My flight was canceled after 5 hours of waiting and I got stuck

  • My Ryanair flight to Italy was canceled after waiting five hours at a London airport.
  • I spent nearly $90 on my one-way ticket but the airline only refunded me $58.
  • I waited over an hour for my luggage to arrive and was stuck at the airport due to train strikes.

The passports were out, the luggage was packed and the

flip flops

were on. My vacation in Italy had finally arrived and I couldn’t be more excited to get away from the gray skies of England and road trip through the Tuscany region for two weeks.

In May, I booked two Ryanair flights from London Stansted Airport to Milan Malpensa, Italy, for £300 ($358) return, including two bags. Tickets were more expensive than expected due to the surge in travel demand this summer and high fuel prices.

Knowing that we could be caught up in the chaos of this year’s travels, my partner and I took precautions before our trip. We split our clothes between two suitcases in case a bag went missing and arrived at Stansted Airport by bus three hours before the flight at 12.20pm – something Ryanair advised passengers to do in a pre-trip email .

Check-in, baggage drop-off and security checks were completed within 30 minutes. As a journalist covering this year’s travel disruption, I thought it was too good to be true. Even the flight information board said the plane was on time.

We wandered around the airport, grabbing coffees, magazines and last minute toiletries we had forgotten. We were relaxed – until we took a look at the information board. The Ryanair flight had been delayed for an hour and a half.

“It could be worse,” I said.

More than an hour later, the flight was again pushed back two and a half hours. With that, we went to the pub.

After almost two hours and another 10 minute delay to the flight time, the Ryanair app informed me that the flight to Milan had been cancelled. The flight status disappeared from the information board, leaving me confused as to what to do next.

An email from Ryanair said the flight was canceled due to “the airport and [Air Traffic Control] slot delays.”

Screenshot of an email sent by Ryanair stating that the flight had been cancelled.

Screenshot of an email sent by Ryanair stating that the flight had been cancelled.

Kate Duffy/Insider

An airport staff member directed us to security, where a long line of passengers from the Milan flight formed in front of the desk.

The security staff then apologetically opened a door leading us to baggage claim, where we waited an hour for the suitcases to pass. I felt angry and discouraged as I sat among tanned holidaymakers happily collecting their bags after landing in the UK.

There was only one member of Ryanair staff available in the baggage claim area, but she directed passengers to a sign she wrote saying passengers on the Milan flight should wait for their bags at the new carousel.

Once the suitcases were delivered, we went to the airport train station to return to central London. However, one of the largest rail strikes in the country was taking place that day, leaving us stranded. Buses to London were also full.

Walk to Stansted Airport station.

Walk to Stansted Airport station.

Kate Duffy/Insider

By sheer luck — of which we didn’t have much — my roommate offered to drive us home on his way to the airport to pick up his girlfriend. We managed to smash four people and three big suitcases into his Mini and make it home.

Nearly nine hours after arriving at Stansted Airport, we packed our bags in a friend's car and drove home.

Nearly nine hours after arriving at Stansted Airport, we packed our bags in a friend’s car and drove home.

Kate Duffy/Insider

After booking flights to Milan for the next day, I requested a refund on the Ryanair website for the two canceled one-way flights, which cost around £73 ($87) each. Ryanair said in an email that I got back £99.16 ($117) or £49.50 ($58) for each flight.

Ryanair did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment on the situation.

Unfortunately, I found myself entangled in the chaos the aviation industry is experiencing right now. Passengers around the world have had their vacations ruined as airlines and airports delay and cancel flights, lose luggage and scramble to hire staff.

About Juana Jackson

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