Christmas flight delay nightmare for hundreds of Edinburgh passengers
Nearly 250 stranded passengers on a long-haul flight from Edinburgh fear they will miss Christmas after being delayed nearly 40 hours.
One traveller spoke of his outrage at the group being left with no information from Qatar Airways about the flight to Doha, which should have taken off at 7:30am yesterday.
Nick Cherry said passengers had even been temporarily turfed out of their rooms at an Edinburgh hotel where they were put up last night while staff awaited authority to let them stay
He said: "This is the worst customer service I have ever seen.
"We feel totally abandoned."
Many of the 242 passengers have onward connections from the Middle East, including to Australia.
Mr Cherry, who is returning to the Gold Coast in Australia from a family funeral in Edinburgh, told The Scotsman: "We waited for three hours on the ground yesterday after the plane did not take off.
He said: "For 24 hours, we had no direct contact from the airline.
"Staff then told us they had no knowledge of how to get us out."
Mr Cherry, who is travelling with his daughters Ailsa and Lana, who are in their twenties, said:
"No compensation or assistance has been offered.
"This is just outrageous.
"There is no way we are going to be back in Australia by Christmas.
"We have no idea how we are going to get home.
"We were thrown out of our rooms at 12 noon because they had to get authority from Doha, but we have no idea whether we can unpack.
"I cannot believe how anyone can behave so badly.
"People are running out of medication and money."
Scottish firefighter Alan Duff, another passenger, posted on Facebook shortly before 9am today: "Have now been delayed for over 24 hours with no contact from Qatar staff for over 15 hours.
"We have been put up at a hotel in Edinburgh which is good.
"I fully understand that faults can happen but the lack of contact and information is sadly very disappointing.
"We have not been given any info on what to do with our connecting flights and any other travel options.
"Everybody trying to get home for Christmas or on holiday but one lady trying to get home for her son's wedding and another lady is getting married on Saturday.
"For goodness sake Qatar Airways step up and at least talk to us."
Edinburgh Airport said there had been a "technical issue" with the aircraft which Qatar was working on.
However, a spokesman denied reports it had been hit by a forklift.
He said: "Passengers who were meant to be leaving are at two hotels."
A spokesperson for Qatar Airways said shortly before 7pm: “Qatar Airways regrets the delay of flight #QR 032 from Edinburgh to Doha and apologises for any inconvenience caused.
"Passengers were provided with food and hotel accommodation, and the flight is scheduled for departure at 8pm.
"All passengers will be assisted on an individual basis to ensure smooth onward connections to their final destinations.”
However, at 8:30pm the flight had yet to take off and the airport said it was not due to leave until 9:30pm - 38 hours late.