A British couple say it took them an additional 36 hours to reach their holiday destination after their Ryanair flight “landed on the wrong Canary Island”.
Martyn Gray and Emma Gatenby, from Darlington, were due to fly from Newcastle Airport to Gran Canaria on 25 September with the budget airline, for a short four-day break in the sun.
However, their brief holiday was cut even shorter when their flight landed not in Gran Canaria but Lanzarote, another island around 130 miles away.
The couple says the flight circled Gran Canaria in stormy weather, attempting to land for around an hour, before the pilot made the decision to divert to the neighbouring island.
Around 140 flights were cancelled on 25 September, when a red weather alert was put out by Spanish weather agencies.
Mr Gray says that after landing Lanzarote, Ryanair did not assist passengers or communicate clearly as to how they should reach their original destination.
He told The Northern Echo: “We got diverted to Lanzarote and the cabin crew told us to get our bags as normal. Everyone was trying to get to the Ryanair desk to ask what was going on but they couldn’t tell us. It was just chaos, there were older couples and a lady with a baby there, too.
“It was so stressful, and no one was telling us anything – it put a real dampener on the whole holiday.”
He says that after waiting around for an airline representative, passengers were told to board coaches to the island’s ferry terminal, where they were left outside in the rain.
Mr Gray says it was unclear if Ryanair was covering the travel involved in the detour.
“We eventually got put on some coaches to get a ferry but no one there knew we were coming so they didn’t know whether we had to pay or not,” he told reporters.
The couple ended up taking two ferries, via a stop in a third island, Fuerteventura, before they could get to Gran Canaria.
“We were all waiting around outside in the rain for more than an hour before we eventually got on the ferry and went to Fuerteventura.”
Here, the couple says, Ryanair did assist with getting passengers a hotel for the night, but throughout the experience customers had to rely on each other for messages about what was happening next.
“They put us up in a hotel for the night before we had to get another ferry to get to Gran Canaria, but no one told us when they were coming to collect us, we only found out from a couple we met at breakfast. I’m sure other people will have missed the coach,” said Mr Gray.
“It took us 36 hours to get to our hotel, so we only had two full days of the holiday, it was just a nightmare,” he added.
“We were really looking forward to going and we were only meant to be there for four days, so it took nearly half our holiday to get to the hotel.
“We both work hard and we haven’t been together that long so we’d been really looking forward to it. It puts me off ever using Ryanair again - the way they handled it all was a shambles.
“We’ve pretty much done a tour of all the Canary Islands!”
A Ryanair spokesperson said: “This flight from Newcastle to Las Palmas (25 Sept) diverted to Lanzarote due to bad weather conditions and runway lighting failure in Las Palmas, which were entirely beyond Ryanair’s control.
“Ryanair notified affected passengers and provided them with alternative transport and overnight accommodation before transporting them to Gran Canaria (26 Sept) when weather conditions improved the following day.
“We sincerely apologise to customers for any inconvenience caused as a result of these weather disruptions.”
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