I didn’t think that I would be one of those people stranded in a different country because my Ryanair flight is cancelled. As I’m typing this, it’s 3am on Thursday 31st May and I’m sat on the floor at Frankfurt Hahn Airport. I was meant to be flying to London Stansted from Luxembourg Airport at 21:45 on Tuesday 29th May, yet here I am. So, how did I end up in Germany when I was meant to be travelling from Luxembourg to England? I think Ryanair are the only ones who can answer that, but here’s my journey so far..
Tuesday 29th May
I’d checked out of my hostel at 10am that morning and had left all of my belongings in a locker there. I was wandering around Luxembourg City enjoying my last day there and if I’m honest, I was a bit bored as it’s such a small city and I’d seen everything already. At 16:39, I was just walking out of Laduree after treating myself to some macarons and a coffee when I got a text from Ryanair.
The first thing I did when I read that was laugh. Apparently, I have the worst luck with public transport, it was just my luck to have a flight cancelled. I then followed the link and logged into myRyanair to see when I could fly back to Stansted. On my phone, I went through all of the options and then I was told at the end of it that my flight couldn’t be changed online and there was a link to an online chat. Unfortunately, the online chat wasn’t working either so instead of panicking, I just started walking back towards my hostel to get my laptop.
Once I’d got my laptop out and logged onto the Ryanair site again, I found that I still couldn’t access the online chat. I found a couple of phone numbers for Ryanair customer services but they were just ringing out or I was being cut off. I decided that my best bet was to go to the airport to see if anyone at the Ryanair desk there could advise me. So I caught two buses (which actually ended up being four because I ended up getting the wrong one twice!) over to Luxembourg Airport where I saw a screen stating that my flight had indeed been cancelled.
There were only two members of staff on the desks, neither of them were from Ryanair. They worked for LuxAir and couldn’t help us with rebooking onto a different flight. They didn’t know why it had been cancelled in the first place and they couldn’t offer any advice. After being asked if I had anyone I could stay with and me explaining that I was on my own, in a strange country, didn’t know anyone living there and certainly didn’t have the money to pay for a last minute hotel, they decided they could put me up in a hotel for the night. I was given a voucher for a taxi back to the city centre, a night’s stay in a room at the Novotel, dinner and breakfast.
While I’d been sorting this out at the airport, my dad had managed to get through to Ryanair from the UK. They advised that there wouldn’t be any other flights from Luxembourg to Stansted until Thursday 31st! I could be booked onto an alternative flight, however I’d have to sort it out with the staff at the airport. Obviously there were no staff at the airport to help me. Luckily, I managed to get through to Ryanair on the phone just before I got into a taxi. They rebooked me onto the 21:45 flight for Wednesday 30th.
I enjoyed my stay at the Novotel, however checkout was at 12pm and my flight was at 21:45. This meant that I still had over six hours to kill in Luxembourg City on Wednesday before I could go to the airport which wasn’t ideal.
Wednesday 30th May
There were no texts from Ryanair before I arrived at the airport. I also kept checking online and everything seemed fine. I got to the airport two hours before the flight was scheduled to depart. My bag was checked in and went through security. An hour before the flight I headed over to the gate (A5). I had my passport checked again and sat down to wait to board. At 21:20, 25 minutes before the flight was due to depart, I noticed that the departure board was saying that the flight was delayed by an hour. There were no staff around to advise. I was just sat around waiting until I received a couple more text messages at 21:43.
So our flight was now over two hours delayed. No explanation was given and there were still no staff around to help. They’d issued us with a coupon for €5 to spend at the approved outlets. However, there was only one outlet where we were sat. It was a tiny little shop, there were no sandwiches left and nothing else to eat. People were just spending their coupon on bottles of water. The queue was huge and was barely moving. A lot of people, myself included, didn’t get to use the coupon.
At around 11pm, a member of staff made an announcement that the plane was about to land. We needed to be on the plane and in the air by midnight otherwise the flight would be cancelled. So, we were asked to get our boarding passes and passports ready to show to the staff. Once they’d been scanned and checked, we were ushered towards a different gate. We stood around until 23:28 when we received the following text.
Another cancelled flight
Boarding passes and passports were still being checked and people were still being ushered into where I was standing. A couple of minutes later a member of staff made an announcement. He told us that the Luxembourg authorities weren’t letting the plane land in Luxembourg. Instead it had been redirected to Hahn. We had two options:
- Get on a bus which they were providing that would take us to Frankfurt Hahn Airport. We would depart from there at 3am.
- Book a hotel for the night with our own money. Then complain to Ryanair in the morning and rearrange a new flight.
As you can imagine, this caused a lot of commotion. We were told that if we were getting on the bus, then we had to go to baggage reclaim to get our belongings. Then we were to go outside where a bus would be waiting for us. Due to the time, we had to get someone from duty free to open a shutter and let us into baggage reclaim. There wasn’t anyone from the airport giving directions to buses. We had to find where it was in the car park outside and ask the driver if he was taking us to Germany.
Thursday May 31st
We finally set off from Luxembourg airport at 00:22 after having our boarding passes checked again. At around 01:50 we arrived into Frankfurt Hahn Airport which was like a ghost town. Everything was shut up and there was no staff anywhere. The only place that was open was McDonalds. On the departure board the next flight was at 06:30 and was to London Stansted. We managed to find someone who works at the airport – he had no idea what was going on with our flight. He hadn’t heard anything about a Ryanair flight being redirected.
Frankfurt Hahn Airport
We then flocked over to the information desk where the poor man was bombarded with questions. He also didn’t have a clue. He said there would be no staff in until 04:30. The first flight wasn’t scheduled until 06:30 and he didn’t know if that was ours or not. At around 02:30, the board then changed to say that our flight (FR2861) was departing at 05:00. I received a text at 03:27 confirming that the flight was now due to depart at 05:00. Luckily there were a couple of people in the group who were fluent in both English and German. I didn’t have a clue what was going on!
Finally boarding a plane
At around 04:00 someone who worked at the airport told us to get ready to go to the gate. At 04:30 when the staff arrived, we were rushed through security. We eventually got through to a gate and were left waiting there until around 05:10 when they started allowing people to board the plane. Unfortunately, we had to walk over to the plane and it was tipping it down! The Ryanair staff were handing out paper towels when we got on board, but they really didn’t help. I was so pleased to finally be sat on a plane that I didn’t care that I was soaked through. Our flight finally departed from Frankfurt Hahn at 05:50. We landed at Stansted around an hour later.
Everyone was so relieved to finally get to Stansted, I just wanted to get my case and go home to sleep. Unfortunately, we ended up waiting two hours for our luggage to be taken off the plane. When asked, the airport staff told us that there was nobody available to unload the plane. We arrived into Stansted at 05:50 BST and a flight that arrived at 06:30 had their luggage before we did. I finally got through customs at 08:00. Then I managed to get myself onto a train to London. I was exhausted, starving and annoyed.
So far, I haven’t been able to sort out any compensation with Ryanair. I had to pay for a whole day’s worth of extra food while I was stuck in Luxembourg. I also had to buy new train tickets from Stansted to Liverpool Street. I’d thrown away some toiletries before my original flight, so I had to repurchase them. I’m so glad that I had travel insurance, although I didn’t need it while I was stuck. I may be able to claim something with that. So far, Ryanair have ignored any attempts I have made to get in touch with them.
I’m on my way to Stansted airport again to fly to Krakow with Ryanair. Keep your fingers crossed for me!