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Four kids sob on airport floor after missing holiday because of National Express delay

A National Express coach delay caused a family-of-six to miss their flight leaving the kids falling on the floor sobbing.

Abdul Choudhury, his wife and their four children, from Etruria in Stoke-on-Trent, Staffordshire, had booked a one-week holiday to Milan to visit relatives they hadn't seen for 10 years.

But they were forced to scrap their trip after a National Express coach got them to Manchester Airport almost two hours late.

They desperately sprinted to their boarding gate but by the time they got there were told their plane had already left.

Now Abdul, who has been left £274.56 out of pocket, wants the company to refund the cost of his flight, .

Recalling the nightmare ordeal, he said: "It was a very stressful day, my wife was really upset and so were the children. They were falling on the floor crying because they were really excited.

"We were meeting with relatives who we hadn't seen for 10 years and we had to let them down as well. The kids are going back to school now so that was our last chance to visit them."

The coach had been scheduled to leave Hanley bus station at 3.15pm and arrive at the airport at 4.30pm - two-and-a-half hours before the family's flight at 7pm.

However, it didn't leave until 4.50pm. The family were dropped off at Terminal 1 at 6.25pm - a 30-minute walk away from Terminal 3.

The family made it through security but as they ran to their gate they were told the Ryanair flight had left without them.

Abdul was offered alternative flights at a cost of £600, but this was not an option so the family got the train home and missed their one-week break.

National Express has offered to refund their coach and rail travel on the day - but 54-year-old Abdul believes they should also refund the £274.56 cost of his flights.

Abdul said: "We got to the bus station at 2pm for the 3.15pm coach. It got to about 3.25pm and then the time on the board changed to 4.26pm. 

"I went to the counter to ask what had happened and they said it was delayed in Birmingham. I told them that I had a flight at 7pm but they just said they didn't know what was happening because they weren't from National Express. 

"So we decided to wait because if the coach got there for 4.26pm we would still get to the airport at 5.25pm, but it didn't arrive until 4.50pm.

"I explained to the driver that we'd got a flight at 7pm and he told us not to worry and started driving. But it was rush-hour and it took us 30 minutes to pass Basford roundabout.

"When we got to Terminal 1 we had to run for 20 minutes like we were in a marathon with four children and our bags. When we got to our gate they said our flight had gone.

"We then had to get the train home to Stoke-on-Trent and we didn't get back until 11.15pm."

Abdul added: "National Express says it is willing to refund the coach and train travel, but not the money for our fights. But we missed the flight because of them and it needs to be responsible for it.

"National Express had my email address and phone number so could have easily text me to let us know the coach was running late so we could arrange alternative transport but when the time had changed to 4.26pm it was already too late.

"It was a traumatic experience for us. I'll never use National Express again for the airport."

A National Express spokesman said the delays were "out of our control" because of an earlier crash on the M6.

He added: "This was due to queuing traffic caused by a major accident involving a three-vehicle collision, lane closures and emergency barrier repairs between junctions eight and nine on the northbound M6 earlier in the day.  

"Our recommendation to customers when booking travel to the airport is to plan to arrive no later than three hours before the departure time of their flight to allow for any reasonable traffic and ensure they can clear check-in and security.

"While we do factor likely traffic and congestion into our timetables, this kind of delay is out of our control and in these instances we will endeavour to update affected customers and provide appropriate support. 

"Unfortunately, we did not speak directly with Mr Choudhury on the day to provide any assistance but have since offered a full refund of both his coach and rail travel on the day.

"We have also advised him that it should be possible to claim compensation for his flights through his travel insurance provider."

https://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/national-express-coach-delay-makes-19163741

stella Posted on September 02, 2019 12:56

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