A group of friends celebrating a 60th birthday in Spain said Ryanair cancelled their flight and told them they would have to wait four days for another one.
The friends were boarding the flight from Malaga to Manchester on Thursday when they were told the flight had been cancelled and they had to disembark.
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They were then informed they would have to wait four days for another flight to Manchester.
The flight problems had reportedly stemmed from a French air traffic control strike.
Pete Harrington, who was celebrating his brother Mark's birthday, saidRyanair offered to cover two nights' accommodation but that they had to sort the other two nights themselves.
He said he had desperately tried to contact Ryanair without success after the first night staying in a hotel.
Speaking to the Manchester Evening News, Pete said: "It was appalling service from start to finish, Ryanair were useless and their attitude stunk. It was a horrendous end to what had been a fantastic week for my brother's birthday.
After two nights, the group decided that rather than pay for two further nights' accommodation, it would be cheaper to fly into Newcastle on Saturday, then pay for two minibuses to take them home to Oldham at a cost of £200 per taxi.
A Ryanair spokesman said the flight was cancelled due to an "unjustified" French Air Traffic Control strike.
According to the Mirror and the Manchester Evening News, he added: "Affected customers were contacted by email and SMS advising them of their options: a full refund, a free transfer to the next available flight or a free transfer on to an alternative flight, in full compliance with EU261 legislation.
"The customers were transferred onto an alternative available flight (to Newcastle on Saturday) and advised to provide receipted expenses. However, we have had no contact from the customers since and will be happy to look into this matter further when they make contact."