Disgruntled easyJet passengers have complained that flight delays at Paphos airport saw them being transported to other towns across the island as there was ‘no space in Paphos hotels.’
Mick and Anne Hugill say they have often travelled with easyJet and the low cost carrier is their first choice for flights. Although they still hold the airline in high regard, they feel they were ‘tremendously let down’ by easyJet’s representation in Cyprus.
The couple, both aged 63, are retirees, and have had a property in Pissouri in Limassol for the last 14 years.
The trouble occurred on Friday 30 September, when EasyJet fight EJ1974 from Paphos to Manchester was cancelled due to ‘technical’ reasons. A chain of events then led to passengers, hours later, being informed that they would spend an extra night in Cyprus, but not in Paphos, where they were flying from, but some as far away as Nicosia.
Mick Hugill said: “It was almost obscene that tired passengers were being shunted to the far corners of the island when lovely Paphos was so close by with hundreds of hotel rooms. Something is not right.”
In the hours leading up to the announcement, Hugill told the Cyprus Mail that the departure board at Paphos airport showed the delay and a new time of half past midnight on Saturday October 1.
However, as the evening progressed passengers were informed that the flight would land at Milan, Italy.
“We were informed that we would spend the night and following day in Milan and then fly to Manchester Saturday night arriving in the UK on Sunday morning.”
The easyJet passenger said that this information later changed; passengers would fly to Milan, the flight crew would change and they would continue directly to Manchester.
“After this, at about 1am on the Saturday morning we were then informed that there would be no flight at all that night.” Hugill said that passengers were told that they would be collected by taxis and ‘put up’ by easyJet for the night and that they would then fly back to the UK on Saturday night.
“Lots of people were still waiting for transport outside the airport at 5am and some passengers were expected to share sleeping quarters with strangers.”
He said that passengers were taken all over the island, some as far as Nicosia, as they were informed that easyJet doesn’t have any hotels available in Paphos, only in Polis, Nicosia and Limassol.
Hugill questioned how this could be and what reason could be behind it.
“Families with young babies and the elderly were very distressed and there was a lack of communication, organisation and planning. At 3am, taxis were crawling out of the woodwork to ferry people to the far corners of the island. All this while lovey rooms remained empty in the hotels in Paphos.”
The airline’s European PR Manager, Matteo Taddei, responded on behalf of the airline: “easyJet would like to apologise to the passengers whose flight from Paphos to Manchester was delayed overnight on 30 September. Unfortunately crew were not able to operate this flight as it would have exceeded their legal operating hours following an earlier delayed flight.”
He continued: “easyJet provided hotel accommodation for the passengers in a number of hotels in Cyprus as availability was limited due to high demand at this time of year. The passengers were provided with refreshment vouchers and their flight departed on Saturday October 1. We would like to thank passengers for their understanding.”
Hugill and his wife arrived back in the UK on Sunday October 2 and said that the pair have already been offered compensation by the airline.
He said: “We feel sorry for the way that easyJet have been let down at the Cyprus end.”