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Cyprus Internet Directory [ Passengers stranded at Heathrow after CY cancels late flight ]

Passengers stranded at Heathrow after CY cancels late flight

FRIDAY the 13th came five days later for Cyprus Airways (CY) when a technical problem followed by three missing elderly passengers at Larnaca caused an overnight delay for 140 people outbound from Heathrow.

Compounding the problem was the fact that most London hotels were booked solid because of the Wimbledon and Ascot sporting events, forcing most of the Cyprus-bound passengers to sit it out all night at Heathrow.

According to one passenger, bosses at the London airport were bemused to find 15 old ladies, two of them in wheelchairs, sitting around as Heathrow shut down for the night.

“They were eventually sent to a hotel about 45 minutes from Heathrow at the initiative of the British airport authorities,” said one passenger who did not wish to be identified.

“It was the initiative of the airport manager, who was shocked to see that old people were left stranded there at midnight... Many other people spent the night in the cafeteria.”

The passenger said the flight was originally due to leave Heathrow at 10pm UK time but passengers were told only one hour before that it had been cancelled and that the airline was having difficulty finding hotels in London.

A letter of apology from the airline was given to passengers informing them that the flight had been cancelled due to the lateness of the aircraft coming in from Larnaca. The return had been rescheduled to 7.30am UK time yesterday, CY said.

The airline said in the letter it was unable to find accommodation for everyone but urged people to try and make their own arrangements for the night and to send their receipts to CY’s London office for reimbursement.

“I was late, arriving at Heathrow at 9.30pm thinking I would miss the flight,” said the passenger. “They told me it was cancelled and there were no hotels because of Wimbledon and Ascot. I went down to the hotel reservations box and she said she had managed to find some rooms but a lot of people were stranded.”

The passenger said that one man decided to go to a bouzouki for the night because they would have to be back in the airport by 5.30am anyway.

The flight should originally have left Larnaca before 6pm but CY spokesman Kyriacos Kyriacou said there had first been a technical delay, which took two hours to fix.

“The passengers got off the plane but when it was time to get back on, three elderly British passengers were missing and they couldn’t be located,” said Kyriacou.

Eventually the three passengers couldn’t be tracked down and their luggage had to be removed from the aircraft, which delayed the flight further.

“It eventually left at 9.30pm Cyprus time, arriving at Heathrow just over four hours later. However by the time the incoming passengers disembarked, CY could not get permission from the London airport to turn the flight around.

Heathrow closes from midnight to 5.30am.

“We thought the flight would get through but we couldn’t get permission and the aircraft had to stay there until the morning. We didn’t know the plane would have to stay in London,” said Kyriacou.

“We tried really hard to find hotels and we couldn’t. We told passengers to see if they could find, and if they could, to keep their receipts we would reimburse them.”

(Source: Cyprus Mail)

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