An 89-year-old woman was left stranded and feared she would miss her grandson’s wedding after an airline flew her to the wrong country.
Joe Winter, who uses a wheelchair, and her daughter Hayley Vickery, 58, were traveling with other members of their family to Ljubljana, Slovenia, for her grandson Aaron’s wedding at Lake Bled. But things took a wrong turn at Luton Airport when they were separated from the rest of their party to be boarded in an accessible part of their Wizz Air plane, the Mirror reports.
The pair, from Swansea, say they showed their boarding passes to a steward and chatted with another staff member escorting them to the plane about the Slovenian capital. But when the flight touched down and they headed to passport control, they were told they were in Poznań, Poland – 680 miles from Ljubljana.
With no phone charger or medication for her mum, Hayley spent a frantic 24 hours and hundreds of pounds working out how to get to Slovenia in time for the wedding two days later. “It was all stressful,” Hayley said. They had no way of getting a message to the other members of their party, who were on the right plane and only learned mid-flight that Joe and Hayley weren’t sitting in the designated disability access zone.
“We were away for a week in total and Wizz Air still haven’t been in touch,” added Hayley. “My mother was terrible. She didn’t have her medication and was without it from the Saturday to the Tuesday. Everybody was besides themselves.”
Joe and Hayley’s journey began on April 8, when they traveled to Luton to stay in a hotel. After arriving at the airport on April 9, they were separated from their group and taken to gate 20 to be boarding.
All was apparently going smoothly until they touched down. “We showed our passports at the gate and they asked if we had been to Poland before,” Hayley explained. “I said ‘yes, why?’ It was because we were in Poznań.”
When the rest of the party discovered Joe and Hayley were missing, they were told it would be impossible to send a message to them and that no one could be sent to meet them at the other end – as it was unclear where they were.
Meanwhile, in Poznań, the stranded mum and daughter spent almost four hours sitting in the airport trying to work out what to do, with no offers of help or refreshment coming from members of staff. Eventually, after many attempts to ring Wizz Air’s premium rate phone number, they were told to either book a hotel in Poland or fly back to Luton – the latter option meaning they would likely miss the wedding.
Instead they decided to stay the night in Poznań before jumping in a £270 taxi to Warsaw, where they boarded a flight to Ljubljana, which cost them close to £700. In Slovenia, they were reunited with their luggage including wedding outfits, which had been taken off the Wizz Air flight at Luton.
Hayley said: “We have had no contact with Wizz Air at all. In a really volatile Europe we were boarded on to a plane to Poland and no one knew where we were. We were close to the border with Ukraine. I would like Wizz Air to apologise, and explain what happened, and a full refund.”
Wizz Air has been contacted for comment.
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