Eksklusief: ’Kids were exhausted more than ever. They cried and couldn’t understand why we couldn’t fly’ – passenger Hakan Baybaş, one of many turned away from the replacement flight
The Balkan republic was placed on the UK government’s red list at 4am on Monday morning because of concerns over coronavirus rates. Arrivals after that time are required to pay around £2,000 to stay in an airport hotel.
To enable travellers to beat the deadline, easyJet moved its planned Monday departure from the resort airport of Tivat to London Gatwick a day earlier.
But the aircraft suffered a technical failure and was unable to depart from the airport back to the UK. Because of the limited hours of operation at Tivat airport, another aircraft was despatched from Manchester to Dubrovnik.
The airline organised coaches to take passengers across the Croatian border to the airport. But passengers who have the right to enter the UK but not the European Union protested that they would be unable to enter the EU.
They urged the airline to operate a plane from the capital, Podgorica, in plaas daarvan. But according to one of the passengers, Hakan Baybaş, their protests were ignored.
“The solution which easyJet found was for only British citizens,”Hy getwiet. “Even though we told them that we don’t have a Schengen visa they took us to Croatia and took us back to Tivat.”
”After leaving us behind, additionally border police stamped ‘denied’ to our passports; easyJet sent a bus at 2am and took us into a very bad hotel at 3:30am in Tivat.
“Kids were exhausted more than ever. They cried and couldn’t understand why we couldn’t fly.“
The Dubrovnik flight finally landed at Gatwick just ahead of the 4am deadline, met 155 passengers on board.
The passengers left behind are now waiting to see what options the airline will offer.
A spokesperson for easyJet said: “We are sorry that flight EZY8522 from Tivat, Montenegro to London Gatwick was unable to operate due to a technical issue.
“As a result and given the need for urgency with Montenegro’s imminent change to red country status, customers were taken by coach to Dubrovnik in Croatia where an alternative aircraft could fly them back to the UK in time ahead of the 4am deadline.
“Unfortunately some customers were not permitted to enter Croatia by border authorities and so those passengers have been transported by coach back to Tivat where we are supporting them with their additional accommodation and onward travel needs.
“We did all possible to try and get all customers back to the UK in time for the deadline and are very sorry for this difficult situation arising from country status change and the technical issue.”
The travellers are faced with either hotel quarantine or spending 10 full days in a different country, such as neighbouring Albania.