Michael Tierney, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, has said there were “inhumane” scenes at Antalya airport in Turkey after their easyJet flight back to the UK was cancelled
Image: Michael Tierney)
A family has told of “inhumane” scenes at a Turkish airport of people sleeping on the floor who felt “trapped” after a cancelled flight and couldn’t afford to buy replacements.
Michael Tierney said he and his family, including nine-month-old Ralphie, were left stranded in Antalya, Turkey, after their easyJet flight was cancelled and they had to fork out £2,500 for new flights and hotels.
They were due to fly back last Tuesday, May 31, but were told at the airport that their plane was not leaving and no alternatives were given to families, reported the Manchester Evening News.
Michael, from Oldham, Greater Manchester, said: “I should have been back three days ago. We were checking the flights on the app when we were travelling there on Tuesday night and it didn’t say anything had changed.
“But, when we got there people were running around as the flight had been cancelled with no notice. We found a member of staff and asked what we could do but they just told us there were no more flights.
“We were just told to make our own way back and to sort it ourselves, a lot of people there had no money to do that. People just ended up on the floor with loads of kids crying. The only solution were were offered were flights the next day from Dalaman which is miles away.”
Michael’s brother was able to book him a flight back, but they had to wait three days for this. In this time, he had to buy more food for the baby and book more travel and hotels, coming to just under £2,500.
At the same time Michael said other airlines were offering flights back to England for inflated prices, and all easyJet could offer him was a flight back to London, but without his whole family.
“When we came back three days later for our return, there were families there that we’d seen on the Tuesday night sleeping on the floor. They couldn’t afford to pay for more hotels so resorted to sleeping at the airport, it was terrible to see,” he said.
“It just felt like a complete shambles. Nobody was there to help. All I wanted to do was get my family home, I really didn’t want to keep the baby going through this.
“Everyone was in shock. When we were told there were no more flights for days it was just so frustrating. How can they leave families just like that, it feels inhumane, people had to just sleep at the airport. No compassion at all, no one had anywhere to turn.
Julian Hamilton/Sunday Mirror)
“We were all in the same boat, everyone was struggling to deal with it. We felt trapped in another country, it was scary.”
They eventually returned to Manchester Airport on Friday where chaos continues as it struggles to deal with the numbers of passengers.
Pictures taken in the early hours of this morning showed hundreds of bags left by passengers, it is reported.
And video footage on Thursday showed fed-up holidaymakers at the airport climbing through a baggage carousel curtain in a bid to retrieve luggage stranded behind it.
Police were called to stop the passengers after travellers faced waits of more than three hours to get their bags.
One passenger said: “Passengers got annoyed because they could not get any answers. People were climbing and crawling through the curtain on the carousel belt trying to find their own luggage. The bags were there, but there was no one to put them onto the carousel.”
Manchester Airport has referenced staff shortages as one of the reasons behind some extra delays.
The boss of Ryanair, Michael O’Leary, has now suggested that the army should be brought in to help at UK airports struggling to cope with half-term demands.
Regarding the situation, Mr O’Leary said “defence personnel with experience providing security” should be drafted in.
He told ITV News: “Bringing in the army, which they do at many other European airports, would, at a stroke, relieve the pressure on airport security and would mean that people have a much better experience – not just this weekend, but for each weekend over the next three, four months.”
An easyJet spokesman said: “We are very sorry that flight EZY1822 from Antalya to Manchester on 31 May was cancelled. We notified customers directly of their options to rebook or receive and refund and offered to provide hotel accommodation and meals where required.
“Nonetheless we fully understand the disruption this will have caused to their plans and we are very sorry for this. Our team are reaching out to Mr Tierney to apologise for his experience and to reimburse him and his family for their expenses.”
The Mirror has contacted easyJet for further comment.