A hen party from Huddersfield has been left stranded in Alicante after their flight home was cancelled.
A weekend in sunny Spain for Clayton West bride-to-be Kate Williams and her friends turned into an expensive nightmare for the group who have had to fork out thousands of pounds in total for food, accommodation and a flight to get them back to the UK.
The 12-strong party flew out from Manchester to Alicante with easyJet last Saturday (Oct 7) for three carefree days in Benidorm.
They were due to return on a 5.20pm flight last Tuesday with Norwegian Air.
But Kate said: “We were delayed almost seven hours in the airport and then finally – after being told absolutely nothing – they emailed to say the flight was cancelled. They provided us with accommodation for one night and gave us vouchers for taxis.
“We rang them and they said they were trying to find us alternative flights, but when they called again they said they had no solution for us. We were completely on our own.”
Kate, 39, said: “Luckily, two of the party have got credit cards and between us we have been able to find £550 for a basic apartment in San Juan to stay in. But we have had to scrape together what food we had.”
Finally, the group contacted independent travel agent Maria Goddard in Huddersfield who was able to get the party booked on a flight home tomorrow (SAT) with airline Vueling. But they have had to pay £260 each for seats on the plane as opposed to £45 each for their cancelled flight with Norwegian Air.
Kate said: “The flight leaves Alicante at 7am and flies to Barcelona where we will have a five-and-a-quarter hour stopover before flying to Manchester and arriving at 3pm. We were offered a flight for nine of us to Gatwick, which would have departed today (FRI), but we did not think it was fair to leave anyone behind.”
Stuck in Spain with Kate are her mother Elaine Clarkson and friends Kimberly Osborn-Clegg, Lesley Crank and her mum Christine Crank, Michelle Ainley, Sue Evans, Lyndsay White, Caroline Ling, Lou Shone and Shona Beattie. The 12th member of the group, Sarah Higgins, got a flight home last night (THURS).
Kate said the party had booked flights and accommodation separately rather than as a package deal to save money – but instead of spending just hundreds of pounds had ended up spending more than £3,000 altogether.
Kate said the delay had caused massive disruption for everyone.
“We all have families and we all have jobs to go to,” she said. “Two of us are hairdressers and have had to cancel clients’ appointments. One of the girls has missed her daughter’s special school assembly. A few of us have lost wages. Kimberley twisted her knee on the first day of the holiday and we have had to get her a walking stick.”
Kate and fiance Chris Leavy, 50, are due to get married on November 18 at Huddersfield Town Hall.
She said: “We’re both hairdressers and Christmas is our busy time, so we were due to go somewhere at the end of January for our honeymoon. But it’s not looking likely having had to pay for all this.”
A Norwegian Air spokesperson said: "We are very sorry for the cancellation of the Norwegian flight from Alicante to Manchester on 10 October, caused by the ongoing industrial action with French air traffic control. Passengers were updated directly by SMS and offered free flight rebooking or a full refund. We have opened a dedicated hotline and our airport teams are also helping arrange hotel accommodation for those passengers that need it. We would like to sincerely apologise to passengers for the inconvenience caused."