Video: Passenger records 11-hour delay on Ryanair flight from Stansted

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Ryanair recovery

An angry passenger has posted a video online chronicling his Ryanair flight from hell on Valentine's Day.

The short flight from Stansted to Portugal was supposed to leave at around 8.30pm. It didn't board until 12.15am - but that was only the beginning of the story.

At 3.00am, after waiting on the runway for nearly three hours, passengers were reportedly told that the airport was now closed, but that they would have to stay on the plane.

The situation was only resolved when the police arrived. The video shows an officer entering the plane and explaining that the airport authorities had been given an ultimatum.

"We've given them a time frame, and if they don't come back to us within that time, we're going to let you go back into the terminal building itself into a restricted area which is airside, so you can get to the toilets and get refreshments," the officer explains.

"Unfortunately, there's nowhere actually open for you to get refreshments, but at least you can start to stretch your legs."

Passengers were finally able to do this at 3.45am - although the police were forced to break into the building, setting off alarms. Here, there was yet another long wait, with passengers finally leaving at around 8.30am.

It was on February 14, of course, that severe storms hit the south of England, with more than 20 other airlines' flights being diverted to Stansted and causing severe congestion. Ryanair has issued a statement blaming the weather for the delay, along with refuelling problems.

"Ryanair sincerely apologised to all passengers affected by these adverse weather delays, which were outside of our control," it says. "With this flight and every flight we always work hard to get our customers to their destination." It adds that passengers were given refreshment vouchers.

Ryanair has commented further on the incident. A spokesperson said the airline made every effort to get passengers off the plane as soon as possible. She added that customers were given water on board and that air conditioning was switched on.

By law, when a flight within the EU is delayed by more than two hours, airlines are required to offer travellers meals - although it's debatable whether refreshment vouchers count for much when all the food outlets are closed.

The weary Ryanair passengers should at least be able to get some compensation for their ordeal. After a three-hour delay, air travellers are entitled to between €250 and €600, depending on the length of the flight. Customers should approach the airline first for compensation, but can complain to the Civil Aviation Authority if they feel they've been short-changed.

How to claim compensation for delayed and cancelled flights

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