Holidaymakers stuck at airports after storm in Canaries

Holidaymakers stuck at airports after storm in Canaries

UK holidaymakers were stranded at airports in the Canary Islands after flights were disrupted by a severe storm.

Many travellers expressed frustration that they were not provided with accommodation.

More than 70 flights were affected when the popular Spanish islands were hit by strong winds and heavy rain on Sunday, according to Spanish state broadcaster RTVE.

Aircraft were forced to divert to the Canary Island of Fuerteventura as well as Faro, Portugal and Marrakesh, Morocco as they were unable to land on Tenerife and Lanzarote.

Around 1,000 passengers spent the night at Fuerteventura airport, according to local media.

Jason Wilkinson, 30, from London, has been stranded at the airport for 21 hours with his pregnant girlfriend after their Thomas Cook Airlines flight to Lanzarote was diverted.

He said they slept on the floor in the terminal building among several families with babies and children.

There were “lots of tears”, he told the Press Association.

Mr Wilkinson said he was able to book a hotel room nearby despite being told by Thomas Cook that none were available.

But he was unable to retrieve his bag and was not permitted to leave the airport.

“I wasted my money,” he said. “I don’t even know where to begin in terms of getting compensated for this utter mess.”

He added that his girlfriend needed folic acid pregnancy tablets from her suitcase, while other families are being denied access to their medication and nappies for babies.

Tui customer Teri McGuinness has been stuck at Tenerife South Airport for more than 15 hours.

The hairdresser from Essex described the situation as an “absolute joke”, and complained that she was unable to find anyone representing the company.

In a Twitter message to the firm, she wrote: “Having your customers sleep on the floor rather that put them up in accommodation is shocking!”

Thomas Cook Airlines said it was “very sorry” for the inconvenience caused by flights being diverted due to bad weather.

A spokeswoman for the tour operator said hotel accommodation could not be found for all affected passengers due to the large number of people at airports.

Customers who spent the night at the airport were given food and drink vouchers and the firm’s ground handling agents were there to provide support and answer questions, she said.

Thomas Cook Airlines expected Monday’s flight schedule to operate as planned but warned “small delays” may occur.

A Tui spokesman apologised for the disruption to flights, adding: “Due to the amount of flights disrupted in Tenerife we were unable to find accommodation for our passengers, so welfare was issued instead.”

A spokesman for travel trade organisation Abta said: “Where customers have been delayed or had their flights cancelled they will be entitled to welfare under EU regulation 261, which requires airlines to provide refreshments appropriate to the length of the delay and accommodation if required for longer delays.

“Customers whose flights had been diverted will be entitled to the same welfare.”

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