A sandstorm in Gran Canaria caused several flight delays and cancellations on Saturday 22nd February 2020, leaving passengers stranded at airports. As a result, passengers on one of Britain’s major airlines TUI were flown home five days late.

Almost 200 passengers had been waiting to return home since Saturday and touched down at Manchester airport on Wednesday 26th February 2020. To add to the chaos, many passengers found themselves without their baggage after it hadn’t been loaded onto the aircraft when they left.

Although the initial flight delays were a result of the Canary Island sandstorm, passengers with tickets to Cardiff and Manchester had no choice but to wait at the airport throughout Monday night after another flight was cancelled because of a technical issue. Travellers were also left without checked luggage after it had been taken on Saturday 22nd February 2020.

Passengers were initially refused compensation for the weather delay after it was considered an extraordinary circumstance, however, the airline made the decision to pay holidaymakers for the operational problems that followed. TUI has said travellers would be sent a check for the equivalent of €400.

Meanwhile, passengers on a Jet2 plane had their flight home from Tenerife to East Midlands cancelled on Sunday 23rd February 2020. Holidaymakers stranded in mainland Spain were scheduled to fly out on Wednesday 26th February 2020. According to The Independent, passenger Sarah Willington tweeted:

“LS4304 from Tenerife to East Midlands on Sun 23rd Feb. It’s now Weds 26th Feb and we have been flown to Malaga with no baggage and told we have a flight at 10pm tonight.”

Passengers who have experienced delays and cancellation should contact their airline regarding refunds and compensation. In the event of an extraordinary circumstance, airlines have a duty of care towards passengers and should offer food, refreshments and accommodation where necessary.

If the delay or cancellation was a direct fault of the airline, passengers will be entitled to a refund on unused parts of the ticket, rebooking or re-routing on an alternative flight. If the delay is longer than 3-hours, passengers can claim compensation from the airline.