A Belfast family has been forced to book new flights home from Turkey with a different airline after easyJet canceled their return journey.
It comes as travelers faced another weekend of disruption after a number of easyJet flights to and from Belfast were canceled.
Passengers were left stranded after the airline canceled services between Belfast and the likes of Gatwick and Manchester.
Read more: Co Down couple left in Turkey for extra week after easyJet cancellation flight
Meanwhile those traveling from Dublin Airport were also hit over the weekend by lengthy security queues, leading to officials to warn passengers they may miss their flights.
A return easyJet service between Belfast and Dalaman was along those canceled on Saturday.
Lisa Browning, 32, and her family from Dundonald, arrived at the Turkish resort on May 14 and were set to return home on May 28 after enjoying a belated holiday with family and friends.
However, the family of five’s plans abruptly changed after easyJet canceled their flight home with little notice and left them in the lurch.
“Our flight home to Belfast from Dalaman at 10pm on Saturday night was canceled 14hrs and 30mins before we were due to fly,” Lisa told Belfast Live.
“We were packed and ready to go at that stage and then the text message and email came through at 7:34am (Turkey time). We followed the instructions but when we did the next available flight with easyjet wasn’t until 10 days later (June 7).
“The details on the email only stated that if there were no flights available for the same day, they would offer a hotel room for the night of the canceled flight.
“They never made clear that if there wasn’t a flight for 10 days, what we would do for accommodation. We couldn’t even request accommodation until the flight was changed so God knows where they would have put us to stay.”
Lisa explained: “We were originally a party of 18 friends on holiday and having a great time then this happened. The other families had booked a package with easyjet so they were all given alternative flights that night to mainland UK.
“Some went to Bristol and Manchester and the others were flown to Glasgow. However we weren’t given that option because we only booked flights with the airline so we feel totally abandoned.”
As their alternative flight wasn’t until 10 days later, Lisa and her family had no option but to book with a different airline and will instead fly home on Thursday with Jet2.
“Myself and my family didn’t have enough medication for a further 10 days stay nor did we have the money to pay for the hotel for the further nine nights,” she added.
“We were all due back to work on Monday too so we’ve had to phone in and explain that we were stuck in Turkey. Myself and my partner both work for the NHS, which is already short staffed so we’ve had to be given emergency annual leave on top of the two weeks holiday we have already had.
“One of the guys on our trip is self-employed and had jobs booked in all this week and a delivery for jobs arriving everything on Monday. He had to spend all day on Saturday phoning suppliers and customers to cancel and has lost out on a week’s wages.”
Lisa’s flights were originally booked for October 2020 to Spain. Due to Covid, they were canceled and rescheduled to May 2021 but that trip was also canceled and rescheduled until this year.
However the family face an anxious time when they return home too.
“Luckily we were paid on Friday so we had the money to book the alternative flights and extend our stay in the hotel that we are currently in. However on our return home, we aren’t paid again until June 27 so I don’t know what we are going to do for food and bills until then,” Lisa said.
“It has cost us over £2,000 for the alternative flights and to extend our accommodation. We have already filed a claim form for Easyjet but we haven’t been given any reassurance that we will be reimbursed for the money we’ve had to pay out as a result of them canceling our flight home.
“We can only hope that they do and that it doesn’t take long or we will have to try and get a loan to pay our bills and for food for the month of June.”
“It has just been a disaster after having such a great holiday with family and friends for it to end like this!”
Lisa said the experience has put her off flying with the airline in the future.
“We will never ever use easyJet again,” she added.
A spokesperson for the airline said: “We are very sorry Ms Browning’s flight EZY6786 from Dalaman to Belfast on 28 May was cancelled. We provided customers with options to rebook or receive a full refund as well as hotel accommodation, along with information on how to arrange this online or via the app.
“We nonetheless 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 customers to provide further assistance and reimburse them for their alternative flights and any other reasonable expenses.”
Over the weekend the travel company said “various operational and supply chain issues” are to blame for the flight cancellations, after it canceled 200 flights from UK airports over the next week.
“We are very sorry for the late notice of some of these cancellations and inconvenience caused for customers booked on these flights, however we believe this is necessary to provide reliable services over this busy period,” it said.
Read more: TUI passengers ‘stranded’ as flight to Spain delayed over technical issues
Read more: Belfast airport queues ‘bedlam’ for early morning flyers
To get the latest breaking news straight to your inbox, sign up to our free newsletter.