Judy Wright, who was travelling to the island for a holiday at a timeshare with a friend, said: ‘We thought we would come back to Madeira’
An airplane got within 300 miles from its destination of Madeira before making a U-turn back to Manchester.
Gobsmacked passengers got tantalisingly close to their holiday destination before being told they were heading back to Britain and the gloomy October weather.
And after a nightmare 12-hour roundtrip, some travellers now say they’ve been forced to cancel their holidays altogether as they no longer have time booked off.
The easyJet flight was travelling from Manchester to Madeira on Monday – and had already been delayed by two hours when no pilot was available.
It eventually set off from Manchester Airport, but when it came close to Funchal Airport in Madeira the pilot could not land due to powerful winds.
The aircraft circled the airport several times and landed in Gran Canaria in the Canary Islands instead.
Passengers sat on the airplane on the tarmac for over an hour, expecting they would have to spend a night in Gran Canaria.
But to their dismay another pilot came on board the flight and announced they would have to make the 1,880-mile return journey to Manchester, with another flight arranged to them back to Madeira the following day.
After 12 hours on board the flight passengers arrived back at Manchester Airport at around 4.30am.
According to holidaymakers there was nobody at easyJet to initially greet them and arrange alternative flights.
Eventually a staff member met travellers and said the flight had been cancelled, with no flight back to Madeira arranged for them.
Travellers were offered accommodation for a night at a hotel near the airport or a taxi back home.
The troubled flight took off from Manchester after a two hour delay, failed to land in Madeira due to high winds, was forced to divert to Gran Canaria before heading back to Manchester
Easyjet say that the weather conditions on Madeira made flying passengers back to their original destination the only viable option.
However, Judy Wright, of Goostrey, Cheshire, who was travelling to the island for a holiday at a timeshare with a friend, said: ‘We still didn’t think the flight was cancelled. We thought we would come back to Madeira.
‘We had been on the plane for 12 hours. We came through security and the baggage claim area, there was nobody from easyJet there.
‘Eventually somebody from ground staff came and said the flight was cancelled, they said the pilot should not have said there was another flight for us.’
Judy, 63, who has since paid an extra £700 for flights with Germanwings later in the week, added: ‘It was so disgraceful to make people do that 12 hour journey in a plane at night. The planes are not geared up for passengers being on it for so long.
‘They are treating their passengers really poorly a lot of people needed to get out to Madeira.’
Tony Hollings, 50, a cafe owner from Skipton, North Yorkshire, has cancelled his first holiday in three years due to the debacle.
He said: ‘When we did get back there was no ground staff there. We were then told there were no other flights back to Madeira.
‘It was just a complete shambles. It was dealt with badly, especially as misinformation was given to passengers.’
The easyJet flight was travelling from Manchester (pictured, stock photo) to Madeira on Monday – and had already been delayed by two hours when no pilot was available
A spokesman for easyJet said: ‘easyJet can confirm that EZY1957 from Manchester to Funchal on Monday 2 October 2017 diverted to Gran Canaria and then returned to Manchester, due to adverse weather conditions in Funchal, resulting in a cancellation of the flight.
‘easyJet communicated regularly with customers via its Flight Tracker page and on arrival at Manchester easyJet provided hotel accommodation for those who required it.
‘Customers on cancelled flights can change them free of charge or receive a refund and we would advise they amend their bookings on www.easyJet.com.
‘While this is outside of our control we would like to apologise for any inconvenience caused as a result of the weather conditions.
‘The safety of its passengers and crew is easyJet’s highest priority.’