Firies family left in airport hell after cancelled flights

Katriona Flynn’s young children were forced to sleep in their pram and on a luggage trolley after her and her family’s Ryanair flight home was cancelled abruptly
Katriona Flynn’s young children were forced to sleep in their pram and on a luggage trolley after her and her family’s Ryanair flight home was cancelled abruptly
Katriona Flynn

Fergus Dennehy

A Firies woman has spoken of her "nightmare" experience in a UK airport after her young family - along with hundreds of others - were left stranded in London last month.

Katriona Flynn says that she, along with her husband and three small children, were left standing in line - with no offer of food or water - at Stansted Airport for close to 12 hours after their Ryanair flight home to Kerry was cancelled. "There was no reason given as to why it had been cancelled and we initially thought it was a wild strike," Katriona stated, although Ryanair later stated that they had sent an email referring to a cancellation due to adverse weather.

Whatever the reason, Katriona was left waiting with her tired, young family. "We had nowhere else to go and so we started queuing with everybody else; we were in the line from 6pm on Saturday until 5am on Sunday morning," Katriona told The Kerryman.

"We were left stranded with no immediate options as to how to get ourselves home," Katriona continued. "The only communication we heard in the airport was a Tannoy saying that all those on cancelled flights had to leave the airport and re-book the flights. Other than this, you were standing, waiting to be seen with 1,500 other people," she added.

Going on to say that it was a "hellish" experience, Katriona  described how her childrenwere forced to sleep in their prams and on the luggage trollies.

"There was nowhere to sit. There were only trollies and other people were taking the wheelchairs out of the wheelchair area. At one point, I think there were over 50 wheelchairs out of the area and which people were using just to sit in," she said.

"We had thought that we were well prepared for the trip home, we had everything charged up and ready for the kids, but due to the sheer volume of people stuck in the airport with us, there was no way we could keep everything going," she continued.

After all this, what had initially been planned as a quick and cheap few days away to London with her family ultimately turned into a very expensive - and long - journey home for Katriona and her young family.

"We had to spend over €400 to get home by other means because other airlines were looking for €1,000-plus to fly out that day."

"We obviously couldn't afford this so we had to leave the airport at 5am to get a coach to Euston, after this it was a train from Euston to Holyhead in Wales, the ferry from Holyhead to Dublin, and a bus into the train station in Dublin.

"Of course, we got into the Heuston at the exact same time as the hurling finished and so we were on the busiest train home that day. We eventually made it to our front door at 11pm on Sunday," she finished.

Meanwhile, on Tuesday, Ryanair told  'This flight from London Stansted to Cork (28 July) was regrettably cancelled due to the knock-on effect of thunderstorms in Stansted and continued ATC slot delays.

'This customer was notified of the cancellation by email (at 16:36 on 28 July) and advised of their options of a refund or free move to the next available flight.

'This customer opted for a refund of their flight which has been processed. Ryanair sincerely apologised for these weather and ATC disruptions which are entirely beyond our control.'