Numerous Ryanair passengers were left stranded at Prague’s airport after their flight to Manchester left without them last week.
Travelers for the 5.30 pm service on Friday 24 June claim to have arrived in good time, but said an unusual security system and huge queues at the airport meant they were still waiting in line by the time the plane was scheduled to depart.
Passenger Hannah Molloy described the scene as “absolute chaos”, alleging that a large number of travellers were left scrambling to book onto a later easyJet flight, while others had to find a last-minute hotel in Prague.
“There was no one from Ryanair,” she told Manchester Evening News. “We spoke to security and they said ‘it’s nothing to do with us’.
“We were told they were ‘going to miss the flight slot’ but obviously the gate staff knew that there were a lot of people around – they could see us out of the window.”
Ms. Molloy added that she and her partner “got there in plenty of time”. They were forced to pay £300 for an alternative easyJet flight in order to get home.
Passengers reported that, unlike the normal airport procedure, they had to wait for their gate to be announced before they could proceed to security.
Another traveller, Clive Dobbs, described the security arrangement as “strange”, saying that he and wife Liz went to the gate as soon as it was announced – only to be met by a “queue of hundreds, and maybe about three people [working on] security.”
They were still waiting in line by the plane’s scheduled takeoff time.
“Eventually a few people ahead of us get told they can’t get on. They then tell the rest of us we’re stuck here,” he said, adding that he was “absolutely furious”.
“We sat there starving, miserable, and frankly traumatized for hours. It’s totally put me and Liz off ever going abroad again,” said Mr. Dobbs.
His account is corroborated by Mia Munro, who was travelling with her mother.
She said the gate number was announced “really late”, and that, when it finally was, there was a “massive queue and it wasn’t moving for about 30 minutes”.
Despite making it through security, Ms. Munro said a man started telling passengers no one else was allowed to board the flight.
“They said it was a Ryanair decision and they had closed the gate,” she said. “We were all panicking, there was a big group of us.”
Ms. Munro claimed that passengers weren’t to blame for missing the flight: “I don’t see how so many people can make the same mistake. One lady we spoke to had arrived four hours early.”
Ryanair, however, has insisted the incident was “out of its control”.
“Ryanair passengers are advised via their email/Ryanair app to arrive at least three hours before their scheduled departure time. “We regret that these airport security delays at Prague, which are entirely out of our control, caused these passengers to miss their flight.”