Northern Ireland

Travel ‘nightmare’ as Belfast-bound flight delayed over 30 hours

Passengers faced continued delays over ‘technical issue’

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An easyJet flight from Faro Airport to Belfast International has been delayed for over 30 hours. (David Parry/PA)

Returning holidaymakers have described their travel “nightmare” as a flight from Portugal to Belfast was delayed for over 30 hours.

The easyJet flight from Faro Airport was due to take off for Belfast International at 1.50pm on Saturday, but was delayed until 9.10pm on Sunday.

Passengers were being brought by coach across the tarmac to the plane after going through departures when they were told the flight would be delayed due to a “technical issue”.

A rescheduled time of 3.30pm later became 5.30pm, but as the hours ticked by and still no sign of boarding, the frustrated passengers were eventually told they would not be leaving Faro until at least Sunday morning.

The Belfast-bound travellers didn’t take off from Faro airport until after 9pm on Sunday.

They were offered basic hotel accommodation for Saturday night, and only received a food voucher worth around £4.50 each on Sunday.

Karen Clarke, from Bangor in Co Down, was part of a group of eight who had enjoyed a holiday at the Quinta Do Lago resort before the delays hit.

“We faced delay after delay at the airport yesterday, before we got the message later on saying the flight would now not be taking off until the next morning. It was the last thing we wanted to hear having waited around all day,” she said.

“We felt the communication with the passengers was very poor, as there was no-one from easyJet around really to advise us. Eventually a guy came to us and said we would be put up in a hotel. Coaches were due to come to take us, but after yet more standing around we ended up just getting an Uber ourselves, as we couldn’t face more waiting.”

She added: “It has been a nightmare, to be honest. We feel especially for the families with young children having to endure this, and we’re aware that one elderly passenger and her husband is concerned over her medication, as she did not bring enough to cover a huge delay such as this.

“It’s really brought everyone down after what had been a lovely holiday. And the food voucher we were each provided managed to cover the cost of just two airport coffees.”

Ms Clarke arrived back in Belfast after midnight on Monday and said that there have been no further updates from the airline about compensation.

A spokesperson for easyJet said: “easyJet can confirm that flight EZY3044 from Faro to Belfast which was due to operate on the 22 June was delayed overnight due to a technical issue and departed on 23 June.

“We did all possible to minimise the impact of the disruption for our customers, notifying customers of their options and provided hotel accommodation and meals for customers.

“We would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience this will have caused. The safety of its passengers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority and easyJet operates its fleet of aircraft in strict compliance with all manufacturers’ guidelines.”