07/18/2009 09:53 PM | By Mahmood Saberi, Senior Reporter
Dubai: A last-minute cancellation of a flydubai flight to Beirut on Saturday stranded more than 100 passengers who had travelled to Dubai from other emirates to take the flight.
The 10.30am flight of the low-cost carrier was delayed because of "technical reasons", passengers said, quoting airline staff.
"Flydubai would like to apologise to our passengers for the cancellation of our service to Beirut this morning due to technical reasons. We understand that this was very frustrating for our passengers and we regret the inconvenience caused," a statement from the airline said.
It added that passengers were given the option to rebook on another flydubai flight or to cancel their booking for a full refund.
"As a gesture of goodwill we have offered all passengers a free return ticket to anywhere on our network. Vouchers will be sent to passengers in the next few days," it said.
Mohammad Ali, an Abu Dhabi resident, said he planned to take the flight because the fare was cheap. "I had bought a case of hammour which cost Dh250, and now I have to just throw it away," he said, speaking by phone from Terminal 2. The airline staff told him the flight would take off at midnight.
Passengers were furious as the airline did not inform them about the delay and were told only when they arrived at the airport. Many of the passeners were from Al Ain, Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah.
"I had left Abu Dhabi at 6am," Ali said.
Hilly, another passenger, was very upset over the delay. Her husband, Salman A. said the airline promised a refund, or a ticket which is valid for a full year. "But there is nothing about booking us on another flight," he said.
"Many people have bought perishable stuff and it will all have to be thrown away," he said. The passenger said he tried to get on other airlines but failed. "This is holiday time," said Salman, adding that his wife and two children will miss a bus to Istanbul, Turkey.
The ticket to Beirut cost Dh1,420, said one passenger, compared to Dh2,500 on other airlines.
Another passenger said the Dubai Airport police were being nice and helpful. Apparently, there were some altercations between the passengers and the airline staff.
Have you travelled by flydubai in the past? Were you affected by the recent delay in flight? When travelling, what is your major concern? Do you focus on the price of the ticket or schedule of flights when purchasing an airline ticket?