The EZY8232 flight to London Gatwick was supposed to leave at 9.10pm on Saturday (Pictures: Charlie Johnson)
About 200 people were forced to sleep on the airport floor after their flight from Rhodes to London was delayed more than 18 hours.
The EZY8232 flight to London Gatwick was supposed to leave Rhodes Airport at 9.10pm last night, but everyone who was expecting to be on the plane was still waiting almost 20 hours later.
Londoner Charlie Johnson, 30, and her boyfriend Joshua White, 31, had gone to the Greek island for four nights to ‘get some sun and read their books’.
But like so many other tourists last week, their holiday has turned into a nightmare with wildfires raging through the area, leading to the evacuation of thousands.
Charlie and Joshua are two of the 200 Charlie estimates were left ‘stranded’, with ‘absolutely no communication’ from easyJet on Saturday night.
She told Metro.co.uk: ‘We were given a voucher for €4.50 which covers the cost of a Fanta. A coffee is €4.75 and the cheapest sandwich is €6.50 so it doesn’t even cover a meal.
‘There was no information, we were just left to sleep on the floor overnight and wait until we knew when we knew our flight was going to arrive. There are lots of young children, elderly people, disabled people all just being left to sit on the floor and fend for themselves and live off a €4.50 voucher.’
Charlie trying to get some sleep on the floor at Rhodes Airport (Picture: Joshua White)
Charlie and Joshua had gone on holiday to ‘get some sun and read their books’ (Picture: Charlie Johnson)
They said they were most frustrated at the lack of communication from easyJet (Picture: Charlie Johnson)
EasyJet told Metro.co.uk the situation was caused by ‘a large number of customers deciding on the inbound flight that they no longer wanted to travel to Rhodes’.
The airline said it could not offer hotel accommodation ‘due to the situation in Rhodes following the wildfires’.
It has since announced two repatriation flights will take place tomorrow, with a third on Tuesday.
Charlie said: ‘There aren’t any hotels left because they’re being used for people who have been evacuated because of the fires.’
She went on: ‘It is absolute carnage. We’re also stuck in the departure gate because we’ve gone through passport control so we now can’t leave the area.
‘So we’re limited to a very small part of the airport with only one restaurant that accepts our vouchers and only one bathroom and it is heaving. There are not enough seats.
‘There are people who have asked to just leave the airport and arrange their own alternative plans but we’re literally not allowed to leave – because our baggage is on the plane I think.’
This map shows which parts of Rhodes have been hit by wildfires (Picture: Metro.co.uk)
A firefighting plane drops water over a wildfire burning near Asklipio (Picture: Reuters)
An easyJet plane reportedly arrived at Rhodes Airport at around 8am this morning, which about 50 people were able to board, according to Ben Wright, who was also supposed to be on the flight.
He said children, families and the elderly were trapped in a 40°C cabin with no aircon and no news for half an hour, before they were informed the plane would actually not be flying.
EasyJet confirmed that the delay caused by having to re-board the inbound flight pushed the flight crew past the legal number of hours they are allowed to work.
The travellers were told the pilot would come and speak to them but footage posted on Twitter shows an airport worker announcing: ‘The captain has refused to come and speak to passengers.
‘We have no information from easyJet at this point with what is happening with your flight and we do apologise.’
Charlie said there were multiple children, elderly and disabled people waiting to get home (Picture: Charlie Johnson)
Charlie said: ‘Everyone is really frustrated. Quite a low of people are upset. It would almost be better if easyJet just held their hands up “we screwed up” but we’ve just not heard anything from them.’
At around 4.20pm local time, easyJet started ‘some sort of boarding by reading out names one by one’ to determine who could get onto the plane, Charlie said.
Police were called to hold the crowd back as they tried to push to the front to ask for more information about who was being allowed to board.
Eventually, they were told families with children could go through.
‘It’s like the Titanic or The Hunger Planes,’ Charlie joked.
She added: ‘I obviously do feel really awful for the people who had to evacuate their hotels and stuff. We’re stuck in an airport which is obviously far better than being stuck on a beach – I’m not insensitive to what’s going on.’
When the couple got to the front of the queue, they were part of a group of between 20 and 25 who were told there were not enough seats for them, Charlie said.
About an hour later, Charlie said the plane had not left yet, ‘so they’re all sitting on a plane with no air con in 40°C temperatures’.
She has not been told ‘anything’ about when she and the remaining passengers are going to be able to leave. They have all been given another €4.50 voucher.
EasyJet said: ‘We are very sorry that Saturday evening’s flight from Rhodes to Gatwick was delayed due to a large number of customers deciding on the inbound flight that they no longer wanted to travel to Rhodes.
‘This meant all passengers needed to be re-boarded which caused a further delay which unfortunately led to the crew exceeding their maximum duty time and required the inbound aircraft from Gatwick to divert to Athens.
‘This meant that the flight from Rhodes to Gatwick had to be delayed overnight and operated by a replacement aircraft.’
The company added: ‘The safety and well-being of our customers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority. We would like to apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.’
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