Holidaymakers trying to return home from the sandstorm-hit Canary Islands have told of their frustration after being flown without their baggage to Spain instead of the UK.
Passengers of airline Jet2 who were unable to travel on Sunday due to the storm were offered a new flight on Tuesday from Tenerife to East Midlands Airport – but this was diverted halfway through the journey to Malaga.
Jet2 paid for those on board to stay at a hotel in the city but, due to processing issues in the Canary Islands airport, passengers’ luggage did not come with them.
“It’s been extremely frustrating from a communication point of view,” passenger Lee Wain told the PA news agency.
Mr Wain said that after landing in Malaga on Tuesday they did not reach a hotel room until 3am. Their rescheduled flight is due to arrive in the UK at 11.10pm on Wednesday – 72 hours after they were originally set to land.
“We still have no idea where our luggage is or when we will get it back,” he added.
“The resort which we were shipped to was very good and couldn’t do enough for us but when you’re stuck in the clothes you’re wearing from the previous day knowing you’re travelling back later that day with hours to kill makes the whole episode a little uncomfortable.”
The 45-year-old from Mansfield, Nottinghamshire, was on holiday with his son and wife Nicole, who filmed the moment their pilot informed those on board that they would be diverted to Malaga without their bags – which was met with both cheers and groans.
“Cannot praise the captain enough for his honesty and support in trying to resolve an appalling problem created by Jet2 operations,” another passenger, who chose to remain anonymous, told PA.
The holidaymaker was travelling with her son and partner and said they were left with “zero information” for seven hours on Tuesday before the flight.
“Children and elderly folk were given no priority which was the main issue for me,” she said.
Jet2 said in a statement: “To help deal with the backlog of flights, Tenerife Airport allowed for extra capacity yesterday, however the volume of flights resulted in delays and problems processing baggage at the airport.
“As a result, our crew did not have sufficient operating hours to fly from Tenerife to the UK due to CAA Flight Time Regulations.
“We therefore took the decision to fly customers to airports where we could provide hotel accommodation for the night.
“We do of course sincerely apologise to all affected customers for any inconvenience caused by this continued disruption, which comes on the back of extraordinary circumstances that were completely beyond our control.”
The airline said all baggage will be flown back to the UK “as a matter of priority”.