Scots passengers stranded as pilots walk out on strike

DOZENS of travellers flying to Glasgow were left stranded in Iceland after pilots staged a strike.

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The strike by Icelandair's pilots has left many Scots passengers stranded and distressed, and flight schedules in chaos
The strike by Icelandair's pilots has left many Scots passengers stranded and distressed, and flight schedules in chaos

The Icelandair passengers were due to travel from Keflavik International Airport, near Reykjavik, yesterday morning on the 7.35am flight to Glasgow Airport.

However, a strike by the airline's pilots left passengers facing long delays - and the flight schedule in chaos.

An airline spokesman said the disruption was down to "crew shortage" and they were trying to get customers to their destinations as quickly as possible.

It is understood a total of 11 flights due to fly from the airport were cancelled.

Passengers travelling to Glasgow on the Boeing 757 200, which holds 180 people, were due to fly back today after spending a night in a hotel because of the 24 hour delay.

Some customers were last night offered a flight to London, then a connecting plane to Glasgow.

A Glasgow Airport spokesman said one flight a day travelled to the city from the Icelandic capital.

Keflavik is often used as a stop-off point for customers travelling between Europe on to America or Canada.

Rose Cooke, 73, and husband Mark, 75, from Hamilton, have been trying to fly home from Seattle after visiting their daughter since Thursday.

Mr Cooke said: "We went to book in on Thursday and they told us it was cancelled. So our daughter had to pick us up.

"It's a 200-mile journey there and back. They were going to put us on a plane to New York, Amsterdam, London and then Glasgow but it was too much.

"We couldn't believe it today when it was cancelled again. I panicked.

"My medication is in the hold. I can last about two days without it.

"They didn't give us an option to fly direct to London."

Another airline passenger, from Dennistoun, was travelling back from Seattle to Glasgow.

She left Seattle Tacoma airport at 3.50pm local time on Sunday and arrived in Reykjavik at 6.45am - Iceland time - yesterday.

The 39-year-old was told she could fly on the 7.35am this flight this morning - 24 hours later than planned.

She said: "Everyone is so tired - some people have been travelling for days.

"One lady burst into tears at the check-in desk.

"Everyone is flying for different reasons and some just need to get back home.

"I know there must be a reason for the strike but it really isn't convenient and we're struggling to get answers."

The strike is taking place because staff are fighting for better conditions.

Icelandic Airline Pilots Association (FIA) carried out the first of five planned strikes last Friday, May 9.

Another passenger from East Kilbride had been travelling since Saturday from Regina in Canada.

She said: "I got hit by the strike on the way out too. When I arrived at Keflavik they transferred me to a BA flight. I am just so desperate to get home to my family."

A spokesman from Icelandair said: "We are experiencing some flight disruptions to our schedule due to crew shortage.

"Icelandair will assist passengers with new travel arrangement by booking on other available Icelandair flights or other airlines.

"We aim to carry our passengers to their destination as close as possible to their original schedule.

"We apologise for the inconvenience and we thank our customers for their understanding."

rachel.loxton @eveningtimes.co.uk

Travel

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