Naomi Thomas’ daughter-in-law Annie was due to take a school trip to France today – but missed it after the family’s flight home from a mid-term holiday in Portugal was canceled.
The primary school teacher is currently stuck with her partner Danny Massey, who also works at a school as a site manager, and two stepchildren, aged 13 and 14, in Paris, France.
They are stuck there on their reorganized trip from Faro to Crewe, Cheshire, after their direct easyJet flight from Portugal to Liverpool was canceled on Saturday night.
Luckily, her school isn’t open today, but her partner and stepson, Alfie, should both have been in school.
They fear there is no chance of returning today – with all flights and Eurostar trains sold out – and they cannot get walk-in ferry tickets or find car hire that allows them to recover in France and go to England.
They already have between £2,000 and £2,500 out of pocket and are still not home.
“It’s been a nightmare,” Ms Thomas told Sky News, after her first holiday in five years.
They were ready to board their flight from Faro when it was canceled and ended up spending the night at the airport, during which they managed to book a flight to Paris for the next morning and tickets. Eurostar for the UK.
But “there was more chaos in the Gard du Nord than at Faro airport,” she said.
Eurostar passengers faced delays and cancellations on Sunday due to power problems near Paris.
“That’s when the reality really hit that we were stuck, really stuck now in Paris, with no way to get back to the UK,” she said.
“We tried to arrange a meeting with the school trip on this side in France so that Annie could participate in the school trip, but unfortunately they were arriving in Calais so early this morning that we had no way of getting there.
“So we had to tell her the bad news and she was really disappointed.”
The family are now booked on a Eurostar service due to leave Paris on Tuesday afternoon.
When asked how she felt, she replied: “Mad at easyJet…we were about to board a plane which we believe had no intention of returning with passengers on board.”
“We are not the only ones. There are so many people in a similar situation,” she added, criticizing the airline’s lack of communication and support in finding alternative flights, hotel accommodation. hotel and food and drink.
EasyJet apologized for the disruption “due to the ongoing difficult operating environment” and said customers had the option to rebook or receive a refund, as well as hotel accommodation and meals if necessary.
The airline added that it had also given customers information on how to arrange this quickly online or through the app.
Hundreds of flights to and from the UK were canceled last week, with Transport Secretary Grant Shapps saying airlines and travel agencies had ‘severely oversold flights and holidays to capacity to deliver” despite government warnings.
The aviation industry is suffering from a staff shortage after letting thousands of people go during the coronavirus pandemic.
Airlines are now struggling to recruit new workers and get their security checks processed, which they say are being held up by government red tape.
Following a meeting with airports, airlines and ground handling companies last week, the Minister said he had responded to industry requests to speed up security checks for workers and to allow certain employees in non-safety-related jobs to undergo immediate training.
He said he will “do absolutely everything possible to ensure” that holidaymakers can get through the summer without problems, but that it is up to the industry to sort out the issues.
Mr Shapps said: “Clearly they were surprised at how people came back to travel after two years of lockdown, but I’m not surprised – we were saying from the start: you’ll have to be ready for that .”