A flight delay can be a minor setback for your travel plans, but what if it ruins them entirely? Well that’s what happened to Dave Bartholomew, who has joined us as a guest author to tell us more…
For my wife’s 40th birthday in March this year I had decided to book a European city break where my wife and I could relax, do some sightseeing and maybe have a few beers. I thought this was an excellent idea and would earn me massive kudos. However like so many things in life, it didn’t quite go according to plan…
I had booked a flight and accommodation package to Budapest through Jet2 Holidays. Budapest is somewhere my wife had talked about visiting quite a lot, so my decision on the destination was an easy one.
On the morning of our flight the weather was a bit grim, sleet and snow showers mainly, but the snow wasn’t settling on the ground and we were jetting off somewhere else, weren’t we?
We went through the usual pre-flight ritual of security check, purchasing and drinking expensive coffee and then browsing in WH Smiths. We wandered to our gate and boarded our Jet2 flight bound for Budapest at approximately 8.30am. It’s at this point that things went pear shaped for us.
It turned out having boarded the aircraft, that Jet2 couldn’t secure the services of the airport’s de-icing equipment. We ended up sat on the aircraft for just under seven hours.
In that time we were given a complimentary soft drink and offered the opportunity to purchase whatever was left on the in-flight snacks trolley. We weren’t allowed off the aircraft in this time as Jet2 kept telling us that the de-icing equipment was on its way – it wasn’t.
After nearly seven hours on board, feeling anxious, fed up, claustrophobic and like I had made a hash of my wife’s birthday trip away, we both decided to ask again if we could get off the aircraft. And that’s what we did, abandoning our trip along with it.
We exited the aircraft and spent the night in Manchester, not Budapest I’ll grant you, but we made the most of it. The flight I believe finally left after a nine hour delay.
Having written three letters to Jet2 since our aborted trip, we received one rather generic ‘adverse weather’ response stating that we were not entitled to any refund.
Now call us old fashioned but we would have liked a personal letter apologising for keeping us on the aircraft for nearly seven hours and acknowledging that we had abandoned our travel plans. I’d also argue that light sleet/snow in the north of England in early March isn’t really adverse weather.
In the end I took to Twitter to contact Jet2 and ask for a response to the points in our letter, we got a reply after three weeks or so that didn’t directly answer the points we raised in our letters.
I’m really disappointed with Jet2 and their handling of the situation and I would dearly love to keep on at them until a satisfactory outcome is reached. But I’ll be honest, I don’t think I’ll get anywhere.
But it’s hard work and time consuming trying to get your point across to them and I think I’m just about out of fight. Next time, maybe I’ll plan a trip to the Yorkshire Dales instead.
This is a guest contribution from Dave Bartholomew. All views expressed here are Dave’s own and not necessarily those shared by Which?.