Girl, 6, stuck in Albania misses a week of school after easyJet red list chaos
Passengers booked on an easyJet flight from Montenegro to London were unable to fly back to the UK after a back-up plane was routed through EU country Croatia
A young girl is missing a week of school after easyJet routed a pre-red list evacuation flight through a country they cannot enter.
Hakan Baybaş, his wife and daughter are currently stuck in a hotel in Tirana, Albania, having attempted to get to the UK before Montenegro was put onto the red travel list.
The family forked out close to £2,000 on plane tickets alone after the 4am Monday cut off forced them to bring their trip forward or face 11 days in a UK quarantine hotel at great expense.
However, after a mechanical failure grounded their flight from Tivat in Montenegro, easyJet sent a replacement plane from Manchester to Dubrovnik, in Croatia, to pick them up.
Many of the passengers were successfully bussed over the border and got onto the plane, which arrived in the UK a couple of minutes before the 4am cut-off.
However, those without a Schengen zone passport, including Hakan and his family, were refused entry to Croatia and therefore could not board the flight.
As a result, they have now found themselves in amber list Albania, waiting for 10 days to pass so they can jet into the UK without quarantining.
“We’re planning to come back to the UK after 10 days,” Hakan, a software consultant who lives in Isleworth, London, told The Mirror.
“We can’t afford hotel quarantine but even if we could, we don’t want to put [our daughter] in a small room for 10 days, we think that’s a big trauma for a kid.”
He added: “Now my daughter will miss the opening week of her school. She will miss six school days.”
Because of the enforced stay, Hasan’s family have had to pay £2,200 extra, on top of the tickets they were unable to use.
He described easyJet’s decision to send the passengers to Croatia as “absolutely ridiculous” and said that 50 people booked onto the flight had been affected.
“This is the biggest fail of easyJet,” he added.
The Dubrovnik flight had landed at Gatwick two minutes ahead of the 4am deadline, with 155 passengers on board.
One of them, Alexia Bencini, tweeted: “The person who sat next to me on the first plane was not there for the second. He knew he wouldn’t have been allowed in Croatia.
“Easyjet either didn’t care or was severely misinformed. I am grateful that we landed at 3.58am. But we should all have been there. This mess was avoidable.”
A spokesperson for easyJet said: “We are very sorry for this extremely difficult situation which arose from the country status change to ‘red’ and the technical issue.
“We did everything we could including flying a second repatriation aircraft in to try and get all customers back to the UK in time for the deadline.
“We are very grateful to our pilots and crew for managing to bring back 155 customers back just ahead of the deadline.
“We feel for those customers who we not permitted to enter Croatia by border authorities and so are supporting them with their additional accommodation and travel needs.”