Misery for ‘abandoned’ BA passengers as flight delayed for 26 hours in Spain | Travel News | Travel

Misery for ‘abandoned’ BA passengers as flight delayed for 26 hours in Spain | Travel News | Travel

Up to 160 British Airways passengers suffered an agonising 26-hour delay at Barcelona airport during a weekend of holiday chaos in Spain.

Desperate travellers including elderly couples and families with babies and children in wheelchairs chanted “help, help” after being held up by blunders and fobbed off with excuses.

The tourists were forced to remain on the complex over Saturday night and into Sunday as their Heathrow-bound flight was cancelled twice over the weekend.

BA staff were said to have “abandoned” them without food or accommodation and “lied at every opportunity” when asked when the flight would resume.

The nightmare came as British holidaymakers suffered delays at Ibiza Airport when a fire-fighting plane blocked a runway.

READ MORE: More than 100 passengers fall ill on cruise ship with vomiting and diarrhoea

More than 20 flights to and from the party island were cancelled and 17 were diverted to other airports including Barcelona and Majorca.

Both episodes follow BA’s calamitous Coronation weekend when more than 20,000 travellers saw plans disrupted by 175 flight cancellations.

The Barcelona chaos began after BA boarded 160 passengers for the Saturday night flight to Heathrow before cancelling it because of a mechanical fault.

Richard Bentine, 64, who was returning from a week’s break with his wife Rebecca, 62, said they were seated for three hours before being taken off again.

He said they were not given any help finding a hotel and the cafes and bars were closed so they had no food.

It later emerged that the plane’s staff had remained at the hotel because they had been told it could not leave before a new component was delivered. 

Their misery reached its peak on Sunday when a replacement flight Vueling flight was lined up but customers were sent to six different boarding gates.

Mr Bentine said: “For two hours, 160 people wandered up and down between gates D1 to D21. 

“We were directed to six different gates in all by BA customers services and the airport’s ground staff.

“Then, 160 people stopped going through the gate and they were chanting help, help, help, help. I’ve never seen that before in my life.

“It was desperate people saying we need to know what’s happening because they hadn’t been fed, they had no water, they’d been given no information.

“If it happens on a continuous basis you reach a point when you think ‘this is just ridiculous”.

Retired Mr Bentine should have arrived home to Beckenham, south-east London late on Saturday evening but ended up walking in early Monday.

He said: “It’s not a question of being efficient. I think British Airways did everything to keep people herded in the airport. 

“We were effectively 26 hours and two cancellations late. The amount of information was shockingly incorrect and totally lacking. 

“I understand that an engine fault could occur, but from that point on they lied at every single opportunity.”

He added: “About a third of the flight were not mobile. They were elderly. 

“One hundred and sixty passengers were effectively abandoned by BA, who organised nothing, didn’t help in any way.

“There were elderly people, people with young children, there was a family with a disabled child and young people by themselves who may not have had the funds for a hotel.

“They all had to find a room at a hotel which was the only hotel available and it was after midnight.”

Meanwhile, British holidaymakers at Ibiza vented their fury on social media about the disruption which began on Sunday but went into Monday.

BA479 was among flights affected, with passengers due to board complaining that no-one from the airline had provided guidance.

One complained on Twitter: “We have been left at Ibiza Airport now after six hours saying delayed to now cancelled.

“No news from British Airways left it to poor Iberia staff to deal with who have had no information. So we have been left to our own devices.”

“Can’t find anyone to help us, we have been stuck in Ibiza airport overnight as we were told the flight would leave at 7.55am and now it’s 10.35.”

Karen Freakley complained: “British Airways where are you in Ibiza airport? Flight delayed overnight. No information, no staff.”

British travel enthusiast Jamie Taylor described the situation in the aftermath of the accident as “chaos”.

He added: “Runway has now reopened following an incident but departure lounge and security closed. Check-in hall heaving with people with nowhere to go.”

Disgruntled Ryanair passenger Carly Loveridge said on: “Ryanair any idea when you are going to stop delaying our flight? 

“Can’t find anyone to help us, we have been stuck in Ibiza airport overnight as we were told the flight would leave at 7.55am and now it’s 10.35.”

BA sources said the Barcelona flight was cancelled due to a “technical issue” but the customers were rebooked on another flight operated by Vueling which was also cancelled.

“We will always aim to provide hotel accommodation and meal vouchers to customers but on occasion, at busy times, we ask customers to pay for these and claim reimbursement.

A spokesman added: “We are very sorry for the delay to our customers’ travel plans after their aircraft experienced a technical issue. 

“The safety of our customers and crew is always our top priority and we would never operate a flight unless it was safe to do so.”

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Author: Shirley