Hundreds of travellers returning from festive trips to Lapland were left stranded and more were unable to leave the UK after two aircraft experienced ‘technical faults’ over the weekend.
Problems on two Titan Airways flights due to depart Kittila in Finland for the UK on Sunday left 191 Cosmos Holidays customers bound for Gatwick and 178 headed for Manchester unable to travel.
The airline sent two additional aircraft to Kittila to bring customers home – the Gatwick flight departed at 9.50am on Monday and the Manchester flight was due to depart at 4pm.
A Cosmos Holidays spokesman said: “Although the cause of these delays is out of our control we would like to apologise to our customers for the inconvenience they have been caused.
“We have been working very closely with the airline operator to minimise the delays and have ensured that customers have been provided with hotel accommodation, meals and drinks while the delays were ongoing.
Dozens of families visiting Finland with Canterbury Travel’s one-day Enchanting Lapland tour saw their trip – due to depart Gatwick at around 8am on Sunday – cancelled altogether as a result of Titan Airways’ difficulties.
Members of its team worked into the early hours of Sunday morning “trying to contact every customer”.
One of the directors, Jacqueline Banham, said: “Unfortunately a lot of travel agencies were closed at that time of night but we wanted to get in touch with as many people as possible to avoid them arriving at the airport.
“We thought that would be more distressing.”
A total of 51 families booked with Canterbury Travel were affected and nine arrived at the airport, but staff were there to greet them.
“Titan Airways also opened a check-in desk which they manned,” said Banham.
“We were able to rebook around one quarter of the groups and refunds have been offered to those who we could not fit on the remaining flights, or couldn’t travel at another time.
“This was an unprecedented situation and a letter of apology from Titan Airways, covered by a letter from us, will be sent out today (Monday).”
Titan Airways said it did not wish to comment.
On Saturday December 12 an early morning Enter Air flight – part of a Transun Winter Wonderland Daybreak – was cancelled because of a technical fault with the aircraft.
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