Stag party spends hundreds on bikes to get home after easyJet flight cancelled

‘At the time it didn’t feel like fun, but I had two of the best days of my life with 13 best friends and this just topped it off,’ groom-to-be says

Stag do party forced to spend £1,300 on bikes to get home after flight cancelled

A group of friends on a stag do were stranded in Amsterdam after their flight home was cancelled, so went undertook an epic 230-mile trek back to the UK on bicycles they were forced to buy from locals.

The British had enjoyed two days in the Dutch capital and were booked onto an easyJet flight to return to London Gatwick at 1.25pm on Saturday 4 June.

The flight was scrapped and their options to return to Britain by air or rail were limited – so the 14-strong party decided the best route was take a train to Calais and board a ferry.

However, when they called to enquire about the crossing to Dover they were told foot passengers were not allowed, although bikes were.

Undeterred, the group spent the afternoon buying bicycles from locals in Brussels and Lille by visiting shops and looking on Facebook.

Thirteen the 14 managed to buy a bike within just three hours, at a total cost of more than £1,300.

And, arriving in Calais, the last member of the group convinced a young couple to let him into their car for the crossing.

This meant all 14 arrived safely in Dover just 12 hours after their flight had been cancelled.

Groom-to-be Alex Sisan, 29, said: “We had the craziest day, but we just wanted to get home – we ended up spending €1,540 (£1,300) on bikes.

“At the time it didn’t feel like fun, but I had two of the best days of my life with 13 best friends and this just topped it off.

“Looking back, the experience was so stressful and like something from a movie or a Top Gear challenge.

“But it was so much fun and a brilliant story that I will be telling at the wedding, and hopefully to my kids, and then their kids.”

The stag do crew and their motley assortment of two-wheeled transportation

The group arrived in Amsterdam on 2 June and stayed in a hotel in the city centre.

They were then booked onto an easyJet flight to return from Schiphol airport two days later, and arrived five hours early to beat the queues.

But, after standing in line for security for hours, they were dismayed to find out their flight had been cancelled.

After trying to reach easyJet for help, they decided simply leaving the airport was the best option.

Fruitless attempts at renting a car and getting Eurostar tickets ensued, before it was suggested that a ferry to Dover would be viable.

The party then boarded a train to Calais, which went via Brussels and Lille.

But, while travelling, they discovered that safety rules prevented foot passengers from using the only service they could make that day.

It was then that one member suggested trying to buy 14 bikes during stop-overs in the European cities.

Some managed to buy bikes in Brussels, while the rest picked up bargains in Lille.

Mr Sisan, who is getting married next month, said: “We had to spend two hours running around Lille to get bikes.

“We had booked a Calais to Dover crossing but you needed bikes to get on – no foot passengers were allowed.

“I was on Facebook Marketplace for two hours, with the pin location set to Lille, trying to arrange to buy some of these bikes. They ranged from €40 to €220.”

Alex Sisan and his 13 friends eventually paid some £340 each on extra transportation

Thirteen members of the group managed to find bikes including by bartering with locals in secondhand shops.

But, when they got back to the train station in Lille, they hit another snag.

The one service that would get them to Calais in time would only take fold-up bikes, with no exceptions.

This meant the group had to hail down taxis to drive them down to the port at a cost of €350 per car.

Arriving in Calais with less than an hour to spare, the group boarded the ferry with the help of a charitable couple who let the 14th, bikeless member into their car.

They then landed in Dover at about 11.30pm.

Mr Sisan, from Worthing, West Sussex, said: “All in all, we all must have spent at least €400 each, then we had to get lifts from Dover. But this ended up being the best weekend of my life.”

Thousands of Britons are still stranded in Europe amid ongoing travel chaos put down to various issues, such as staffing and weather.

An easyJet spokesperson said: “We are very sorry that the group’s flight from Amsterdam to London Gatwick was cancelled.

“We notified customers directly of their options to rebook or receive a refund and are providing hotel accommodation and meals where required.

“Our customer service hours and hotel accommodation sourcing have been extended to support impacted customers and help get them to their destination as soon as possible.

“Nonetheless we fully understand the disruption this will have caused to their plans and we are very sorry for this.

“Our team are reaching out to the group to talk through their options and reimburse them for any reasonable expenses.”

SWNS

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