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Bristol-Madrid flight cancellation leaves 55 kids sleeping in airport
BRITISH air authorities have launched an inquiry after passengers on an easyJet flight from Bristol to Madrid – including 55 children from the Spanish capital – were left stranded overnight.
The flight, due to leave Bristol on Tuesday, June 26 was cancelled due to a 'technical fault' and travellers were told they would be returning on the next flight, on the morning of Wednesday, June 27.
But no accommodation or allowance for food and drink was given, despite a European regulation making this compulsory in the event of cancellations or delays of three hours or more.
Spain's airline authority AESA says easyJet failed to comply with Article 9 of regulation CE261/2004, which stipulates that a refreshment allowance to an amount considered 'reasonable' for the length of time passengers are left on the ground, and hotel accommodation if the delay is overnight or requires an extension of the traveller's planned stay, are a basic right in all cases.
AESA does not have the jurisdiction to order an inquiry into easyJet's handling of the situation, since the flight was leaving from the UK, but has contacted the European Commission who has instructed British authorities to investigate.
Spain's State Air Security Agency considers that leaving 55 children to spend the night in Bristol airport, sleeping on the floor, is a serious breach of the EU regulation in question, and the fact that the flight had an unusually-high number of kids among its passengers makes customers' treatment even worse.
Sources from easyJet allege that they attempted to search for accommodation for passengers 'from the very beginning', but were unable to find hotels due to the 'limited offer near the airport'.
Instead, they said, they set up a room in the airport with beds and food 'to make the children's stay as comfortable as possible'.
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