Blue Islands has apologised after “chaos” broke out at the airport following flight diversions, leading Police to be called to deal with disgruntled passengers and Honorary Police forced to perform a taxi service.
On Sunday, fog led to a flight from London Southend to Guernsey operated by the airline to divert to Jersey in the late afternoon.
The flight’s 52 passengers remained in the airport for a further four hours before being boarded onto a later flight to Guernsey at 20:00.
However, fog levels did not lift enough to allow the aircraft to land, meaning that the flight then had to return to Jersey.
Pictured: Fog levels did not lift enough for the Blue Islands-operated flights to land in Guernsey as planned.
But with a separate flight from Heathrow to Guernsey also having been diverted to the island, up to 100 passengers were left struggling against booking systems suffering technical difficulties as they attempted to rebook their flights and source accommodation for the night.
St. Peter’s Honorary Police were therefore asked to step in – not only to find places for the disrupted passengers to stay, but to taxi them there.
The Duty Centenier told Express that at one point they were forced to consider the Parish Hall as an option, “but we said, ‘Absolutely not’ because of health and safety reasons.”
Some passengers did not arrive in their hotels until around 02:00.
Gaelle Bertrand, who was travelling to Guernsey for a holiday with her partner and two young children described a scene of “complete chaos” that began unfolding from the moment they arrived in Jersey.
Hi there, thanks for getting in touch. I am so sorry to learn of the disruption as I can only imagine your frustrations. Can you please confirm your flight number so that I am able to investigate for you? Thank you in advance. - Katy— Flybe ✈ (@flybe) May 26, 2019
“It was chaotic. I’ve been on delayed fights many times, but it’s Jersey, not Bangkok… It was not handled well,” she told Express.
Facing an “endless queue that was not moving” and “limited staff” to help, the young family decided to book a hotel themselves, where they had to be by 23:00 or faced losing their reservation.
It was only the by “luck” that a “kind man who said he would help” offered to take them to their hotel.
Ms Bertrand said that the staff handling the rebooking process didn’t appear to be sympathetic, adding that she was surprised and disappointed that young families and disabled passengers weren’t given any additional assistance.
This led to some passengers becoming increasingly disgruntled, leading the Police to be called in the case of one man whose disabled family member had become “confused”.
Pictured: Police were called to deal with a passenger that became "aggressive" during the long wait in the rebooking queue.
A Police spokesperson said they attended the airport regarding an “aggressive abusive male” around 21:48.
No further action was taken, but Police remained on scene for around an hour to calm down the situation.
Ms Bertrand said she was “shocked” by how the delays and rebooking process was handled, adding that, despite having their holiday “cut short” and the financial loss of losing a day of their Guernsey accommodation and the fee they’d paid for a hire car, “our only compensation was a £5 voucher each for a meal.”
“What should have happened is that as soon as the [second] flight left Jersey, there should have been a contingency plan in place. They should have been prepared with the resources they need like taxis,” she commented, stating that it was not a negative start to a family holiday which
Blue Islands confirmed that the cost of Jersey accommodation would be reimbursed.
Said @swissport employees were useless. we were made to wait for 4-hours to get rebooked. There were no taxis, no accommodation organised. The police had to assist in the end! @flybe take responsibility!— Gaelle Bertrand (@GaelleAnneClair) May 27, 2019
A spokesperson said the airline regretted what happened: “A busy bank holiday weekend in Jersey coupled with other diverted passengers from a separate flight regrettably exacerbated delays in sourcing accommodation and transfers.
“We apologise for the inconvenience our passengers experienced and would like to thank our ground handling partners for their support.”
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