Relief as stranded Monarch passengers return from Rome to Birmingham on replacement flights

Monarch passengers arriving from Rome told how they faced fewer delays on replacement return flights than on their way to Italy with the doomed company.

Cliff Moss, from Bicester, told the Mail at Birmingham Airport arrivals that he had endured a 90 minute delay last week, but had a seamless journey back today.

The repatriated flights were operated by British Airways using Qatar Airways planes.

An estimated 110,000 Monarch Airlines customers had been stranded overseas in the wake of the company’s collapse.

Sam Booth and Emma Plant, both aged 23, arriving back from Rome

The Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) had been asked by the Government to charter more than 30 aircraft to bring the passengers back to the UK, with Transport Secretary Chris Grayling calling it the “biggest peacetime repatriation” effort.

Birmingham Airport saw the return of the Rome passengers on Monday afternoon – with some saying they had better return journeys with Qatar airlines.

“I got text at 6.30am to tell me that my flight was cancelled. But an alternative flight had been arranged with Qatar and it was fine” said 60-year-old Mr Moss.

“I had a 90 minute delay on the way out so it was a lot worse then!”

Sam Booth and Emma Plant both 23, said they were only delayed by 30 minutes flying home from Rome with Monarch.

“We woke up this morning and had a text at about 4.50am,” said Emma. It was pretty blunt.!

The text read Monarch had stopped operating and all flights had been cancelled.

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Initially worried they wouldn’t be able to get home, they turned up at the airport to find another flight had been arranged.

Emma added: “We didn’t think we would be able to get home. But we checked online and I rang my parents and they thought it would be OK.

“We turned up at the airport as planned and had a 20 or 30 minute wait and then got on a flight.”

John and Zeeta Dowsey

John and Zeeta Dowsey, also on the flight from Rome, praised staff…

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