A family’s dream Disney holiday has been ruined after British Airways left them stranded for three days, forcing them to cancel their daughter’s birthday party.
Hundreds of British Airways passengers endured a “flight from hell” when their plane was diverted and they slept on an airport floor before landing two days late, the Daily Mail reported.
Lee Sullivan, his partner Kimberley Millhouse, 30, their daughter Amelia and Kimberley’s father, Bob Parsons, spent the half-term break enjoying Disney World, but became caught up in travel difficulties on the way home.
The family endured a “nightmare” return trip along with hundreds of others, finally landing London Gatwick at 6am today, almost three days after their flight was due to land.
Mr Sullivan, from Slough, told The Sun: “Disney World was amazing but that holiday now feels like years ago – the journey home has completely ruined the holiday.”
“I’m just shattered – the whole thing’s been a nightmare.”
The family were forced to leave the flight alongside other passengers due to “mechanical issues” and made it to a hotel at 2.30am, where the four of them shared a small bed.
After further delays they finally made it back into the air, but the plane began dumping fuel and had to be diverted to JFK.
The family were lucky enough to be given a hotel room while in New York before finally being able to make the trip home.
Mr Sullivan added: “Worst of all was having to cancel Amelia’s birthday.”
The family grabbed a cake on the way back through but unfortunately could not celebrate with the 40 or so guests who had been due to come over.
Imagine having a little daughter spending their birthday in a terminal,sat on a rock hard floor and not knowing when they’re going to eat, sleep or have a safe place to stay. Put yourself in the footsteps of that family and think about what you are doing.#BA2036 @British_Airways
The British Airways Flight 2036 from Orlando to Gatwick on Thursday evening was delayed 24 hours on the ground in Florida.
It finally took off on Friday evening but diverted to New York when the plane’s wheels lowered at high altitude and it dumped fuel in mid-air.
Up to 200 passengers spent Friday night and Saturday in JFK airport because the New York marathon meant there was a shortage of hotel rooms.
Frustrated travellers shared pictures of themselves sleeping in the airport before BA offered them its first class lounge in terminal seven, much to the disgust of first class passengers on other flights who were asked to leave.
At last a relief plane took the passengers to London at 9.30pm last night. It arrived at Gatwick south terminal at 6.45am on Sunday, 48 hours after it was supposed to.
Passenger Lee Sullivan, a PE teacher from Slough, said: “Finally back at LGW after the worst 3 days. I can’t think of strong enough words to describe the disgusting BA customer service we received. My daughter also had to spend her 2nd birthday in JFK airport. Exhausted and angry.”
Passengers said their frustrations started when they were shuttled to a hotel in Orlando after their flight was delayed for mechanical issues
British Airlines sent the customers to a hotel, but once they arrived found no airline representative or guidance of any kind – they said they were simply given a print out letter.
#BA2036 deplorable service. Cannot believe our children had to sleep on the floor of an airport terminal for five and a half hours whilst you advise that you are looking after us. pic.twitter.com/sPXUFnmZgX
Customers said they were confused as the departure time kept changing, and the hotel – Rosen Shingle Creek – failed to update them on the time changes.
Many customers took to Twitter to search for answers amid the confusing delays and diversions.
Passenger John Chapman tweeted on Friday: “What’s happening with flight BA 2036 , it’s nice having extra time in Orlando BA , but you lack of information is appalling, apparently we are not flying till gone midnight, info please, my family and I would like to get home.”
On Friday evening the flight finally took off, but experienced complications where it dumped fuel mid-air and lowered the landing gear at a high altitude, then diverted to JFK airport in New York.
As workers scrambled to fix the plane, the passengers were left to sleep on the ground at Terminal 7 at the airport overnight.
Shocking pictures from the airport display a myriad of strewn about suitcases and tired passengers.
Once at JFK, the angry tweets started to pour on Friday night.
@British_Airways This isn’t even half of it pic.twitter.com/9T1Puu0laN
Passenger Jenny Collom wrote: “Can you please give us some information regarding the BA2036 flight? We’ve been diverted to JFK and are currently sitting in a check in zone with no staff in sight. People are laying on the floor, and no staff are here to provide any information whatsoever.”
He followed up with a photo hours later of a seven-year-old girl sleeping on the cold floor of JFK airport covered in a thin blanket.
“@British_Airways 7-year-old cancer survivor, sleeping on the floor at terminal 7 JFK. Thanks for nothing,” he wrote.
Passenger Craig Brown said: “We have just been dumped with no help or advise, shame on you @British_Airways this is beyond a joke now” on Twitter on Friday.
@British_Airways it would be VERY nice to see a BA rep at Rose and Shingle Creek in Orlando to tell us what the hell is going on with flight 2036. We have been here since last night! Constantly changing departure times.. You have lost loads of customers due to sheer incompetence!
@British_Airways this is shocking passing blame onto @RosenShingleCr, there was no BA representative at the hotel and nothing but a letter to go off (We all stayed at same hotel) it was not the hotels responsibility to keep us informed it was yours @British_Airways. pic.twitter.com/xkHeKdWCJM
“How about you let us into the lounge while we wait instead of sitting on the floor???’ he added.
A British Airways spokesperson responded saying: “I’m afraid we can’t offer what you’re asking. We’re sending a relief aircraft out to JFK to get customers to London as quickly as possible.”
Finally on Saturday, the airline sent a new aircraft as promised to JFK and the 200 passengers were taken off to their final destination – London.
A British Airways spokesman told MailOnline: “Our aircraft diverted to New York on Saturday morning as a precaution, following a minor technical issue. We are sorry to our customers for the delay to their travel plans.
“We sent a relief aircraft out to New York on Saturday morning to get customers back to London Gatwick as quickly as possible.
“Our teams on the ground cared for customers, booked hotel rooms, blocked off our first class lounge and offered meal vouchers. The safety of our customers and crew is always our priority.”
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