Holidaymakers escaping the UK for some January sun in Greece were left angry and stranded in a faraway airport for about a day after they were diverted – and the low-cost airline suggested taking an eight-hour bus route instead.
The Ryanair flight to Thessaloniki in Greece left Londons 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 flights 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.
A new low from #Ryanair. Due to severe weather conditions, one of its planes couldn't reach Thessaloniki in #Greece and decided to land in Timisoara in #Romania, some 750 kilometers away! They didn't pick Athens or some other regional Greek airport. Unbelievable. pic.twitter.com/IEZ2n9aTMB
— Makis Mylonas (@MylonasMakis) January 5, 2019
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 Ryanairs 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.
Yesterday, #Ryanair instead of landing to Thessaloniki, Greece, as scheduled, preffered to land to Timisoara, Romania! Yes! ANOTHER COUNTRY, indeed! Due to snow they said. But in Greece we had dozens of airports without snow! Maybe Romania was cheaper, poor passengers.
— Anna Skardu (@AnnaSkardu) January 6, 2019
#Ryanair voted worst travel-company by UK passenger & not set to improve with its latest stunt: because Ryanair has a base at a Romanian airport, flight to Greece ends up three countries away. https://t.co/FUpsSLrU90
— CatL (@DHLou01) January 6, 2019
Worst airline ever! 40airports at Greece and you sent people at Romania? Are you serious? People are more important than your fucking money!! #Ryanair
— trelo_mwro (@ioannastvr) January 5, 2019
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.
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