Mother and daughter from Brighton 'felt abandoned' after cancelled easyJet flight

Kelly Lewis's daughter is a teacher and is due to start back at work on Friday - they say they're both keen to get back. Credit: Kelly Lewis

A mother and daughter say they "felt abandoned" after the airline they were travelling with cancelled their flight back to the UK.

Kelly Lewis from Brighton is among those facing severe travel delays over the bank holiday weekend after a UK air traffic control failure on Monday.

She was due to fly out from Tenerife South Airport yesterday at around 7:50pm but saw on the easyJet flight tracker that her flight had been delayed until 4:30am the following day.

They arrived the next morning, to find out their flight had been cancelled.

Ms Lewis said: "There was a queue that was possibly the longest queue I’ve ever seen in an airport from the easyJet check-in desks.

"We couldn't get any information anywhere, we've not received any emails, text messages, or formal notification.

"EasyJet had just shut down all of the check-in desks. There were two [staff members] but there were queues around a mile long. 

"We felt abandoned and left to our own devices."

She says another passenger, who spoke to a member of staff, were told they would have to sort out their own flights and accommodation. Credit: Kelly Lewis

Ms Lewis continued: "I don’t feel particularly well. I’ve been in this situation before and I just try to think ‘You’re on holiday for a few more days, just try and enjoy yourself, but we’ve not planned for this.

"We’ve had a lovely holiday, but we’ve got responsibilities at home. We’re ready to get back to our dog and our lives. 

"We haven’t got unlimited funds, we’re going to have to spend money on credit cards for food, and taxis to and from airports because we’re not with a packaged holiday where we’ve got transfers arranged."

"I feel like there are other people that would have it worse. We are able-bodied, there’ll be people here with elderly relatives, babies, and children, it’s quite distressing to see.

"We booked through Loveholidays. When we try and call the airline or holiday company, the phone rings out after 30 minutes so we can't speak to anyone. We just feel like we're at other people's mercy and have spent around £1,000 in the last couple of days trying to come home."

A spokesperson for Loveholidays said: “We are currently experiencing a high volume of inbound enquiries from customers who have been affected by the National Air Traffic Services' technical fault.

"Our customer service team has tripled its resource to respond to customers as quickly as possible, and we apologise to Ms. Lewis for any inconvenience caused by the delay.

“The airline is responsible for getting Ms Lewis and her daughter on to the next available inbound flight and has a duty of care to ensure their safe return, including covering meals and accommodation.

"We are doing everything we can to work through the backlog and support our customers.”

An easyJet spokesperson said: “Due to the Air Traffic Control systems failure affecting UK airspace yesterday, some flights were unfortunately unable to operate including Ms Lewis’ flights to Gatwick and Stansted.

"We have been doing everything we can to minimise the impact of the disruption, providing customers with information on their options to transfer their flight for free or receive a refund, securing hotel accommodation where possible and advising any customers who make their own accommodation or alternative travel arrangements that they will be reimbursed.

“While this is outside of our control, we apologise for the difficulty this has caused for our customers and we remain focused on doing all possible to assist and repatriate them as soon as possible at this very busy time of year.”

Want a quick and expert briefing on the biggest news stories? Listen to our latest podcasts to find out What You Need To Know...