A plane chock full of passengers ready to head off on holiday to Girona in Spain were left stranded at Prestwick airport in Scotland yesterday for six hours, due to a French air traffic controllers strike.
Having boarded the plane, the holidaymakers were told that there would be a three hour delay, but it was not until six hours after boarding that the plane was finally able to take off and head for Girona, a journey that takes about two hours.
During this time the passengers were kept on board the aircraft, in case a slot opened up for them to take off, and the airline, Ryan-air refused to allow the passengers access to food or drink off the drinks cart, because they would have to have paid duty on them, since the plane was still in UK airspace.
As you can imagine, the passengers were getting rather disgruntled by this, with the weather outside being sunny and warm, and the air conditioning on the plane turned off, and only those passengers who had purchased bottles of water after having got through the scanners had anything to drink at all.
Meantime, the airline staff were seen drinking, and had brought water on board for the pilot, which understandably must have had them furious.
It’s bad enough being stuck on a plane for hours, especially right by the terminal, but to be denied food and drink as well, it’s just not right.
Eventually the Police were called, it is believed by angry passengers, and they brought on board water and chocolate for the drought stricken passengers, which deflated the situation a bit.
Passengers said that the airline response had been awful, and the complaints come only weeks after the chief, Michael O’Leary, tried to dodge compensation payments for disruptions caused by the volcanic ash cloud.
Linda Findlay, a 60-year-old housewife who was going on holiday with a friend and her grandson, told a reporter from The Herald “If we’d been a bunch of refugees they’d have had a Red Cross tent set up on the tarmac,” Findlay said. “We’re not asking much – they could just let us off the plane and give us a meal.”
Another passenger, Terry Roberts, 28, who is a quantity surveyor from Glasgow, said that he had bought a four-day break in Barcelona as a birthday present for his girlfriend. “It’s been horrendous,” he said. “There’s young kids, and it’s like a sauna in here. No air conditioning, and they won’t let us off the plane or give us drinking water. Ryanair have been appalling, disgraceful. We were told we could get off but not back on again.”
A spokesman for the airline Ryanair said that the airline was “of course very apologetic for the inconvenience”.
This is of course just another of those situations where staff stick to the rules, ignoring the fact that the discomfort of their customers is not only making for a dangerous situation, but is harming the reputation of the company.
Had they been permitted to pass out water and snacks to the passengers, which ought to have easily been available from the terminal, this situation and yet another loss of reputation for the airline could have been avoided.