A dream Mediterranean cruise turned into a horror story for two Bedford friends caught up in the British Airways cyber fiasco.
Jacquie Manners, 58, and Sheena Todd, 59, were banking on flying to Barcelona and spending a week aboard a luxury cruise ship.
Instead the pair spent two days waiting trying to fly to their boat – then ended up coming home in despair.
The problems began as soon as they arrived at Heathrow airport at 5am on Bank Holiday Sunday.
After queuing at check-in for almost two hours and handing in their baggage, they discovered the flight was cancelled.
It was one of hundreds affected by the biggest computer crash of all time to strike the airline company.
“We sought out the BA help desk, where 100 people were queuing. After nearly three hours of barely moving the police arrive and lined up against the wall. Then a BA man came out and said they were closing the desk. I think the police were there because they were expecting a riot!” said Jacquie, who runs Manners PR company in Bedford,
Cruise operator Oceania were “fantastic” and booked the pair a flight to Madrid for the following day, with a connection to catch up with their cruise ship in Ibiza.
After another 4am start on Bank Holiday Monday, they finally boarded the plane at 7.20am.
“I nodded off and woke up at 7.50am – only to find the plane hadn’t moved,” said Jacquie.
The captain announced a technical fault and delay, which meant Jacquie and Sheena would miss their Madrid connection.
“BA would not let people off the plane. We we going to Madrid to catch a flight which we had already missed,” said Jacquie.
The pair had a 24 hour mini break in Madrid – where the taxis were on strike – before finally giving up and catching a flight home.
They now plan, with the help of Oceania, to rearrange their cruise later in the year.