EasyJet has apologised after a flight from Manchester airport was delayed overnight.
The budget airline blamed the impact of earlier air traffic control restrictions for the Friday evening departure to Hamburg being postponed until Saturday morning.
Around five flights were reportedly cancelled on Friday, stranding about 1,000 passengers in Manchester.
Holidaymaker Kerstin Heuer told the Manchester Evening News she was “held hostage” with hundreds of other travellers at Manchester airport for hours after her easyJet flight was cancelled.
She was due to fly home to Hamburg on a 7.45pm flight on Friday but said several hundred of passengers were left waiting for four hours to be escorted out of the airport with no one available from the airline on hand to tell them what was happening.
“Our flight was cancelled without any reason or explanation given. We did not once see a representative from the airline nor did they organise any form of accommodation, nor did we get any food or drinks,” she said.
Hamburg airport has a curfew that means no flights can land after 11pm, so once it got past 9pm UK time passengers knew their flight could not take off.
However, because they had gone through security they could not leave the airport and had to wait to be escorted out by the police.
Heuer said: “I was ready to just leave our bags and go, but we were told we had to wait for the police to come and take us out. It felt like we were being held hostage.
“I was literally running up and down the airport, trying to find out what was going on. There was a number for the easyJet customer care line, but no one was answering it.
“When we were finally escorted out of the airport by the police, we got a text message from easyJet saying that they were sorry for the cancellation and that we should not try ourselves to book any accommodation or transportation, which we of course ignored.”
They eventually left the airport at around 11.15pm, and managed to check in to an airport hotel.
Heuer said she received a text message from easyJet at 12.30am saying the airline had been unable to find accommodation for them.
Emma Burgess was supposed to fly to Amsterdam at 6.55pm on Friday, but said that after waiting for more than three hours passengers were informed that the flight had been cancelled.
She said: “The customer service or lack of it was shocking, I am now out of pocket for my hotel, taxi costs, the cost of the trips that we had planned and booked, not to mention that this trip was a surprise break away for my birthday.”
A spokesman for the airline said: “EasyJet can confirm that flight EZY1845 from Manchester to Hamburg on 18 August was overnight delayed due to the knock on effects of Air Traffic Control restrictions earlier in the day.
“This resulted in the flight being unable to depart due to a curfew restriction at Hamburg airport.
“Passengers were provided with refreshments whilst we sourced accommodation, however easyJet will reimburse passengers who sourced their own accommodation and pay expenses including transfers and meals.
“We would like to thank the passengers for their understanding and apologise sincerely for any inconvenience experienced.
“The safety and wellbeing of our passengers and crew is always easyJet’s highest priority.
“The rescheduled flight departed at 8.45am on August 19.”
A Manchester airport spokesman confirmed that if passengers have cleared security then they are required to wait for a police escort to leave and that was standard procedure.
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