Stag-do forced to make own way home from Berlin after easyJet flight cancelled
People on a stag-do to Berlin have been forced to make an 839-mile journey home using "planes, trains, and automobiles," after their flight to Bristol was cancelled.
Lloyd Davies, 35, from Porth had been on a stag-do with five friends, for the weekend. However on the day they were due to leave, they received an email from easyJet at 5am saying their flight had been cancelled.
"Many of us had work commitments and family commitments we needed to return for, so getting back as soon as possible was very important" said Mike Smith the groom-to-be.
"We decided to make our way to the airport to see what assistance easyJet could offer, we were handed a leaflet that said visit the website and they will deal with your travel issue there.
"When we tried to speak to the staff, we were told there are no easyJet staff at the airport, only Berlin Airport staff, and tried to phone the number on the leaflet. After an hour of calling and holding on multiple phones, we gave up, the website said booking error and we were left to our own devices and finances to get us home."
Lloyd says the group looked at hiring a car to drive back home, but were told they would not be able to take a vehicle out of the country by a hire firm.
They also looked at getting a ferry and even cycling back to the UK but eventually they decided to go by train from Berlin to Brussels, which would leave them with around ten minutes spare to get the last Eurostar home.
"This was the route we accepted because on the train, we could shut our eyes and relax for an hour – or so we thought," Mike said.
"The seven connections on the train journey had mere minutes between arriving and departing – this meant that if one train was late, or one connection missed – we would be stranded even further, with even less money, and even less will to go on."
Starting their journey with a train from Berlin Airport to central Berlin, the stag-do then got onto a high speed train to Hanover. But with time being tight, Lloyd said the group got onto the train without buying tickets beforehand.
"We saw the train, jumped on it and within a minute we were off," Mike said.
"The only seats available were at £200 each, in first class.
"We were already on the train, so had no option but to pay the price, only we couldn’t pay the price – as the train had left the station we could not buy that journey, so had to wait until the next stop to purchase the tickets – only then to find out that by the time we arrived at the next stop, the train had indeed sold out."
The group then got tickets for a train from Hanover to Cologne - but Lloyd says that the train "was held up", giving them just five minutes to catch the train to Brussels - a 136 mile journey.
However when the group finally got into Brussels with just two minutes to spare to get the Eurostar, they were told the next train wasn't until 4pm the next day.
"We were broken, hungry, tired and absolutely sick of travelling at this point. We admitted defeat, we weren’t going home tonight," Mike said.
After trying to get back on time for work the next day, the group ended up having to spend the night at a hotel in Brussels.
The next morning, the group was able to get a flight to Heathrow the next day, taking an Uber back to Bristol which cost £220 between them. But Lloyd says the group spent "a good hour" trying to find a driver who would take them so far.
In total, their journey from their Berlin hotel back to Bristol Airport involved trams, buses, trains, planes and Ubers - and that's without the drive home to Wales.
“It was very tense. We were travelling on a train in a foreign country," Lloyd said of the journey. “It was quite an anxious trip with no tickets so realistically we didn’t know what was going to happen.”
Lloyd has estimated that the journey home cost each member of the stag do around £600, including food, with the Uber from Heathrow to Bristol costing £220 between them, the trains costing approximately £230, the night in the hotel in Brussels costing £100 each, and the flight to Heathrow costing £130 each.
A spokesperson from EasyJet said: "We are very sorry that the group’s flight EZY6238 from Berlin to Bristol was cancelled. While we provide customers with information on rebooking options including flying with alternative carriers, we know options are limited on some routes at this time.
"We fully understand the difficulty this will have caused and we are very sorry. Our team will be reaching out to the group to apologise for their experience, reimburse them for their alternative travel expenses and provide compensation for their cancelled flight."