A husband’s surprise birthday present for his wife was ruined when their snow-hit flight was cancelled.
But Robert and Angela Worthington are angry after being refused compensation.
Airline easyJet said the cancellation was ‘outside its control’ and ‘extraordinary’.
Mr and Mrs Worthington, both 40, of Bluebell Wood, Leyland, were excited about the trip to Prague.
Leyland trucks maintenance engineer Mr Worthington booked it in December for his wife’s 40th on the day of the easyJet flight from Manchester Airport on March 4.
But they never set foot on the plane, and Mr Worthington and his wife, a sales assistant at Euxton Tiles, Euxton, found themselves on their way back home.
Mr Worthington explained: “As we parked the car at 3pm at the airport my text message tone went off.
“I asked Angela to see who it was as I was parking.
“It was a message from easyJet saying the flight was cancelled.
“We went into the airport to get some answers.
“There was a large queue of people waiting to talk to the staff at the easyJet check-in desk.
“As we waited, there was a lot of confusion as to what was going on.
“Word filtered down that flights had been held up all day due to a de-icing issue.”
He continued: “We checked with the easyJet website before we left home and it said the flight was on time, so we set off.
“I then rang easyJet customer services.
“They could not get us on another flight that weekend so offered me a flight refund which I thought I should take as we had no other option.
“I then rang the hotel company, Jurys Inn. They said they were unable to refund me as I had paid up front.
“So I asked could I stay at the Jurys Inn Manchester instead. They said not possible.
“I then rang easyJet back and asked about compensation for my out off pocket expenses.
“They said I would need to speak to the check-in desk.
“I queued for three hours and hardly moved so we decided to leave and take the matter up Monday.
“We had had enough and just wanted to get home.
“I contacted easyJet and their response was that it had been an ‘extraordinary event’ which meant they did not have to pay compensation.”
An easyJet spokesperson said: “We would like to apologise that Mr and Mrs Worthington’s flight from Manchester to Prague was cancelled on March 4 as a result of heavy snow in Manchester.
“easyJet did everything it could to minimise the disruption on our customers and in line with EU261 regulations Mr and Mrs Worthington received a refund for their flights.
“As the reason for the cancellation was outside of easyJet’s control and categorised as extraordinary, EU261 compensation is not payable on this occasion. easyJet takes its responsibilities under EU261 very seriously and has been commended by the UK CAA for its handling of these claims.
“We will always pay compensation to passengers who claim when it is due.
“We always recommend customers have comprehensive travel insurance to cover for unexpected circumstance and will always provide a
letter to insurance companies when customers need to
make a claim.”