Crystal Ski defends handling of stranded Irish at Alps airport

Compensation claims could be on horizon after skiers’ flight delayed by 36 hours

Crystal Ski has defended how it looked after Irish holidaymakers who were stranded in a small airport in the Alps for almost two days. Photograph: Jean-Pierre Clatot/ Getty Images

Crystal Ski has defended how it looked after Irish holidaymakers who were stranded in a small airport in the Alps for almost two days. Photograph: Jean-Pierre Clatot/ Getty Images

 
CrystalIrelandRay Scully

how the company looked after Irish holidaymakers who were stranded in a small airport in the Alps for almost two days.

The 147 passengers were delayed at Chambéry Airport in France after heavy snow and a technical malfunction meant their December 27th flight home was delayed by 36 hours. No nearby hotel accommodation could be found for them.

Much of the region ground to a halt and huge tailbacks developed on all routes to the French ski slopes after snowfalls of between 30 to 60 centimetres in just two days. About 15,000 people were forced into emergency overnight accommodation on the night of the 27th.

Weather chaos

This grounded it ahead of an engineer’s inspection that could not be immediately arranged due to weather problems across the region. Mr Scully denied the tour operator or Jet2, the charter airline company it uses, had prioritised British travellers as was suggested by some of the Irish group. He said Crystal Ski’s reps at the airport had done all they could.

“It was the worst possible time for something like this to happen,” he said. “Impassable roads meant we could not bus our group back up the mountains to stay in a resort and there were absolutely no hotel rooms available closer to the airport. It was far from ideal but it just wasn’t possible to arrange accommodation.”

Compensation claims

Many passengers are likely to seek redress from the operator. Such an option would not be open if the delays were due solely to snow, but as possible damage to the plane was a contributing factor the door could be opened for compensation claims. Mr Scully did not rule out such a possibility and insisted Crystal Ski would be “proactive” in dealing with the aftermath.