Jo and Danny Oultram were meant to fly out to the Greek island of Zakynthos to be joined by 25 of their closest friends and family to help them celebrate their wedding, but their dreams were shattered because of the UK air traffic control failure across the August bank holiday weekend.
First married on August 16, 2003, in Liverpool, the couple were planning to renew their wedding vows again, 20 years later, in a romantic destination.
As they queued to board their Jet2 flight, LS977 at Manchester Airport on August 28 at 3.05pm, they received a dreaded message from the holiday provider: “Your holiday is cancelled”.
Ms Oultram said: “I was completely numb, too numb to cry until I got home.”
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She told the Manchester Evening News, she is unable to look at her wedding dress and flowers as they still sit in her suitcase, unpacked.
Some of the guests flew out earlier, meaning they were already in Alykanas village where the ceremony was due to take place.
She said: “We have spent four years saving and planning everything down to the tiniest detail and it was crushed by one email. There was no communication from Jet2 throughout the day, we had family and friends already there waiting for us who flew out on the Sunday and Monday morning.”
The couple, Joanne, 52, and Danny, 41, who have recently taken over the George and Dragon pub in Cheadle, spent £3,000 on the holiday and £2,000 on the outfits and decorations.
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Ms Oultram was also concerned about unwell family members who may not be able to attend upcoming functions.
She said: “We are beyond devastated, it’s not even possible to move the holiday as our cousin Ruth, who is 36, has ovarian cancer and is due to start a trial treatment on September 13, so she was really looking forward to this holiday before her treatment started.”
The final “kick in the teeth” for Joanne was when she received a text message from Jet2 a couple of days after returning home. It said: “Hope you’re having a lovely holiday.”
Joanne said: “At that point I thought ‘great, cut me open and pour salt and vinegar on’.”
In a statement, Jet2 said: “We understand Ms Oultram’s holiday was unfortunately cancelled as a result of the significant disruption caused by the technical fault that affected the UK’s National Air Traffic Services this week.
“Although events such as this are completely outside of our control, our total focus is on looking after our customers, with our teams working around-the-clock to provide this. We have been contacting all affected customers to let them know personally, and they will of course receive a full refund.”
The statement continued: “In addition, we have added many extra flights on top of our scheduled programme, in order to bring customers home who were disrupted earlier in the week and will continue to support our customers spread across many airports in Europe.”
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