A group of pensioners who were set to jet off on their first holiday post-lockdown were left disappointed after landing back where they started 12-hours later.
The group of 52 pensioners - aged between 75 and 92 - were set to fly the Isle of Man from Gatwick, but the flight had to make an emergency stop in Manchester due to high winds.
They spent three-and-a-half hours waiting for the flight to pick up where it left off, only for it to then be cancelled completely and they were all flown back to Gatwick.
After a 90-minute wait at Gatwick, they were told there was no hotel accommodation for them and that the next flight was in three days - meaning they group had to head back to their homes in Kent.
The pensioners were forced to cancel their £675 trip - and have since been told that as the wind was out of their control airline EasyJet will not be refunding them.
Eileen Booker, who organises trips for over-70s through her Blean-based Booker Trip, said: “We had people in their late 80s and even a 92-year-old. Since lockdown, this was their first holiday away. We were all hungry, tired, it was such a long day for nothing.
“It was absolutely disgusting the way we 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.”
Ms Booker, 77, said the captain on the return flight had told them that 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.
She said: “We thought we’d salvage some of our five-day holiday.
“But when we got back to Gatwick, nobody at EasyJet knew anything about us and they said there wasn’t any availability for a group of 53 on a flight until Wednesday.
“I had to make the decision to abandon the trip. We lost our holiday because of them.”
A spokesperson for the airline 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.”
Because the cause of the cancellation was considered as an extraordinary circumstance, EasyJet will not pay out any compensation.
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.
Featured Image Credit: SWNS
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