Cancelled Etihad flight leaves more than 200 abandoned at airport

Furious passengers have lambasted Etihad after it cancelled an evening flight from Manchester to Abu Dhabi and “deserted” more than 200 passengers.

Flight EY22 was due to leave Manchester at 7.10pm on 27 March, arriving in the UAE capital at 6.15am the next day.

It appears that the inbound aircraft suffered a lightning strike.

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After hours of confusion the passengers were told at 10.30pm that the flight was cancelled. 

David Reynolds, one of the passengers, told The Independent: “We were told we would be coached back to a Crowne Plaza hotel in Manchester. They couldn’t tell us to which Crowne Plaza, though.

“So in the intervening two-hour wait for coaches, with no assistance from either Etihad or its ground handling staff, we had the comical/dangerous sight of people, including women with very young babies, scaling fences and crossing scrub land, trying to make their way to the Crowne Plaza at the airport only to find that was the wrong hotel.”

Eventually they arrived at the right hotel at 2am, but were told they would need to leave on coaches back to the airport at 6am.

“There was no information on arrival, and we queued for check in for three-and-a-half hours,” said Mr Reynolds. 

“We boarded by 11am and then sat on the tarmac for at least two hours,” said Mr Reynolds. “All this time no apology.”

Passengers took to social media to express their frustration. 

Jay Sungsit tweeted: “Worst service ever. Everyone is on the plane now and the plane haven’t take off yet.”

Many of the passengers missed flight connections.

Chris Burz, who was flying to Sydney to join a cruise, tweeted: “EY22 still at Manchester. Totally incomprehensible. No info or help from Etihad staff. Onward flight missed. Dream cruise in jeopardy. Disappointed and deserted by Etihad. Never again.”

The replacement plane eventually took off almost 18 hours late.

The Independent has asked Etihad Airways for a response.

Last May a planeload of Tui Airways passengers at Manchester Airport ended up sleeping on the floor of the terminal.

The airline, which has a big presence at Manchester, said it could not find hotel rooms “due to a number of concerts and events happening in the Manchester area over the bank holiday weekend”.

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