On Monday evening, around 20-30 Hungarians were due to fly home from Luton in England to Budapest. However, Wizz Air first postponed the flight several times and then cancelled the flight completely. The passengers have been waiting at the airport for a day, but did not know how and when they will get home.
The aviation sector is still suffering the effects of the coronavirus epidemic. Many cancellations, delays and increased waiting times have made travel chaotic. Even so, the stories of stranded passengers are shocking. This time, Wizz Air left passengers stranded at London-Luton airport.
Record high temperatures in England. Temperatures were around 39-40 degrees Celsius on Monday. This also paralysed traffic. Even the tarmac is melting in this heat, so Luton airport was closed for a few hours. The runway was later opened to allow planes to arrive and take off.
“We expected that our departure time would be delayed, and it was: from 8.30 PM to 10.10 PM, then 10.30 PM, and finally 0.10 AM. Other planes were delayed. Then, at 11 PM, all flights were cancelled. All hell broke loose, with thousands of people, 50-60 planes, sloshing around in transit. It was hot, even the walls were dripping with sweat. There was a feeling that there was going to be some kind of trouble, crashing and smashing, the atmosphere was very heated, but luckily it didn’t happen”, reports a reader of Telex.hu.
From the transit, police officers escorted people to an outside hall of the airport. No one from Wizz Air was at the airport to provide information. So no one knew when or how they would get home, or whether they would get overnight accommodation.
The passengers stranded at the airport called the Hungarian Foreign Office, who were very helpful. They took notes of the incident and in the morning, several consulate staff went to the airport, putting pressure on Wizz Air. NGOs and the consulate provided water and food to those waiting. They tried to look for alternative routes, but all flights to Budapest and to neighbouring airports were full.
“We’ve been here for more than 24 hours, I’ve been awake for 40 hours and there’s still no plane. Since then, no one from the airline has helped me in person or on the phone. No one from Wizz Air showed up on Tuesday morning either. In theory, the Luton airport staff are supposed to represent Wizz Air, but no one wants to accept responsibility. There has been no communication with us, this company is completely impotent in this area. It’s unacceptable that there is a service that we have paid for and they won’t even talk to us,” says the stranded passenger.
“This morning at dawn, we received a message from the Hungarian consulate that WizzAir is sending an exemption flight. If everything is true, we can leave for home at 5:20 in the afternoon.” a passenger informed 24.hu about the latest news.
Below, you can read the letter from Wizz Air regarding the situation.
“On 18 July, Wizz Air was forced to cancel a total of five Hungarian-affected flights due to the extreme weather conditions in the UK. Due to the unusually hot weather, the runways at London Luton Airport were unfit for take-off and landing and the airport was closed to air traffic to ensure passenger safety.
Wizz Air started to organise accommodation for those stranded in London after the cancellations. However, as the extreme weather also affected other airlines’ flights, we have informed our passengers that if they can book their own accommodation, they will be refunded the extra costs. In addition, the airline offered passengers a number of options, including rebooking on alternative Wizz Air flights, a full refund of the ticket price or a 120% credit on the passenger’s WIZZ account.
Today (Wednesday) at 3:00 PM, Wizz Air will operate an extraordinary flight service from Budapest to London Luton Airport, from where the flight will return to Budapest with the passengers stranded in London at 5:20 PM local time later today. WIZZ has informed passengers of the departure of the emergency flights by e-mail and SMS.”
Source: 24.hu, telex.hu