Patients miss medical appointments after airline cancels flight in favour of private golf trip

Aurigny has not explained why the chartered private flight was prioritised over the scheduled service. Credit: ITV Channel

Patients have missed medical appointments after they say their scheduled flight was cancelled to allow a group of golfers to privately charter the plane instead.

The Aurigny morning service on Friday 7 June had been set to transport passengers from Alderney to Guernsey on a regular commercial route.

Some had important hospital visits planned as part of a health agreement between the two islands.

However, travellers say they learnt their flight was no longer going ahead once they arrived at Alderney Airport to check-in.

Instead, they say the company chose to send the plane to Jersey without any passengers on so it could pick up golfers and bring them to Alderney.

Helen Young was one of those affected and describes the situation as "unacceptable".

She explains: "I had waited eight months for this appointment and the fact that it is very hard to get slots with Aurigny in line with appointments made it very frustrating.

"I arrived at the airport at seven in the morning, I met the check-in people and they looked at me strangely. I said, 'I'm going to Guernsey on a medical', they said, 'The first rotation has been cancelled and it's going to Jersey on a charter'.

"I was fuming. I was told we could be scheduled to go on the 12am flight but my medical was for 11am so it wouldn't work for me.

"The frustrating part of it all is that we have to contend with the weather, Aurigny staff sickness, planes going tech and medicals.

"None of those can be helped but when a scheduled flight is cancelled due to a chartered flight then that can be helped.

"It is unacceptable as far as I'm concerned and this should not happen again."

Two Aurigny flights were scheduled for around the same time on Friday morning.

Due to staff shortages, Aurigny could only crew one flight and chose to honour the chartered service.

Whilst the airline did not give me an answer as to why this decision was made, they did send over a statement which says: "It is not unusual for flight times to change when travelling between the islands and we apologise for any inconvenience caused by the adjustment.

"As per our standard practice, all customers were informed of the change in advance."

However, passengers I've spoken to say they only found out once they were inside the airport.

We've reported multiple times over the last few months about travel delays and disruption due to several issues - some out of Aurigny's control.

It's unclear whether the airline knew the impact cancelling this flight would have but given it's already under some public pressure, this may not help their reputation.

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