Stranded families forced to sleep on trolleys and airport floors after air traffic meltdown with ‘fists flying’ in chaos | The Sun

STRANDED families have been forced to sleep on trolleys and airport floors after an air traffic meltdown sparked 500 flight cancellations.

Thousands of holidaymakers were hit by bank holiday travel delays, which started yesterday when a "technical issue" grounded flights heading to and from the UK.

Despite the issue being said to have been fixed by yesterday afternoon, knock-on disruption has massively affected tourists.

Passengers due to fly to Newcastle were seen bunking down on the floor of Palma airport overnight, with their flight already facing huge delays following severe weather problems.

And some holidaymakers were even sleeping in trolleys, with one passenger even using a towel to make a tent-like canopy between barriers.

Airlines and airports have warned that the flight chaos will likely continue today with Brits stranded abroad or sleeping in UK terminals.

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Dozens more cancellations were announced on Tuesday morning as airlines struggle to recover from the four-hour failure.

Helen Clayton says she's stuck in Mallorca after booking a three-day break over the bank holiday. 

She says she's managed to rebook her flight but it's not until next Sunday with tensions seeing "fists flying" at the airport.

Helen told Sky News: "Been put up in a hotel tonight, no idea what happens thereafter.  I've no money left, I've no clean clothes and I'm meant to be at work today.

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"There's thousands like me and things were extremely heated at Palma with fists flying and security stepping in."

Frustrated tourists also took to social media to plead with airlines for help after being left in limbo.

Holidaymakers on Twitter claimed that they were forced to sleep in the airport after the shambles.

One lady at Heathrow was in tears after sitting there for over 20 hours waiting for her return flight to the USA. 

300 Ryanair passengers were also left stranded in Gran Canaria after the technical fault, reports Sky News.

The abandoned travellers were reportedly told the next direct flight would be at least another week away and there was "zero chance" of an emergency flight.

Marco McCool described children sleeping on the hard floor and using their suitcases as pillows while cockroaches crawled around nearby.

"I don't believe they can't do another flight," he said.

"We have been stranded with no options. We are students so we have not got the kind of money to book another flight.

"We have literally just been left to fend for ourselves."

Britain’s biggest budget airline, easyJet, has grounded more than 80 flights today while British Airways has grounded more than 60 flights.

London's Heathrow Airport asked passengers travelling today to contact their airlines before coming to the airport.

At least 32 departures from Heathrow have been cancelled on Tuesday, and 31 arrivals axed, as disruption caused by the air traffic control glitch continued.

And at least 23 departures and 51 arrivals were cancelled at Gatwick Airport today.

London Luton Airport also said flights across UK airspace remained subject to delays and cancellations.

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Pensioner Ken Blanks, 71, said he and his wife had to refuse Las Palmas’ offer of a £50pp per night hotel until the next flight in just under two weeks because they cannot afford it.

Other young families are also stuck in the airport in Gran Canaria with children without anywhere they can afford to stay in.

Ken, from Bristol, blasted easyJet for not offering them anywhere to stay and not communicating with them.

He said: “It’s absolutely disgusting.”

Ken also suffers heart problems and is terrified because his medication will not last over the next 12 days.

He told The Sun: “I’ve finished my holiday in Gran Canaria but there’s nobody from easyJet talking to us. They don’t care a damn about us.

“The next flight is in 12 days so we are stuck here.

“The airport offered some families with kids hotels but they have to keep getting taxis there and back. It’s 200 euros from the airport to the hotel.

"No one has the money for it. I can’t afford a hotel. And there’s nobody here to tell us anything.”

Meanwhile, Matthew Page said easyJet put them up in a hotel for one night in Tunisia but have been told to fend for themselves until a flight becomes available, which may not be until next week.

He said: “easyJet have been no help at all. They have put us up for one night and then we have to fend for ourselves.

“We have three children with us and apparently the next flight home is in over a week.”


Lyudmila Hristova, 57, said her and her husband's plans to attend her niece's wedding in Bulgaria were "ruined" after BA cancelled their 2pm flight from Heathrow to Sofia.

And a German couple were considering returning home by train after their flight from London to Stuttgart was cancelled.

Myria Mebold, 36, also said that British Airways "didn't know anything at all" when she and her husband asked about the situation and their flight.

Former Welsh sprinter Iwan Thomas has told ITV News he is stuck in Amsterdam and described the situation as a "nightmare".

He claims the airline he booked to fly with told him that he "has to rebook" his flight and the next available one back to the UK is Wednesday.

TV presenter Gabby Logan was among those caught up in the problems at Heathrow.

It comes after reports that a blunder by a French airline may have sparked the air traffic control chaos in the UK.

Sources suggested the issue could be the result of an incorrectly filed plan by a French airline, although Nats would not comment.

It is understood that officials know what caused the issue but not how it disabled the system, reports The Times.

Airlines will be stepping up to their responsibilities to ensure they get people home, the Transport Secretary has said.

Mark Harper told GB News: "First of all, I just want to reiterate what the National Air Traffic Services said yesterday, to apologise obviously for the disruption that everyone's had yesterday.

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"The system was fixed yesterday afternoon and things are getting back to normal but there's obviously some disruption that's going to continue today for people, and I know thousands of people have been impacted.

"Airlines will be stepping up, I hope, to their responsibilities to make sure that they get people back home, get them on an alternative flight and deal with food and drink and accommodation in the meantime."

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