Family’s 11-hour taxi trip to London after flight overbooked

Roy Ferguson at Aberdeen Airport. Picture: Hemedia
Roy Ferguson at Aberdeen Airport. Picture: Hemedia
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A FURIOUS family have blasted British Airways after they had to cram into a taxi for an 11-hour ride because their flight had been overbooked.

Roy Ferguson and his family were left “upset” when they watched other passengers board the plane while they were told check out and pick up their bags.

A map of the UK showing the route taken by the Fergusons' taxi. Picture: Hemedia

A map of the UK showing the route taken by the Fergusons' taxi. Picture: Hemedia

They were due to fly from Aberdeen International Airport to Heathrow before getting their flight to Greece from Gatwick the following morning.

But the family missed out on their first flight due to the airline’s overbooking of their plane.

And rather than staying overnight in London, the family had to take an overnight taxi journey from Aberdeen instead.

They were offered compensation and the £1,800 taxi ride.

A taxi with a bench seat for three facing forward and two fold-down seats facing backwards all the way to London from Aberdeen. We made it to Gatwick with 30 minutes to spare

Roy Ferguson

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Roy, 48, from Alford, Aberdeenshire, said: “The response from the check-in staff was that BA routinely overbook flights and we would be compensated for our missed flight.

“We again explained that this was not good enough as we had to be in Gatwick by 7am the following morning to catch our charter flight.

“The last passengers boarded the aircraft and we were told we would not be getting on the flight, and to go back upstairs to the check-in desk and our bags would be returned to us.

The Fergusons' flight from Aberdeen to Gatwick was overbooked by British Airways. Picture: Hemedia

The Fergusons' flight from Aberdeen to Gatwick was overbooked by British Airways. Picture: Hemedia

“We were very upset by this point, convinced we would not be getting our holiday after all.

“After lots of phoning around, it was established that the only way of BA getting us to London in time for our flight from Gatwick was by arranging a taxi.

“It was a bit of a shock to find the taxi was not a more comfortable one, considering the time this journey was going to take.

“A taxi with a bench seat for three facing forward and two fold-down seats facing backwards all the way to London from Aberdeen.

“We made it to Gatwick with 30 minutes to spare. Exhausted, stressed, extremely sore and stiff, very unhappy with BA, but we made it.”

A spokeswoman for BA said it was “common practice” to overbook flights on certain routes.

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She added that the flight operator was “sorry” for the “frustration and inconvenience” the family had to endure.

She said: “We are very sorry our customer and his family were unable to travel on the flight they had booked and for the frustration and inconvenience this caused them.

“It is common practice within the airline industry to overbook flights on certain routes where it is known that a number of customers with flexible tickets are unlikely to turn up for the flight.

“If all such seats were left empty it would prevent other customers from travelling on the day they wanted.

“The practice also keeps fares low for our customers.

“In this case, although we did all we could to seek volunteers to travel at a later date, no one offered to postpone their journey.

“Therefore we paid the family the appropriate denied boarding compensation and offered them seats on a flight the following day.

“As they needed to reach London for a flight with another airline the next morning, we organised transport for them to travel that evening.”