'Total chaos' for tourists as easyJet plane grounded for two days on Zante

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Scores of British tourists were stranded in “total chaos” on Zakynthos today after an easyJet plane was grounded for a second day. 

The flight, EZY9746 to Gatwick, has been stuck on the tarmac on the Greek island, also known as Zante, since Sunday. EasyJet had to cancel a relief flight yesterday due to a curfew on night landings to protect endangered turtles. 

George Trefgarne was booked on the three-and-a-half-hour Sunday flight with his wife Camilla and their two children, Alice, eight, and William, seven. He said the family were “among a handful who managed to get out on a Thomson flight but only after spending nine hours at the airport with no information”. 

Mr Trefgarne said it was “total chaos”, with nobody from easyJet on hand to offer information or refreshments. Only cheese sandwiches were available in two cafes at Zakynthos airport and ground staff were “overwhelmed”. 

“There were lots of families with children but no easyJet reps and no offers of anything to eat or drink,” he said. “I feel so sorry for those left behind.”

Those not placed on another plane were forced to stay in Zante and hope that the flight would leave at 2pm local time today. EasyJet said: “Unfortunately easyJet was unable to operate the flight EZY8746 from Zante to London Gatwick on Sunday due to a technical fault with the aircraft. 

“Engineers were immediately dispatched to Zante and believed that the technical issue was rectified [on Monday], however it then re-occurred before boarding which meant the flight could not operate. The safety of our passengers and crew is our highest priority and we will only operate if it is safe to do so.

“We do all possible to try to minimise delays and as such planned to send a replacement aircraft. Unfortunately, due to the night curfew rule at the airport, we were unable to get the aircraft into the airport on Monday. The flight is now due to depart on Tuesday afternoon.”

EasyJet was unable to say how many passengers were involved, or what the fault with the plane was. It said: “Around half of the passengers have travelled on flights with alternative carriers on [Monday].” The airline said passengers had been provided with hotel accommodation and expenses, adding: “We are very sorry for the delay and thank customers for their understanding.”

Under EU law, passengers on short-haul flights that experience delays of more than three hours are entitled to about £220 in compensation. 

The average Londoner only visits the British seaside once every three years, according to research. A survey by Southeastern trains of 1,000 people living in the capital found 55 per cent of respondents had “rarely or never” gone to a beach in their own country.

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