UK flights: ‘gutted’ sales executive says he’s ‘about £2,200 out of pocket’ due to air traffic control glitch

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A couple who have fallen victim to the air traffic control glitch say they are ‘gutted’ and £2,200 out of pocket

A sales executive has said that he and his wife are “about £2,200 out of pocket” due to the air traffic control ‘glitch’ that has them stranded in Crete. The glitch has rained havoc on UK flights with hundreds out of the UK cancelled and people stuck abroad.

Speaking to PA News Agency, 31-year-old Tom Perry said that he and his wife discovered their easyJet flight for Monday night from Heraklion airport to Luton had been cancelled about an hour before they planned to leave for the airport.

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In a bid to get home quicker, the couple ultimately booked flights home for Friday for £1,172 and said they are ‘gutted’ to have to pay for new flights with a different airline without getting a refund for their original booking.

The extra costs didn’t end there, however. The couple said they have had to pay “around £300” towards extending their stay at a villa in Sissi, Crete, as well as paying for a parking space for additional days at Luton airport and their dog to stay at a kennel. Mr Perry said that his wife, Ella, could “lose pay or annual leave”.

National Air Traffic Services (Nats) chief executive Martin Rolfe said that the air traffic control failure was caused by flight data received by Nats, with both primary and back-up systems responding by suspending automatic processing.

Mr Perry said that he was worried his flight was cancelled as news emerged of wide scale problems, saying: “Earlier in the day, probably six or seven hours previous, we saw that there were delays so I was keeping an eye on that.”

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Initially, the couple’s flight was pushed back to 7am the following day, “but as the day went on it got better and better and better and then eventually got to an hour and a half delay from the original time of the flight.”

But, about an hour before they left for the airport, the easyJet app announced that their flight had been cancelled. He said: “The communication was very, very poor, I would say. We got an email eventually, probably about an hour after the app updated, to say it was cancelled, to say, ‘Yes, it’s cancelled.’”

Initially, he contacted easyJet and booked a new return flight for next Monday, with no extra charge as it was the only direct flight available. But, after seeing a Jet2 flight leaving Crete airport this coming Friday they booked it.

Tom Perry/PA Wire

He said: “We live in Cornwall, so we’re going to go back to Bristol, get a lift back to Luton, pick our car up, and then go back to Cornwall.”

He continued to say he has requested a refund for the return flights portion of his £907 round trip flights but easyJet has declined.

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