Thanks to Viv for sending me a holiday review of their stay in Madeira, they were caught up in all the problems with flights due to the strong winds at the airport. This might be helpful to others, and be aware of problems that could occur.
Our 2018 holiday to Madeira.
We have travelled to Madeira once or twice a year for about the last 6 years, we were well aware of the airport wind issues but until this year we had never had so much as a bumpy landing. Until this year !!.
We left Bristol with Easyjet flight EZY6245 on time on the 9th April, the flight as usual was smooth and uneventful, after about 3 hours the captain came on the tannoy to say that we had made good time and would be descending to Madeira, but he then said that he could not land at Madeira due to high winds, he was going to have to do a 180 degree turn and fly to Lisbon on the Portuguese mainland, this would take about another hour and a half before landing.
We arrived in Lisbon, the crew told us that we would be put in an Hotel for the night and would be given all meals, and the next day we would continue our journey to Madeira. We collected our bags from the carousel and followed the route out of the airport, expecting to see Easyjet staff who would advise and direct us. We went through the usual throng of people holding up name cards, but no one from Easyjet, there is now about 50 of us outside the airport, the rest of the flight had managed to meet someone from Portway, airport handling, and were waiting inside the terminal. We eventually got together and were told that coaches would be arriving to take us to various different hotels in Lisbon.
We waited for about 2 hours for the transport to arrive. We were in a group that were taken to the Corinthia hotel in Lisbon, a 5 star hotel, very plush, with a lot of well off international guests. Unfortunately we were regarded as refugees from a budget airline, it took several hours to check us all in, the reception staff were very curt with us, we were told initially that we would not be getting any meals, we were advised that there is a pizza restaurant nearby. We went to our room and freshened up then went out for a walk to find somewhere to eat, we found a good Chinese restaurant near the hotel and had a nice meal. When we got back to the hotel we met some other ‘refugees’ who told us that we would be able to have breakfast the next morning.
We did have a good breakfast the next day, but then we found out that other people who did not leave the hotel the night before were told that they were entitled to a meal in the hotel restaurant courtesy of Easyjet.
We then had to be picked up by the coach to return to the airport for check-in, it did eventually come but not before some people had panicked and got a taxi to the airport because they were afraid that they were going to miss the flight. The flight into Madeira was good and at last our holiday could start.
We were booked into the hotel Promenade for a 10 day stay, due to depart on the 19th of April.
On the 19th we ordered a taxi early to get us to the airport to check-in for flight EZY6246 to Bristol, the check in opened on time and we deposited our hold luggage and went through security to the departure area. We then spent most of the day studying the information screens, it went from ‘expected’ to ‘delayed’ to ‘cancelled’ then late afternoon we were told the plane had turned around and was heading back to Bristol.
Nobody knew what to do next, we stood in line at a portway desk for over 2 hours, we were then told to wait for our luggage to arrive at the carousel that took another hour. We then realised that all arrangements could only be made through the Easyjet App on a smartphone or a tablet, those of us so equipped found messages asking us if, 1, did we want a refund, 2, did we want an hotel, 3, did we want to arrange a flight back to the UK. We said yes to 2 & 3, and were given accommodation at the Carlton hotel, we were told to make our own way there, so we got a taxi. At the hotel they informed us that we would have to recheck in every morning or our keycard would lock us out, due to Easyjet paying one night at a time. We were then offered a flight to Gatwick on the 23rd, we accepted that and then booked an Avis car to get us from Gatwick to Bristol to collect our car. The next day a flight became available to Bristol on the 23rd, so we accepted that and downloaded our boarding passes for flight EZY6246 to Bristol. Once again we got an early taxi to the airport and checked in. The day was a copy of the previous cancelled flight, the plane could not land and once again we are stuck at the airport. We asked for accommodation and an alternative flight. This time most of the other people around us were either put back into the Carlton or the Casino hotel, by now we were becoming good friends with our fellow Easyjet refugees, so we discussed with each other where we were going. Our hotel was given as the Buganvilia, we caught the airport bus to the Lido area and dragged our cases to the hotel. On arrival we were shocked at the appearance of the outside of the hotel, but we hoped the room would be decent. We were very disappointed, to say that the room was tired would have been a serious understatement, the mattress was collapsing, there were large gaps between the floor boards, the window looked directly on to a building site, and there was a strange smell that we soon realised was stale vomit, someone had previously been sick in the room. We went back down to reception to ask for another room, but he told us that the hotel was full. That night we slept on the top of the bed in our clothes, first thing in the morning we gave the keys back and went to the hotel Miramar and booked in for 3 nights at our own expense.
We had a nice stay at the Miramar, but we were very anxious as to whether we would ever get off the island, the local weather forecasts still said it was windy at the airport.
We got up early on the 26th April and once again got a taxi to the airport. This time we boarded the plane and took off for Bristol, what a relief.
Looking back on the experience we think we have learnt a lot. Due to current technology you need to have a smartphone, it is the only way that Easyjet communicates with you, i had the app on an ipad, but that only worked on the airport Wi-Fi system provided by Vinci, and it dropped out every hour, meaning you had to constantly sign in again, on a phone it works without cut off, so you are in permanent contact. Easyjet send all information through the App.
Never accept the refund offered, if you do you will be left on your own to make your own arrangements at your expense.
We were promised that we would be reimbursed some of our expenses, taxis to and from the airport etc, at the moment we are nearly £300 out of pocket, we have submitted several receipts to Easyjet, they have refunded £32, so far. They now say they have lost our claim form, we have resubmitted it over a week ago and heard nothing from them.
Our car was booked into airport parking for 10 days. Our dog was in kennels for 10 days. We had to cancel medical appointments booked for the week that we should have been home, and we had to buy extra medication because we only took 2 days extra tablets.
Madeira is a beautiful island, but the wind at the airport is spoiling it as a holiday destination.
Viv & Jan