Ryanair holidaymakers have told how they endured a ‘nightmare’ flight during Storm Ciara – and were then left stranded in Europe.
More than 100 people were on the budget airline flight FR8208 from Prague in the Czech Republic to Bournemouth, Dorset, on Sunday.
Passengers were ‘screaming’ and having panic attacks as the plane was buffeted in the 90mph winds and almost struck by lightning.
After three terrifying aborted landings at Bournemouth, the plane was redirected to Brussels where it spent two hours sat on the tarmac.
During this time, passengers claim they were charged £1 for bottles of water as staff walked up and down the aisle ‘with bottles and a credit card machine’.
Eventually, Ryanair decided to fly them back to Prague, where they were given a hotel voucher for one night by airport staff but told their rescheduled flight will not be until Thursday.
In the meantime, the stranded holidaymakers say they are having to pay for their own accommodation and meals – leaving them hundreds of pounds out of pocket.
About 20 people have hung on while others, including families with children, have had to make their own way back from central Europe at great expense.
Jenny Fawcett-Gray, 42, a charity worker from Bournemouth, had flown to Prague with her wife Barbara, 45, for the weekend.
By Thursday, the couple estimate they would have forked out over £400 on hotels and food while waiting for the rescheduled flight.
Mrs Fawcett-Gray said: “We arrived in Prague as normal on Sunday half expecting the flight to be cancelled because of Storm Ciara.
“When we got on board we heard staff saying it was 50/50 if we would land or not.
“With that being the case, we should not have flown.
“There was turbulence across Europe and the tried to land three times but it was just too windy.
“At one point a lightning strike came really near the plane. Children were screaming and it was very frightening.
“We were diverted to Brussels where we sat on the tarmac for two hours and one woman was having a panic attack.
“Ryanair were still charging people for bottles of water, which seemed a bit much. They were walking up and down the isles with bottles of water and a credit card machine.
“We were then told we would be flown back to Prague and when we got there some airport staff gave us a hotel voucher for one night but we were told the rescheduled flight would be on Thursday.
“In the meantime, we’re paying £80 a night for a hotel, for all our meals and we’re in dirty clothes.
“Luckily our employers are very understanding but there are other people with children or doctors who can’t hang on and are making their own way back.
“I know Ryanair can’t control the weather but they could have handled the situation better. We just want to get home.”
Others have taken to Twitter to complain to the airline company.
Luke Bale said: “Despite weather warnings and failed landings, [Ryanair] decided to put all our lives, not to mention our mental health, at risk by flying us from Prague to Bournemouth.”
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A spokesperson from Ryanair said: “The aircraft landed normally and passengers disembarked.
“Unfortunately, due to severe weather disruptions, the flight was then cancelled.
“Affected customers were provided with hotel accommodation and notified of their options of a refund or free move to the next available flight.
“Ryanair sincerely apologised for this cancellation, which was entirely beyond our control.”
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