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Fancy being stuck here for 37 hours..? passengers twice boarded their plane only to be told they needed to get off.

Byline: MIKE FULLER Video Reporter @mikefuller91

HOLIDAYMAKERS hoping to fly to Newcastle Airport from Zante have seen their flight delayed by a dayand-a-half.

At the time of writing, Thomas Cook flight MT1683 was scheduled to take off 37 HOURS late from Zakynthos Airport on the Greek island.

In that time passengers say they twice boarded the plane and were forced to wait, only to be told they needed to get off again and sent back to a hotel.

Ian Aird, 54, from Newcastle, said Thomas Cook's handling of the situation had been "useless".

The travel company has apologised and said those affected will be entitled to [euro]400 compensation.

Ian said: "People have got jobs they are supposed to be back home for.

"We have cars parked at the airport which were supposed to have been picked up yesterday.

"It's not acceptable. There are couples here with young children and it must be even more difficult for them.

"Thomas Cook have been useless.

Absolutely useless.

"Their two staff at the airport have worked under pressure and been superb, but their hands have been tied because they haven't been given any information either."

The flight was first due to take off at 7am on Monday.

Marketing manager Ian and his wife were meant to be on their way home after enjoying a long weekend in Zante.

But he said: "We got on the plane and were sat there for three or four hours.

"You could hear noises coming from underneath. Finally they told us the plane was not fit to fly.

"Then we were in the terminal for another five hours while they tried to sort out where they were going to send us. When we had to get off again we just accepted it. It's just one of those things. The only area that's been let down has been Thomas Cook's reaction."

Passengers, who Ian says were given a food voucher worth [euro]6, were taken to a hotel to wait for an update.

The saga took another twist when they were told at 1am yesterday they would be bussed back to the airport at 3am.

After boarding for the second time, Ian says another technical fault saw holidaymakers let down again.

Ian said: "We were literally the only ones in the airport at that time.

"This time when we got on the plane you could smell burning and the lights were flickering. It was like a disco. We waited for about an hour before we had to get off. It was farcical to get us up to go to the airport for 3am. I would've thought this plane would at least have been ready to fly. It's just ridiculous."

Passengers were taken to another different hotel to wait out the delay. Ian said he and his wife had to take extra money out to cover their costs.

The flight was rescheduled to depart Zakynthos Airport at 8pm local time (6pm UK time) yesterday.

A Thomas Cook spokeswoman said: "The delay has been caused by a complex technical fault with the aircraft which our engineers have not yet been able to repair.

"A different aircraft is now being sent to Zante to bring our customers home to Newcastle and hotel accommodation and refreshments have been arranged.

"Our customers' safety is always our first priority and we are extremely sorry for the inconvenience that this is causing."


A beach in Zakynthos, Greece

A beach in Zakynthos, Greece
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)
Geographic Code:4EUGR
Date:Sep 19, 2018
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