Travelers trying to scape Britain for some winter sun were left stranded in a Romanian airport for about a day after their flight was ‘diverted’. The passengers hoping for quick flight to Greece found themselves 24 hours late and three countries away.
The Ryanair flight to Thessaloniki in Greece left London’s Stansted Airport on Friday evening for what was supposed to be a three-hour flight. However, poor weather conditions in Greece resulted in cabin crew diverting the flight and ruining the hopes of those on board looking to enjoy a late night-drink or meal in the northern Greek city.
Rather than diverting the flight’s 200 passengers to Athens or airports in neighboring Albania and Macedonia, the aircraft instead flew north, crossing over Bulgaria to the Romanian city of Timisoara.
Already substantially delayed, passengers were enraged when the airline offered to bus them to Thessaloniki – a journey of over 770km that would take over eight hours to complete.
At least 89 people refused the offer, and instead had to wait in the airport overnight. They later boarded an Aegean Airlines flight organized by the Greek government, eventually arriving in Thessaloniki a little after 5pm on Saturday, nearly a full 24 hours after setting off.
The incident prompted a wave of outrage on social media, with many speculating that Ryanair’s decision to divert all the way to Timisoara was a cost-saving measure, as the budget airline uses the airport as a base of operations.
Apologizing for the diversion that was “beyond” their control, Ryanair said that customers were either offered a coach to their destination or could wait for an alternative flight to be arranged after it “landed normally in Timisoara.”
The incident comes less than a week after the Irish airline was voted the worst short-haul operator serving UK airports, scoring just a 40 percent approval rating from over 7,900 people surveyed. It is the sixth year in a row that the airline has attained the dubious honor.