This is the moment a mother-of-three is told she and her family will finally return home in time for the start of school after days of air traffic hell.
Amber O’Connor took her family for a 10-night all inclusive holiday to Antalya, Turkey, on Friday, August 18.
They were due to fly back to the UK on Monday, August 28, but saw their flight cancelled due to the air traffic glitch, believed to be caused by a single rogue flight plan.
The family have been stranded in Antalya ever since and were initially told they could not return home for more than a week, with the next available service being on Saturday, September 9.
However, Ms O’Connor was told live on air by ITV’s Good Morning Britain that she had in fact been booked on a flight for this Saturday, September 2, meaning her children will be back in time for school next week.
Amber O’Connor took her family for a 10-night all inclusive holiday to Antalya, Turkey, on Friday, August 18
They were due to fly back to the UK on Monday, August 28, but saw their flight cancelled due to the air traffic glitch, believed to be caused by a single rogue flight plan
The family have been stranded in Antalya ever since and were initially told they could not return home for more than a week, with the next available service being on Saturday, September 9
She told the programme: ‘We were left at Antalya airport and were told EasyJet had no duty of care until two hours after.
‘We waited around and there was still no EasyJet rep at the airport, we were just told by ground staff, you’ve got to sort your own accommodation and your own flights, keep your receipts and EasyJet will reimburse you.
‘I’ve got three small children so the only option was to leave the airport and get them a bed for the night.
‘Me and my partner can’t work so we’re not going to get paid. My eldest son starts secondary school on Tuesday, that’s not going to happen. My daughter plays for a football academy so she’s missing her training sessions and her first big game – it’s not ideal at all.’
Ms O’Connor is then told by GMB presenters Robert Rinder and Charlotte Hawkins that the airline have in fact booked them on a flight in two days’ time.
She responded by saying: ‘I’m so happy – my son can start secondary school.
‘That was the main issue for the children, to be home, to be settled – I’ve got a two year old as well – to get them home, back to school, back to routine.’
It comes as Britain’s Air Traffic Control body and its boss came under pressure last night to pay for the flight cancellation chaos that is set to cost £100 million.
Tens of thousands of British families remain stranded across the globe as a result of the ‘staggering’ systems failure on Bank Holiday Monday.
Airlines are demanding a change in the rules – made possible by Brexit – to make the National Air Traffic Services (NATS) pay for the disruption that is its fault.
And there is pressure to strip its chief executive, Martin Rolfe, of windfall bonuses as a result of its role in the crisis.
His total pay and bonuses doubled to £1.3m in the financial year ending March 2023, while he also holds shares worth more than £2.4m.
Holidaymakers are still having to sleep in airports, three days on from the NATS glitch
There were huge queues at Manchester Airport this morning as the air traffic chaos continues
Passengers rest on the seats at Manchester Airport as they face long waits for their flights
NATS allows executives to work from home on some days under an ‘agile working’ regime, however it refused to say if Mr Rolfe takes advantage of this.
The NATS chief blamed the meltdown on the fact computer systems could not cope with a single piece of faulty incoming data – rumoured to be a flight plan inputted by a French airline.
A leading industry figure has cast doubt on the explanation, saying ‘it doesn’t stand up’.
Willie Walsh, who is a former boss of British Airways and now runs the airline industry body IATA, said: ‘I find it staggering, I really do.
‘This system should be designed to reject data that’s incorrect, not to collapse the system.
‘If that is true, it demonstrates a considerable weakness that must have been there for some time and I’m amazed if that is the cause of this.’
Mr Walsh said it is necessary to wait for full evaluation, but he said: ‘That explanation doesn’t stand up from what I know of the system.’
The crisis has triggered calls for NATS to be fined and for the introduction of a new compensation regime to make it responsible for covering the cost of its failures.
Mr Walsh said it is wrong that the estimated £100m bill for cleaning up the mess, which includes refunds, laying on emergency flights and covering the expenses of marooned travellers, will fall on airlines.
‘This was completely outside the control of the airlines and yet airlines are subject to paying customers for delays, for cancellations, for looking after them, which is very considerable,’ he said.
‘It’s very unfair because the air traffic control system that was at the heart of this failure doesn’t pay a single penny.
‘This is what really frustrates and angers airlines.’