Hen party stranded in airport overnight after 17-hour easyJet delays | Travel News | Travel

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The hens camped on the airport floor over night (Image: Handout)

Ffion Williams described how the party underwent a series of delays after they were due to fly to Bristol airport from Faro on Sunday, June 5 at 10.10pm. However, the 32-year-old said the party did not make it on a flight until 2.30pm the next day on Monday, June 6. This meant that many of the hens, who work as teachers, were unable to make it back to work on Monday following the Jubilee bank holiday weekend.

Ffion claimed that for the duration of the delay – including overnight – the party had no choice but to camp on the airport floor.

Describing what she claims happened, she said: “We had an update from easyJet to say we had a flight delay by one hour and that our new flight would be at 11.15pm. We got to the airport, checked in, checked our luggage in and got through security and waited for our gate to open. Then the flight was further delayed until 12.45am.”

However, worse was to come when it was announced that the flight was overbooked and not everyone would be able to get on, Ffion told WalesOnline.

“When the gate opened ready for us to get on to the flight, there was an announcement made over the tannoy saying they had overfilled our flight, asking if there was anyone who could stay in Faro and not get on the flight because there were eight people too many to get on the flight. Obviously everyone ran to get into a queue because nobody wanted to stay in the airport. The flight was overbooked by eight people.”

The situation took a second turn for the worst when the passengers heard their next announcement.

The hen party on the beach

The hens ranged in age from early 20s to late 50s (Image: Handout)

“The next announcement came then to say the pilot and air hostesses had been flying for their 12 hours and the flight would now be cancelled and there would be an update by 12pm on Monday as to when our next flight would be.

“There were no staff there to ask what to do. EasyJet’s app crashed so we couldn’t even get on there. We were sat on the airport floor until 1.30pm on Monday.”

Ffion said leaflets were shared out to passengers, urging them to call easyJet for advice, however, phone lines were down because of the bank holiday weekend. She claimed no hotel was offered overnight to give the hens – who ranged in age from their early 20s to late 50s – somewhere comfortable to stay. EasyJet, who have apologised for the experience, said that it reimburses accommodation expenses and are looking into why some customers were incorrectly informed and remained in the airport at Faro.

Ffion said: “We weren’t allowed to book our own hotel room ourselves because if we did, we wouldn’t get a refund. The only way we could get a refund was to go on the Easyjet app, but it was down. With there being 23 of us, the hotel would have been very expensive for us all to book and not all of us had the funds available to do that after budgeting for a holiday. It was horrendous.”

During their time at the airport, Ffion said there was little opportunity for the hens to get food or water until the morning, adding that the shops closed at around 10.30pm shortly after they arrived. However she claimed with no easyJet staff in sight, no food vouchers, water or blankets were offered. She said it led to a very uncomfortable night with little sleep for the already-exhausted group.

The hens camped on the airport floor over night

The hens camped on the airport floor over night (Image: Handout)

Ffion said: “There were no staff around and all the shops were shut. We had no food, no water, no blankets and it was cold in the airport. It was horrendous. We were without food all night until the shops opened back up in the morning at around 6.30am. We were left from 10.30pm when the shops closed until 6.30am.

“We were also given no food vouchers. We were literally left on the airport floor for the night. I didn’t get any sleep, although some of the others managed to get 20 minutes or so. We had been pretty much awake for a full 39 hours by the time we got home. You can imagine how tired we were after the hen party weekend, our lack of sleep was massive anyway. We were tired, fatigued, exhausted.”

And what’s more, Ffion said one of the members of her group is diabetic and became ill when her blood sugar levels dropped because of the lack of food. She said: “Not once were we checked and asked if we were on medication or anything. One of our girls is a diet-controlled diabetic and she was unwell because she had no food for so long. We had to get her sweets when the shops opened as she had a mini hypo.”

While the party and other passengers waited desperately for their flight, Ffion said many felt worried about whether their flight on Monday would go ahead. She said: “The majority of the girls are school teachers and they all had school yesterday which none of them made as we were all in Faro.

“The majority of us also have children back home who we didn’t plan for an extra night of us not being around. It was the worry then of whether we were actually going to be able to fly home at 1.30pm that afternoon as that flight was still overbooked, or whether we were going to get stuck there or if we were going to get split up.

“Everyone was worried sick. There was a lady with a little baby there who is 12 weeks old who was one of the passengers overbooked and she had already had delays. She was going to be prioritised for a seat, but then you’re not getting home to see your baby. Everyone was anxious and worried. You could see that everyone was going to be fighting for themselves.”

By 1.30pm on Monday, Ffion said she and the other hens were relieved to finally be seated on the plane. However, there was yet another delay according to Ffion, who claimed passengers had to wait for an hour on the plane before it finally took off at 2.30pm. She also claimed that the flight had been overbooked again and around six passengers had to stay in Faro.

Ffion said she arrived back in Bristol at around 5.15pm on Monday before travelling straight home to Merthyr. Speaking to WalesOnline a day later on Tuesday, Ffion said she still feels exhausted. She said she felt lucky to have been able to book the day off unlike the teachers in her group. 

Ffion said she hoped for an apology, but most of all that the airline learned from her experience. She said: “I understand they can’t help the delays and that pilots can only fly for a certain number of hours, but the issue is the way it was dealt with. I would definitely like an apology, but going forward, knowing there is carnage in all the airports at the moment, they should have representatives on the floor checking on passengers.”

A spokeswoman for easyJet said: “We are very sorry that Ms Williams flight EZY6010 from Faro to Bristol on 5 June was cancelled. Customers were notified directly of their options to rebook or receive a refund and offered to provide hotel accommodation and meals where required. We reimburse accommodation expenses and so we are looking into why some customers were incorrectly informed and remained in the airport at Faro. We understand the impact this caused to their plans and we are very sorry. Our team will be reaching out to Ms Williams to apologise for her experience and support with processing her expenses.”

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