Ryanair delay forces 'traumatised' Devon couple to sleep on airport conveyor belt

Credit: Sam Johns

A couple from Devon say they had no choice but to sleep on an airport conveyor belt after their flight was delayed by more than 20 hours.

Sam Johns, 31, and his partner Danielle Downing, 30, flew from Bristol Airport to Lanzarote on 9 March and were due to return on Sunday, 12 March.

Their Ryanair flight from Lanzarote was delayed and then eventually cancelled due to bad weather conditions.

The couple were among hundreds of passengers stranded at the airport.

Mr Johns said: “Initially the plane was set to take off at 6pm local time but was delayed consistently.

“At around midnight we were given back our luggage and promised accommodation and transfers, which never came.

“Hundreds of people were instead forced to sleep on the concrete floor or conveyor belts in the arrivals section.

“No water, blankets, nothing but a €4 euro voucher which was voided in certain places."

Mr Johns said they barely sleptand witnessed things "you should never have to see".

He claims young children as young as six months old slept on concrete floors with their parents, and elderly couples well into their 70s were sleeping in wheelchairs.

“We were then sent on a wild goose chase across the airport going from departure gate to departure gate," he said.

"At around 11.30pm it was officially confirmed our fight had been cancelled until the next day at 12.30pm due to bad weather which was fine."

Credit: Sam Johns

They finally boarded at around 3pm, 21 hours after they were meant to originally board.

He added: “It was horrible. I have never experienced anything like it in my life. It was pretty traumatic. We are trying to get compensation but that is also proving to be an absolute nightmare due to third-party booking."

In a statement, a Ryanair spokesman said: "A small number of flights to/ from Lanzarote (12 March) were delayed overnight due to heavy fog at Lanzarote Airport. Affected passengers were notified and subsequently updated via email, SMS and PUSH notification.

"Passengers were offered overnight accommodation, however, as there was limited hotel availability in Lanzarote, some passengers remained at the airport and any passengers who arranged their own accommodation were advised that they could claim reimbursement on Ryanair.com.

"To minimise disruption to passengers, Ryanair arranged for rescue flights for the following morning (March 13) when the fog cleared. We sincerely apologise to affected passengers for any inconvenience caused as a result of these weather-related delays, which were entirely beyond our control."

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