Canary Islands sandstorm: Passengers flown to Malaga without bags


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Media caption“We haven’t got your bags.” The moment passengers learn they won’t be flying home.

British holidaymakers stranded in Tenerife because of a sandstorm say they feel “forgotten” by airline Jet2.

Passengers hoping to return to East Midlands Airport had flights cancelled amid “chaotic” scenes on Sunday.

Footage shows travellers on a re-routed flight to Malaga, Spain, and being informed their bags were not on board just before take-off.

Jet2 said it had been “working tirelessly to get everyone to their intended destination”.

Mick Elliot, from Aylestone, Leicestershire, filmed the moment on board the aircraft.

In the footage, a Jet2 member of staff says: “We’ve tried to do the right thing as an airline i.e. we don’t cancel flights… today, honestly, we’ve bitten off more than we can chew.

“We tried to catch up from flights on Sunday, Monday, as well as the regular flights today [Tuesday] and it’s pretty obvious the facilities here at the airport, in Tenerife in particular, have not been able to cope with that.”

A flight from Malaga to the East Midlands is due to take off later.

Another man, from Attenborough, Nottinghamshire, who does not wish to be named, told the BBC he was met with scenes of “absolute chaos” at Tenerife South Airport when flights were cancelled on Sunday.

Jet2 put him and his family on to a flight home on Tuesday evening but this was re-routed to Malaga as the crew had “exceeded their flying hours”.

They were also told their luggage was not on board and would be taken to East Midlands Airport.

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Image caption

The Canary Islands were hit by a sandstorm from the Saharan Desert over the weekend

Mr Elliot said the long wait for a replacement flight made him and his wife Maxine feel like they had been forgotten.

“I think the general mood initially was OK – we accepted it was an act of God so you can’t blame the airline for that,” he said.

“But that was Sunday, flights were in the air on Monday and Tuesday, so we were looked at as the least priority.”

Image caption

Mick Elliott and his wife are waiting to fly home from Malaga

Laura Taylor, from Southampton, who had been due to return on Sunday, accused the airline of “really poor management”.

She said their luggage had included medication for her dad, and baby food and nappies for her nine-month-old child, which they were unable to replace at 03:00 in Malaga.

“We needed that baggage,” said the 29-year-old before before finally boarding a flight earlier.

“Jet2.com said they wanted to put customer comfort first but there’s more to consider than comfort. There’s lots of other families who brought what they needed in that luggage and it is gone.

“It’s not an extended holiday but an absolute nightmare.”

A Jet2 spokeswoman apologised to affected customers.

She said: “To help deal with the backlog of flights, Tenerife Airport allowed for extra capacity yesterday, however the volume of flights resulted in delays and problems processing baggage at the airport.

“As a result, our crew did not have sufficient operating hours to fly from Tenerife to the UK due to Civil Aviation Authority flight time regulations.

“We therefore took the decision to fly customers to airports where we could provide hotel accommodation for the night.”

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