Hundreds of people face holiday hell after being stranded for almost 40 hours.
Passengers from across Lancashire have been left waiting with packed suitcases in airports in both Manchester and Greece after their plane developed a ‘technical fault’.
One of them, 25-year-old Jack Watson from Anchorsholme, said: “We are stuck. It’s embarrassing.”
Airline Small Planet blamed the chaos on a hydraulic problem on its aircraft, and said engineers were working to fix the fault, which also caused knock-on problems to holidaymakers waiting for later flights.
The fault sparked chaos after an 11am flight from Manchester to Corfu was delayed and later cancelled yesterday.
It is now expected to take off at 12.55am tomorrow. And Jack, a care worker from Buckden Close, said he has to wait for it to land, and be cleaned and refuelled, before he can fly home.
He said: “That means we won’t be leaving until 8am, so we were looking at an alternative flight, but I’ve just been told it’s full so we’re stuck.”
Jack, who was in the Greek resort of Paleokastritsa with his family for a wedding on Friday, was due to fly home from Corfu at 5.15pm on Monday, but was told there was a two-hour delay when they arrived at the airport.
After waiting for more than six hours in 30 degree heat, they were taken to an apartment block in nearby party capital Kavos, which Jack described as an ‘18-30’ venue.
“Music blasting. Have to pay for air con. Room full of mosquitos and horrendous beds,” he said.
“Finally asleep by 2am. Wake up at 7 because you can’t sleep because of the uncomfortable bed and all the bugs.”
After going to the bar for a coffee, Jack was told they wouldn’t be flying until later that night – but now expects to set off tomorrow.
Small Planet and travel agent Olympic Holidays have been berated by angry passengers on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day, and were accused of failing to properly handle the delays.
Olympic Holidays tweeted to say it was awaiting information from Small Planet, which released a statement online at 12.45pm.
The Lithuanian firm ‘sincerely apologised’ to passengers and said: “Please rest assure we do everything we can to eliminate the technical issues, and all we can do now is trust our engineers that are repairing the hydraulic system.
“This system is crucial for the safety of the flight as well as necessary for the control of the aircraft.
“We will operate the flight as soon as we are sure it is 100 per cent safe. We are also actively searching for a replacement aircraft, however it is currently not available due to intensive flight schedule in all Europe.”
Shortly before 3pm, it added: “Dear passengers, the delayed flight from Manchester to Corfu is going to take off at 12.55am Manchester time.
“We apologise for all the inconveniences. Thank you one more time for your patience.”
Nobody at Olympic Holidays could be reached for a comment.
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