Furious Ryanair passengers who landed in Cologne after Dublin to Edinburgh flight was diverted during Storm Isha tell of ‘horrendous’ 28-hour journey home after being left sleeping on floor of airport

By Darren Mcconachie and Matthew Lodge and Katherine Lawton

18:25 22 Jan 2024, updated 19:16 22 Jan 2024

Furious Ryanair passengers have lamented 28 hours of hell after their flight from Dublin to Edinburgh was diverted to Cologne. 

Travellers attempting to cross the Irish Sea with the airline on Sunday night saw themselves landing in Belgium as Storm Isha battered Britain with gusts of 90mph.

Passengers have slammed their ‘horrendous’ experience and said they were ‘treated like homeless‘ people as they slept on the floor of the airport before finally arriving in the Scottish capital this afternoon. 

Other flights by the airline were also forced away from their intended destination, with some passengers forced to wrap up in foil blankets and sleep on camping beds at an airport terminal in France after being stranded without hotels.

Many planes were grounded overnight, with flights bound for Britain and Ireland forced to divert to mainland Europe instead, leaving some passengers branding the experience ‘the worst in 32 years of flying’.

Has YOUR Ryanair flight been affected? Email [email protected] 

Grainne O’Malley, from Knock in Ireland, had two flights cancelled and a third diverted to Cologne in her efforts to get to Edinburgh last night. Pictured: Ms O’Malley at Edinburgh Airport on Monday
William Sneddon on arrival at Edinburgh Airport on Monday
Stacey Sneddon on arrival at Edinburgh Airport on Monday
Dave Balaney and Anita Tennant (pictured) called the experience the ‘worst in 32 years of flying’
The Ryanair flight from Dublin to Edinburgh ended up being diverted to Cologne due to Storm Isha
Passengers had to spend the night at Tille Airport after their flight from Faro was diverted
One passenger’s flight to Birmingham was delayed several times yesterday amid the travel chaos
One passenger shared a photo of a medical assistant helping a ‘distressed’ passenger after several aborted landing attempts near Prestwick, Scotland

In Edinburgh, passengers who were meant to arrive on Sunday revealed they had been stranded in an airport in Belgium overnight.

Anita Tennant from Dublin and David Balaney from Edinburgh said: ‘We had to go to Cologne, it was awful, the worst in 32 years of flying for me.

‘We spent a couple of hours staying in the airport, we were lucky we managed to get a hotel.

READ MORE HERE:  Storm Jocelyn rumbles towards Britain: Menacing Met Office map shows how 80mph gales will rip across the country TOMORROW as ‘danger to life’ amber warnings are issued just a day after Isha chaos

‘I was surprised that we took off as it was the same in Dublin, up in the air you were grand but coming in to land was shocking.

‘It was better than last night, it was bumpy but it’s good to be back.’

Grainne O’Malley, 28, from Knock in Ireland had two flights cancelled before ending up on one that finally took off in Sunday night – only to end up in Cologne instead. 

‘It was horrendous, I travelled from north west of Ireland to Dublin to fly,’ he said.

‘Terrible things happen in three’s but I didn’t think I’d end up stranded in Germany.

‘I got nothing, we got told to go to Ryanair desk and it didn’t open until 6am. In fairness they sorted out people with children but even then they were an hour or two.

‘Imagine – 4am in Germany, we were all left sleeping on the ground of the airport, it was horrendous, nobody from customer service told us anything.

‘They could’ve said look get your own hotel instead we were treated like homeless.

‘I was only trying to get over to see friends, can’t wait to get to my friends house and have a hot water bottle and go straight to bed.’

South Africans William and Stacey Sneddon, who live in Edinburgh, were happy to get back home.

They said: ‘I don’t know why I’m smiling, we’ve been travelling for 28 hours. We’re just so happy to be home.’

The couple’s flight to Edinburgh had been delayed for seven hours before taking off, only for the pilot to abort the landing in the Scottish capital.

‘Pilot did well to try and attempt to land but aborting landing made more sense,’ they said.

‘Even though it wasn’t where we wanted to go, the attempted landing was so horrific. We were delighted to get on solid ground.

‘Everyone wanted to get home, maybe we shouldn’t have taken off.

‘I went and just got a hotel myself, there were so many people so I just went and found a hotel myself and got a sleep for three hours.

‘We were fortunate to be able to just get our own hotel as they were prioritising children and families which is fair enough.’

Other passengers slammed the airline for its lack of communication, with many claiming they were left stranded for ‘hours on end’ at airports overseas. 

Others claimed families with young children were left waiting ‘all night’ after the airline cancelled their flight and diverted them to another airport.

An angry passenger took to social media to report of pop-up beds being set up
Furious Ryanair passengers complained of being left stranded after their flights were delayed, cancelled or diverted
A busy terminal at London Heathrow as passengers face delays to the storm and bad weather today
Hundreds of travellers wait in Leeds Bradford Airport because of their flights being cancelled due to Storm Isha
Two passengers had to spend the night at Tille airport after their flight from Faro to EMA was diverted

It comes as Storm Isha’s 100mph gales and heavy downpours have barrelled down on the nation overnight, causing more travel disruption on the ground.

One frustrated customer posted photos of camping beds set up by Ryanair in a French airport terminal, alongside the caption: ‘@Ryanair this is your excuse for overnight accommodation when a flight is rerouted. Absolutely disgraceful.’ 

Another told MailOnline they were stuck on a ‘boiling hot plane’ for more than two hours after their flight from Milan to Manchester was diverted and landed at Stansted. 

‘We were kept on the plane for over two hours with no information, and no amenities,’ they said. ‘Cups of boiling water were served to anyone who asked for water, the plane was stifling, there were children and babies trapped on board a boiling hot plane.’ 

They added: ‘Families with children didn’t have car seats for taxis/buses. People were all over the floors trying to sleep, fights broke out and police were called. No offer of anything to eat or drink by staff even for families with very young children and people with health conditions.

Flight cancellations: 

Heathrow Airport : 

  • One Air to Frankfurt – 8:00
  • British Airways to Amsterdam – 8:25
  • British Airways to Copenhagen – 8:40
  • KLM to Amsterdam – 8:40
  • Air Canada to Halifax – 9:00
  • British Airways to Dallas – 10:40
  • British Airways to Milan – 11:40 
  • British Airways to Paris – 13:05
  • TAP Air Portugal to Lisbon – 13:40
  • British Airways to Aberdeen – 14:20
  • British Airways to Jersey – 14:30
  • British Airways to Geneva – 15:05
  • British Airways to Manchester – 17:30

 Gatwick Airport:

  • British Airways to London City Airport – 8:35 
  • Ryanair to Dublin – 9:00
  • British Airways to Glasgow – 10:20
  • British Airways to London City Airport – 13:10
  • British Airways to London City Airport – 13:20
  • Ryanair to Dublin – 17:35

London Stansted Airport:

  • British Airways to London – 10:30
  • British Airways to London – 12:00

Bristol Airport: 

  • KLM to Amsterdam – 9:00
  • Barcelona – 12:15

Edinburgh Airport: 

  • British Airways to London – 10:50
  • Ryanair to Dublin – 12:15

Dublin Airport:

  • Ryanair to Liverpool – 8:50
  • Ryanair to Kerry – 9:05 
  • Ryanair to Edinburgh – 10:45
  • Aer Lingus to Donegal – 11:40
  • Ryanair to Rome – 15:00
  • Ryanair to London – 15:40
  • Ryanair to Birmingham – 15:40

 Birmingham Airport:

  • KLM to Amsterdam – 9:20
  • Ryanair to Dublin – 19:25

 Manchester Airport:

  • KLM to Amsterdam – 9:06
  • British Airways to London – 19:25

 Glasgow International Airport:

  • British Airway to London – 8:40
  • British Airways to London – 12:45 

Leeds Bradford Airport:

  • Aer Lingus to Belfast – 8:50
  • Aer Lingus to Dublin – 8:55
  • Vistajet to Munich – 10:00

‘Solo travellers and females travelling alone were visibly crying and staff could not have cared less. People clearly struggling with anxiety and stress and no support given. 

‘The storm was no one’s fault but the customer service received from Ryanair was disgusting. The airport at Stansted was like scenes I have never seen, people lying on any free floor space for hours on end.’ 

Flightradar data shows how a Ryanair flight from Tenerife bound for Dublin was diverted to France, while another plane headed for Scotland was rerouted to Germany as winds struck the country.

A passenger told MailOnline they have been stuck at Dublin Airport since 9.30am yesterday. 

‘Our 11.40am flight – yesterday – was finally cancelled around 7am this morning,’ they said. ‘We have two children with their granny at home in North London.

‘We saw disabled people stranded and in distress and young families sleeping at the airport all night. The kids looked frightened and the only form of compensation we’ve got from Ryanair is €4 voucher.’ 

Another passenger told MailOnline they were dehydrated and struggling to breathe while stuck on a Ryanair flight that was meant to land in Dublin but instead diverted to Manchester.

‘The anxiety was awful, passengers were crying, wailing they were frantic!’ they said. 

‘We couldn’t breathe, we were all dehydrated, exhausted and so confused why we were being HELD in the plane and not allowed to get off.’ 

Another shared a photo of a medical assistant helping a ‘distressed’ passenger after several aborted landing attempts near Prestwick, Scotland. 

One man told how his flight has been pushed back over 18 hours so far due to Storm Isha – comparing the scenes at the airport to a ‘zoo’.

Michael Pope, 49, was left ‘stranded’ overnight in Dublin as strong winds and rain caused his flight to become severely delayed.

The software engineer, who lives in Amsterdam, booked his flight through Ryanair and has been left frustrated with the airline’s assistance.

According to Mr Pope, his flight disappeared off the board at one point. He also claimed that two flights with the same number, both going to Amsterdam, were reportedly being listed at two different times with different gates.

‘It’s like a zoo, as nobody knows what’s going on,’ Mr Pope said. 

Another passenger told MailOnline they were waiting for their flight at Birmingham for nearly 12 hours yesterday. 

‘My flight to Birmingham was delayed several times yesterday. I arrived at the airport at around 12.30 and was advised to leave around 22.15 it was chaotic,’ he said. 

‘There was a distressed breastfeeding woman whose baby was in Manchester trying to access a breast pump. I tried to support her to access medical help. She was offered a flight [..] too far away from her home destination.’

They added: ‘A flight to Birmingham actually left earlier in the evening with seats free. I tried to get on it but was turned away.’ 

Other irritated passengers took to social media to share their travel nightmares, with one writing on X: ‘@Ryanair thank you for leaving all the Tenerife South passengers stranded at Cologne airport last night. You promised hotels. You delivered nothing. And the thing is you don’t care. Stranded families with you[ng] kids. Older passengers stranded. Useless #Ryanair useless.’ 

Another added: ‘Cancelled flight from Newquay. You’ve put us… (31) on a bus to Stansted for 6hrs only to leave us stranded at the airport, there are families with very young children just waiting around all night. It’s NOT ok @Ryanair.’ 

A third wrote: ‘Stranded in Glasgow airport no @Ryanair staff to fly us home after being diverted from Dublin airport yesterday. No communication whatsoever from Ryanair.’ 

Other X users shared memes in response to the diversions, with one writing: ‘Flew from Manchester to Dublin today, only we didn’t land in Dublin, or back to Manchester. Bonjour from Paris!’

A spokesperson for Ryanair told MailOnline: ‘Due to Storm Isha, some flights to/from the UK and Ireland yesterday and today have regrettably been cancelled/delayed.

‘We are working hard to reaccommodate affected passengers and advise all passengers due to travel to/from the UK or Ireland today to check their Ryanair app for the latest updates on their flight.

‘Ryanair sincerely apologises to all passengers affected by these storm-related disruptions, which are entirely beyond our control and have impacted all airlines operating to/from the UK and Ireland yesterday.’

Passengers were left stranded 500 miles away from their intended destination after their Manchester to Dublin flight was forced to divert to Paris as the storm rolled in on Sunday. 

The flight, which was initially due to land at Dublin International Airport at around 3.30pm, was already delayed by an hour when leaving Manchester Airport on Sunday afternoon.

Many discovered their flights have been cancelled or diverted as Storm Isha batters the UK
Many Brits discovered their flights have been cancelled or diverted as Storm Isha batters the UK, with one plane heading to Dublin ending up in Paris
A plane heading to Dublin from Manchester took 11 hours and flew in a circle. It circled Dublin, then diverted to Belfast, before heading back and landing in Liverpool. Normally it is a one hour flight from Manchester to Dublin

One passenger told MailOnline they have been stuck at Dublin Airport (pictured) since 9.30am yesterday
The passenger said: ‘We saw disabled people stranded and in distress and young families sleeping at the airport all night’
Furious passengers shared their Ryanair travel nightmares on social media

However, due to ‘dangerous’ winds, the plane was forced to circle over the Irish Sea multiple times before aborting its landing and instead flying to Paris Beauvais-Tille Airport, landing shortly before 5.30pm.

Dublin International Airport had already issued a public warning about possible flight cancellations, delays and a stream of aborted landings, with numerous other flights diverting to Manchester and other airports across the country.

Two hours later, at 7.30pm, one passenger on board the Ryanair flight said those on board were still stuck on the runway in Paris.

A flight from Copenhagen to Dublin was also diverted to Manchester yesterday. 

It took off at 5:15pm last night, circled near Dublin before being diverted to Belfast and headed back to Manchester – but actually landed at the John Lennon Airport in Liverpool instead.

According to Flightradar, this took 11 hours. It is normally a one hour flight from Manchester to Dublin.

Another passenger who boarded a flight at Edinburgh yesterday for a one hour flight to Bristol said she ended up in Paris.

Kim Woodcock, 67, and the other passengers waited on the tarmac for four hours and those with a passport eventually went to hotels. 

But those who didn’t – around 50 – had to sleep in the departure lounge instead.

They were given a tuna sandwich each and a bottle of water but no hot food or drinks. 

Ms Woodcock spent the night sleeping on the floor, using her bag as a pillow.

She told MailOnline: ‘I’m exhausted, it’s been really difficult. I was hoping to be home at 5pm last night for a roast dinner!’

Hundreds of travellers wait in Leeds Bradford Airport after their flights were cancelled
Meanwhile in Bristol Airport, travellers who were forced to sleep on-site were pictured lying next to floor heating vents to stay warm
Others slept on waiting room chairs wrapped in coats and hats
Many travellers were left waiting with piles of luggage for their flights at Heathrow Airport

She said she is still currently waiting in Paris for a return flight to the UK, expected to depart this afternoon.

Despite the disruption, many found the funny side of things and very soon hundreds of memes about the odd destinations of the flights were circulating on social media. 

The 100mph gales and heavy downpours barrelled down on the nation overnight, with many flights trying to come into the country facing a shaky landing.

A flight travelling from Sharm El Sheikh to Glasgow Airport declared an emergency due to Storm Isha.

A spokesperson for Glasgow Airport said the TUI flight was ‘diverted to Manchester due to current weather conditions’.

A British Airways flight on its way from Ibiza to London City Airport was among the scores of passenger aircraft which were forced to divert as winds of up to 90mph hit the UK.

Nervous passengers erupted into applause after their diverted plane made a shaky landing during powerful winds.

A holidaymaker shared a video on X showing the bumpy ride as the plane came into land at Gatwick, before the cabin erupted into applause and cheers for the captain, with one grateful passenger heard shouting ‘Go on geezer!’

There was also applause for the captain of an Alicante to Edinburgh flight, who managed to land their Jet2 plane despite dramatic crosswinds.

Travel chaos also hit Scotland amid ‘tornado watch’ warnings and amber weather alerts, with luggage filmed being blown across the runway at Edinburgh Airport.

A number of other flights were forced to divert to other airports due to Storm Isha winds on Sunday, with a haul of other flights cancelled from UK airports, including Manchester. 

But some travellers were furious when Ryanair revealed its overnight accommodation plans for them.

Crowds gathered in Dublin airport after flights were cancelled due to Storm Isha last night, which saw flights diverted away from Ireland

Posting a photo and video on X, one customer said: ‘This is your excuse for overnight accommodation when a flight is rerouted. Absolutely disgraceful.’

A large hall with a metal roof housed rows of camping beds with yellow foil blankets for people to sleep on.

Meanwhile in Bristol Airport, travellers who were forced to sleep on-site were pictured lying next to floor heating vents to stay warm.

Others slept on waiting room chairs wrapped in coats and hats.

An Easyjet flight which took off from Edinburgh yesterday afternoon circled Bristol ‘for some time’ before the pilot was forced to change route and land in Paris instead.

Tom Shepard, 39, told BristolLive that he and the other passengers had to wait on the tarmac for three hours while staff debated whether to try and fly back to Bristol to see if the wind had lessened. 

READ MORE HERE:  Storm Isha sparks day of travel hell TODAY with trains cancelled, roads flooded, ferries disrupted and flights grounded after 100mph gusts and heavy downpours – with fears that TORNADOES could batter Britain 

He said: ‘We though the pilot was joking at first. We couldn’t believe there was no other airport in the UK that we could land at.’

Another flight which was coming from Lanzarote to Dublin was diverted, ending up in Bordeaux, France instead. 

Stranded passengers were left fuming in Cologne Airport, Germany, when four flights to Edinburgh were diverted due to the storm.

One person posted on X that they had been promised hotel rooms but were left sleeping on the floor. 

A number of Edinburgh-bound flights were forced to divert to Germany’s Cologne Bonn Airport – over 550 miles away.

A total of 10 flights bound for Glasgow Airport diverted to airports including Glasgow Prestwick, Manchester, Newcastle, Liverpool and London Stansted on Sunday. 

This morning a rare red warning came into effect for Scotland, with alerts that some areas could see wind speeds of 100mph causing a ‘danger to life’.

The Met Office is warning people not to go outside and to shelter in place as the storm brings life-threatening winds, with the potential for flying debris and roofs blown off.

Andy Giles was due to fly from Newquay, Cornwall, to Faro in Portugal on Sunday afternoon.

But Mr Giles, from Looe, Cornwall, said: ‘The flight was diverted to Stansted because of the weather.

‘We were told to jump on a bus to go to Stansted to catch the plane up.

‘Six-and-half hours later and we arrived at Stansted at 12.15am this morning and we are still waiting.

‘We’re still here. We’ve been here all night with no sleep because they said if you go to sleep and miss the email, you miss the flight and you won’t get there.

Mr Giles, who is working in Portugal, said 31 passengers chose to travel to Stansted but some people went home rather than face the long bus trip.

He said they were given food vouchers at Newquay which were not redeemable at Stansted.

Travellers were forced to spend the night sleeping on metal chairs with foil blankets in Tille
Joshua Ely, 32, and his mother Michelle Buckby, 49, spent the night in Tille Aiport

Joshua Ely, 32, and his mother Michelle Buckby, 49, had to spend the night sleeping on metal chairs with foil blankets after their Ryanair flight from Faro to East Midlands Airport (EMA) was diverted to Tille, France.

Their flight spent half-an-hour hovering over EMA before it was diverted to Tille because it was too dangerous to try to land. 

The warehouse team leader, from Leicester, told MailOnline: ‘When we got to Faro Airport we had a weather alert from Ryanair saying there was bad weather at home but we didn’t expect it to be as bad as this.

‘We were in the air for about four hours and when we got to Tille at 10pm it was a bit of a shambles. The airport didn’t have enough camp beds, so my mother and I had to sleep on metal chairs and it was freezing, so we got no sleep.

‘The airport was handing out bottles of water but my mother and I had to share one between two of us.’

Mr Ely and Ms Buckby finally landed at EMA this morning, roughly 16 hours after they left Faro. 

He said: ‘I wish they had just left us in Faro so we could spend an extra night there because now I’ve had no sleep. I’ve had to pay for an Uber home because my husband couldn’t pick us up at the airport and I’ve had to take today off work.’

The passengers were given free boarding cards for the flight, but Mr Ely claims he hasn’t received any messages from Ryanair about further compensation passengers might expect to receive.

In a statement, Ryanair said: ‘The mother and son had flown to the Algarve for a long weekend and the holiday was Mr Ely’s Christmas present to his mother.  He said: ‘Overall, the holiday was lovely just didn’t have a very nice end to it!’

Many found the funny side of things and posted memes to social media

At Leeds Bradford Airport, three departing flights have been cancelled today and some are delayed by over six hours.

Winds reached 50mph overnight in the city, but are expected to drop to 40mph later today. 

The Met Office has weather warnings in place covering the entirety of Britain heading into early Monday morning.

The most serious of these is a rare red warning for wind, which is in place in northern Scotland between 1am and 5am, as meteorologists predict gusts of 90 to 100mph.

The warning covers Thurso and Wick to the north, Fraserburgh and Peterhead to the east and goes as far west as Cromarty and Nairn.

The Met Office said there winds would bring a ‘risk of damage, disruption and a danger to life’, with flying debris, large waves and beach material being thrown onto coastal roads, sea fronts and homes.

There could be damage to buildings and homes, with roofs blown off and power lines brought down, as well as power cuts affecting other services, such as mobile phone coverage.

Amber warnings for wind cover most of the rest of Britain, aside from London and East Anglia, where a yellow warning is place.

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