An angry passenger is now looking for compensation after his easyJet flight from Poland to the United Kingdom had to be cancelled due to lightning damage.
On April 14, the Digances were supposed to fly back to Edinburgh, Scotland from Krakow in time for their granddaughter’s birthday party two days later.
Due to the damage the aircraft had incurred and the requirement for repairs, the airline was obliged to cancel the flight.
The 75-year-old claims that when he first appeared at the airport counter, service personnel told him there wouldn’t be another flight for three more days.
That night, Mr Digance and his 74-year-old partner were put up in a hotel opposite the airport by easyJet but he says they received no further contact about an earlier alternative flight home.
With no time to waste, the couple were forced into booking new flights off their own backs, but it cost them a whopping £1,318 and meant travelling via Frankfurt, Germany to arrive in Edinburgh on the afternoon of April 15.
Mr Digance said his phone ran out of battery shortly after arriving at the hotel near the airport in Krakow but when he switched it on the next morning, the only correspondence he’d received from easyJet was at 5am.
The airline had emailed to say they’d booked the pair on a flight to Belfast and then a connecting journey to Edinburgh, which would get in late at night on April 15.
According to easyJet, Mr Digance was kept ‘regularly updated’ that evening about alternative travel arrangements – something which he disputes.
He says their original flight had already been delayed by two hours before it was cancelled and believes they were left with no choice but to re-book flights themselves, given the time constraints they were under.
He told EdinburghLive: ‘The young woman sitting behind the EasyJet desk said the next flight was Monday April 17 and just laughed – we didn’t know what to do as we felt as though we had just been abandoned.
‘The battery on my phone had almost run out and we are both in our mid 70s and struggle with technology but thankfully a lovely Polish woman Edy who was flying to Edinburgh helped us.
‘EasyJet put us and a number of other passengers up for the night at the Garden Hilton but this was not without difficulty as the staff at the hotel had to contact easyJet for the vouchers.
‘We had to get back for our granddaughter’s birthday party on the 16th so Edy booked us flights from Krakow to Frankfurt and then to Edinburgh from her tablet.’
Mr Digance said he was ‘fully expecting’ compensation from easyJet the next morning but their request has since been declined by the company due to the ‘exceptional circumstances’ of the lightning strike.
The situation has left Mr Digance fuming at easyJet for refusing to reimburse his flight fee and he says he will be taking the matter further.
He added: ‘I am prepared to take them all the way until I get what I am owed. It was not good enough for them to email us at 5am to say they had found alternative travel.’
An easyJet holidays spokesperson said: ‘We’re sorry to hear that Mr and Ms Digance’s flight home was cancelled due to their aircraft being struck by lightning earlier that day.
‘In situations like these, it’s our priority to get our customers booked onto an alternative flight as soon as possible and source hotel accommodation if needed.
‘In this instance we contacted our customers to let them know that we were sourcing them an alternative flight home, and also to provide details of their overnight accommodation.
‘We remained in regular contact that evening, letting them know we’d sourced them a flight to Belfast, and at 5am the following morning we confirmed that the customers were booked onto flights back to Edinburgh via Belfast that day.
‘However, we understand Mr and Ms Digance chose to book themselves an alternative flight home instead.
‘Whilst circumstances like these are out of our control, we’d like to apologise for the inconvenience Mr and Ms Digance experienced.’