Malta to Barcelona to Dublin to London: One family’s nightmare 30-hour journey after easyJet cancels flight

Budget airline cancels three-and-a-half-hour flight, leaving family to take three planes through four countries

<p>easyJet planes at Berlin Tegel airport</p>

easyJet planes at Berlin Tegel airport

Amid this month’s mass flight cancellations, one easyJet customer has spoken out about a nightmare journey home from Malta - where he, his wife and their two children were forced to spend 30 hours in transit at an extra cost of £2,000.

On Monday morning, Tom Rawstorne woke up on the last day of his Malta holiday to find that his flight home had been cancelled overnight, with eight hours’ notice.

“According to their initial email, we had the option of switching to another of their flights ‘for free’,” wrote Mr Rawstorne in the Daily Mail.

“Except that the first one that came up with sufficient availability for our family would not have left until this coming Saturday,” he adds - five days after their initial return date.

“Forget the fact that would have involved a whole week absent from work and school, who in their right mind would put their trust in easyJet a second time?”

In order to avoid the children missing school - not to mention spending extra money on staying in Malta - the Rawstorne family were forced to take a total of three flight legs home to the UK, crossing through Malta, Spain and Ireland.

“We finally arrived home at 7pm on Tuesday – accompanied by only one of our two checked-in suitcases,” says the father of two.

Mr Rawstorne says that it was near-impossible to get hold of a human customer services operative after Monday’s flight cancellation.

He tried contacting the airline on Twitter and received “Sorry” messages with a series of emojis, but very little in the way of practical help.

With no easyJet flight availability for four until 11 June, he began to look into flights home with other airlines.

When an airline cancels a passenger’s flight at short notice, it is obliged to get them home, ideally on the same day they were scheduled to travel - even if that means reimbursing customers for flights with a rival carrier.

“Everyone else was clearly doing the same,” said Mr Rawstorne. “The algorithms did what algorithms do – the prices rising up like a fruit machine, from £200 to £600 a seat. By the time I clicked on the ‘pay’ button, the flights had gone.”

He booked flights for the family to Barcelona, in the hope that there would be plenty of connections back to the UK. However, he found none that day - meaning a night in a hotel was added to the bill, followed by a flight the following day from Barcelona to London via Dublin.

This added £2,000 extra to the cost of the family’s Mediterranean break.

“Not everyone will have the ability to shell out that amount of money,” said Mr Rawstorne. “Particularly when there is no guarantee as to how much – if any – of the additional outlay the airline will pay back.”

Although easyJet included links to compensation forms in its initial cancellation email, he says, “there are caveats galore about only booking hotels if easyJet is unable to do so”.

“As for the compensation claim – which can pay out up to £350 a passenger – the reply states that their ‘specialist assessment and legal team’ will investigate and get back to me within 28 days,” he added.

“Instead of fulfilling their basic function – to get you from A to B and back again – airlines like easyJet are simply abandoning their customers.”

An easyJet spokesperson said:“We are very sorry that Mr Rawstorne and his family’s flight from Malta to Gatwick was cancelled. While we provide customers with accommodation and meals as well as 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 the family and we are very sorry. We have been in touch with Mr Rawstorne to apologise for his experience, reimburse him for his expenses and provide the compensation he is due.”

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