke. Picture by Ann McManus

Ms Haddon said other passengers, including families with young children, as well as those trying to catch connecting flights for holidays and one traveller who had been due to attend a family funeral were among those affected.

With no friends or family in Northern Ireland, she said she was "left in tears" and anxious as to where she and her son would spend the night.

Eventually, she managed to contact a former university friend - who she had not seen in 10 years - who put her and her son up for the night.

A Flybe flight was grounded leaving passengers stranded

Hitting out at Flybe she said:

"Flybe did nothing. They just weren't bothered. People were really upset. We were panicked. It was really lucky I knew Roisin (her college friend).

Ms Haddon, who was last night due to travel home via East Midlands airport, also criticised ground staff who were "unhelpful" and said one even apologised for being "unprofessional".

"This was the very first time I have travelled on my own with Luke," she said.

"They just weren't bothered".

A spokeswoman for Flybe "sincerely" apologised to passengers who had been "inconvenienced by the cancellation of the flight due to an airport ambilift in Inverness causing suspected damage to the aircraft scheduled to operate it".

"The airline will always do everything possible in such a situation to ensure that passengers reach their final destination without further undue delay however in this instance it had no other option but to cancel the flight due to the circumstances which were entirely beyond its control."

She added: "The airline is concerned to hear that passengers reportedly did not receive the level of attention and Duty of Care that it would normally provide in such a situation and, as a matter of urgency, is investigating the claims that this was not provided with its third party ground handling team".

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