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Teenager who just got passport in time arrives at Bristol airport to find Ryanair flight to Spain cancelled due to strikes

By Gloucestershire Echo  |  Posted: June 26, 2014

Divyen Joshi

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A teenager from Cheltenham is devastated after his first holiday abroad with friends was cancelled because of strikes in France.

Divyen Joshi, 17, was looking forward to travelling to Salou in Spain with three friends - but when they arrived at Bristol Airport on Tuesday they were told their flight had been cancelled.

This was because the Ryanair plane was due to fly over France, where air traffic controllers had just begun a six-day strike.

For Divyen, from Swindon Village, the cancellation was even more of a blow because he had fought so hard to get his passport in time after falling foul of the delays at the UK Passport Office.

Despite sending off his renewal documents in good time, the former Gloucestershire College student was told he wouldn’t get his passport before he was due to travel.

It took a fortnight of repeated complaints and paying a premium fee in order to finally get his passport in time.

Divyen said: “The relief of being fortunate enough to be sent my passport in the current crisis was such a great feeling.

“I had set myself up for disappointment and was thrilled it had worked out.

“So you can imagine the shattering feeling when we reached Bristol Airport to be told our plane wasn’t flying as it had to take a route through France.

“There were a few other flight cancellations and people were devastated to get here and be told they’re not going abroad, right before take-off.”

Divyen’s flight was among hundreds of services to and from the UK which were cancelled because of the strike, with others delayed by up to six hours.

His sister Amita Joshi had contributed to the holiday as an early 18th birthday present.

The 23-year-old said: “When they arrived at the airport, the only alternative they were offered was to fly out at a later date, missing most of their hotel dates and paying at least another £100 on top.

“There was no mention of how to get their money back for the hotel or the flight and it was only after Ryanair members of staff were pushed that they said they would be offering full refunds.”

Ryanair has confirmed it will refund passengers on the 26 flights cancelled on Tuesday.

Those travelling over the next week have been asked to check the airline’s website regularly for updates.

Spain’s Hotel Portaventura, where Divyen was due to stay, has offered to return 75 per cent of the fee he paid, but the rest will have to be claimed on travel insurance.

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