Bristol Airport easyJet flight to Madeira turns into an 11-hour nightmare that never reached its destination

Passengers on an easyJet flight from Bristol Airport to Madeira in Portugal were eventually left staying in a London Gatwick hotel after their crossing turned into a 17-hour ordeal. Passengers on the early-morning flight on Monday (April 18) to Cristiano Ronaldo Airport never reached their destination and were instead treated to an 11-hour flight circling the area and then being stuck in limbo.

The flight from the discount airline from Bristol to Funchal ended up circling the Portuguese island twice, diverting to a different island, then back to the Portugal mainland and finally back to Bristol without the passengers ever getting off. And when they got back off in the Westcountry, the problems did not end, reports Bristol Live.

The passengers described ‘chaotic’ scenes as the passengers were left waiting for almost three hours before they were told what was happening to them. Those on board the flight ended up being bussed to Gatwick, checked into a hotel nearby after midnight, and told they would have to get themselves the check-in at 5am this morning to make a second attempt to start their holidays.

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Airline easyJet has apologized for what happened, and said high winds at Funchal Airport meant the flight was canceled while the passengers were still on it. Those on board have now, finally, arrived at Cristiano Ronaldo Airport on the Madeiran island, around 24 hours later than planned, and said the best thing about the experience was that the passengers developed ‘great camaraderie’ in the face of a deteriorating situation.

“They told us that the wind speed at Funchal was too high to land, but we were stacked up in a queue twice and other planes made it down,” one passenger told Bristol Live. “We saw Madeira from the air multiple times but never managed to land at Funchal – the diversion to Porto Santo, which was very nearby, was apparently to take on fuel to circle Funchal again several more times without landing. “

“The pilot then made some excuse about needing more fuel from Faro and had clearly decided we were heading back to Bristol afterwards. No one was allowed out at Porto Santo, and no reason was given and if we’d have gotten off there we could have got a ferry to Funchal.

“A handful of passengers with hand luggage only were allowed off at Faro, but told they were then on their own as the company had decided Bristol was where we were being taken,” he added.



easyJet has said high winds around Funchal were to blame

But having seen their holiday destination from the air several times during the day, their trip ended back where they started at around 6pm, about 11 hours after they first took off, at Bristol Airport. And that, according to the passengers, is where things got worse.

“When we got back to Bristol it was chaotic and the phone line staff were giving little to no consistent information and frequently dropping the calls,” said one passenger, Cardiff University scientist Timothy Easun, who was traveling on a family holiday.

“One of the subcontracted ground staff went above and beyond to find out what was going on, to get us on a coach to Gatwick, that got us to a hotel just after midnight, from where we had to book ourselves taxis to Gatwick itself for 5 am to get there in time for the morning flight. Which we have had to book ourselves and will have to claim back, ”he added.

The almost three hours at Bristol Airport last night saw passengers trying to find out for themselves what was happening.

“There was a total lack of communication at Bristol,” said Dr Easun. “We started optimistic on the plane, but when the pilot pulled us out of the waiting stack and headed to Faro it was obvious we were in for a really long day. People were most upset that the pilot led us on to think we might go back to try again when it was evident we would not, and that there was no support on the ground in Bristol: The app did not work, the website wasn ‘t working and the people on the phone were rude and unhelpful. By the time the coach arrived we were all very tired and resigned to our fate, ”he added.

A spokesperson for easyJet apologized for what happened, and said the windspeed was too high to be safe to land.

“We can confirm that flight EZY6245 from Bristol to Funchal diverted to Porto Santo and subsequently to Faro, as a result of winds gusting outside the limits of the aircraft,” he said. “As the forecast was unfortunately not set to improve, the decision was taken to return to Bristol the flight was to be canceled.

“Whilst this was outside of our control we are very sorry for the inconvenience caused as a result of the weather. We did all possible to minimize the impact of the disruption for affected customers, providing hotel meals and accommodation where required, as well as the option to transferring to an alternative for free, or receive a voucher or refund.

“The safety and wellbeing of our customers and crew is our highest priority,” he added.

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