My easyJet flight from Bristol Airport to Lisbon left me sleeping in Dublin Airport – Aaliyah Miller

When planning a vacation, there are many things you need to consider and prepare for. Like if your suitcase will meet the weight limit, if your sunscreen has a high enough SPF, or if your passport and Covid pass are always up to date.

My friends and I had booked a vacation to Lisbon last year so we were more than prepared, with all of these things taken care of when the exciting day arrived. We had seen the stories about Bristol airport and it’s chaos so we even took the extra step of buying ‘fast boarding’ and heading to the airport with hours to spare.

To our delight, our efforts seemed to bear fruit. And so after waiting about an hour for check-in, as we were too early, we ditched our cases and headed to brunch at the airport.

READ MORE: Bristol Airport has canceled flight updates as the terminal looks like a ‘zoo’ – EasyJet and TUI disrupted

We ate and enjoyed – while doing your usual business at the airport, checking screens and locating your gate as well as a duty free trip to pick up last minute items like makeup and cosmetics. toiletries, which due to liquid restrictions were easier to unpack from home.

At this point, we were more than excited for some quality sun, sea and “girl time”. We treated ourselves to a Starbucks, before heading to our gate to prepare for boarding.

The gate was filled with excited vacationers, eager to sit on the plane we could see through the window. There were only ten minutes left before boarding and we were more than ready to leave.

Things seemed to take a turn when the cabin crew emerged, one member catching everyone’s attention to make an announcement we could barely hear. “There were computer problems, your flight was cancelled,” he announced.

My friends and I exchanged looks and honestly I thought he had us all on. “We can’t hear you,” a passenger shouted, prompting the cabin crew member to move to the microphone across the room.

From there, he sheepishly let us know that our flight was not going to go ahead, as the news was only delivered a few minutes before we boarded. He then asked us to speak further with easyJet customer service, without providing any further explanation of what was going on.

It was fair to say that everyone was in a state of confusion. We honestly expected someone to tell us it was a joke. I mean surely, it’s not the norm for your flight to be canceled ten minutes before boarding without further instruction on what you should do.

Reality hit when we looked out the window to see our suitcases being removed from the plane. The next announcement was made by another member of staff – who let us know that a bus was coming to escort us.

Scenes at Bristol airport security

“How far?” replied a confused passenger, speaking on behalf of almost everyone in the room. Again, we received no further instructions.

The icing on the cake was the next announcement that was delivered – which let us know that Bristol Airport did not have an easyJet customer service desk and that our concerns needed to be escalated to the easyJet app. Of course, the distraught passengers then all flocked to their phones, only to find an app that didn’t work. Ironic.

And then, to really set the scene, the staff let us know that all of our duty-free purchases should be returned. As if we weren’t embarrassed enough.

At this point I decided to call easyJet customer service – which I surprisingly reached within about 15 minutes. I spoke with a woman who let me know that the best she could do for my two friends and I was to book us a flight, a week later. Definitely something that my annual leave or Airbnb reservation did not allow.

On top of that, we were also meeting a friend at our destination who was already on her way and would have had a pretty lonely vacation without us. Our situation seemed pretty dire, apart from the instruction that we could book alternate transportation and be picked up by the airline.

So after being dropped off at baggage claim – for a trip we didn’t take. We pulled out our phones and flocked to Sky Scanner. It was insulting to see that easyJet continued to charter flights to our intended destination at almost four times the price.

Either way, we had no intention of taking a chance with them given the circumstances. We researched flights from every possible airline and airport, also having to consider traveling to another city and we were absolutely out of luck.

Then we heard another group of disgruntled passengers suggest flying from Dublin and decided to investigate their idea. A few clicks later we discovered a flight to Dublin from Bristol airport that evening, with another from Dublin to Lisbon the following morning.

We decided it was our best bet to book them and so we reluctantly shelled out almost £2,000 for two flights each for the three of us, in the hope that easyJet would keep their promise and refund us, sooner possible.

Queues at Bristol Airport

Our next flight wasn’t for a few hours and we had to check in again, but we couldn’t get out of the two hour window. So, we were back sitting in the uncomfortable airport seats with only M&S snacks to go with us.

After checking in, we couldn’t help but feel the fear that our previous flight accident had ingrained. Especially since our flight was delayed an hour, news that the airport or airline didn’t bother to let us know.

We finally arrived in Ireland and had calculated that the time from arrival at Dublin airport to check-in would be around five hours and decided that a hotel would not be practical – especially given the heavy expense that we had just done. So we set up camp on benches at the airport hoping for a few hours of sleep.

Uncomfortable seats and freezing temperatures made this impossible and as we couldn’t check in yet, no lounge or anything like that was an option.

At 3 am we made the trip to the check-in station. At this point, we were hungry and sleepless due to nearly 24 hours of travel, all three running on autopilot through the extreme queues and crowds.

Our ability to relax was completely gone, neither of us really wanting to hope that we could get to our destination until the plane was in the air. We were still trying to access the easyJet app, hoping to at least get a refund on our scheduled flight. We weren’t so lucky.

Eventually we arrived at our destination, thanks to Ryanair and Aer Lingus. Our whole holiday was marred by chaos, lack of sleep that we just couldn’t make up for, and fear that our flight home would encounter the same issues.

Luckily we got home as scheduled on our easyJet flight. But it will certainly be the last one I will take.

You would think that given the problems and inconveniences they have caused, easyJet would be quick to make amends, but I can say no such thing. We’re pestering them for refunds and compensation – with nothing but automated responses giving us 28-day wait times for a review of our case alone.

Although there were so many unforgivable wrongdoings with my flight, easyJet could have at least tried to make amends with their customer service. But they didn’t and I’m sure I’m not the only customer they’ve now lost for life.

EasyJet commented on the events saying: “We are very sorry that flight EZY6253 from Bristol to Lisbon on May 26 was cancelled. This was due to a temporary problem with the computer systems, which was later corrected later in the day.

“We have provided options for customers to rebook, including with other carriers where no easyJet flights were available or receive a full refund, as well as hotel accommodation and meals if required, as well as information on how to organize this quickly and easily via online, via the app or with our customer service.

“Nevertheless, we fully understand that the disruption will have caused and we are sorry for that. Ms Miller’s alternative travel costs will be reimbursed and our team have contacted her to apologize for her experience and inform her that the compensation which is owed to him is being processed.”

Bristol Live has also contacted Bristol Airport for comment, but they have not responded.

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