DOZENS of passengers were forced to sleep on the lawn outside Southend Airport after their flight was cancelled at the last minute.

EasyJet passengers hoping to get to Amsterdam were left stranded after an aircraft fuelling failure.

Denise Richardson, 54, had flown in to the UK from her home in Ontario, Canada, with her husband Nick, 39, and two sons aged 17 and 28 for a family reunion in Holland and told how passengers only found out about the cancellation minutes before boarding.

She said EasyJet staff had attempted to secure hotels for the passengers and another flight out, two days later, but many were left with nowhere to go.

She said: “When I mentioned taking another flight out, the girl at the counter said they would not pay for a hotel room if we didn’t fly out with EasyJet. We ended up on the lawn with about 40 others who had no hotel for the night.

“Although the temperature outside was not cold, it was damp and lumpy and trying to sit on it overnight was difficult for the young, never mind those of us with aches and pains. I emptied out my teenage son’s backpack to layer some of his clothes over mine.”

Ms Richardson said the ordeal cost her an extra $1,800, but EasyJet has refused to pay compensation.

She added: “What has me so angry was the general lack of any kind of customer care or service from EasyJet. By the time we arrived at our hotel the next day, we had been awake for 27 hours.”

Thurrock Gazette:

Denise and her family managed to make it to the Netherlands

An EasyJet spokesman apologised. He said: “All passengers due to travel on the flight were given the option of transferring their flight free of charge or obtaining a refund. We offered the group hotel accommodation and a transfer and an alternative flight to Amsterdam from another London Airport which they elected to have although they didn’t show up for the flight and opted to make alternative arrangements instead.

“Although no refund of their flights is due, we have offered the group a gesture of goodwill in light of the circumstances.

“We did everything possible to minimise the disruption for passengers and provided hotels, meals and refreshments. Passengers were advised if they wanted to make their own accommodation arrangements they would be reimbursed for this and any other reasonable expenses.

“Whilst this was outside of our control, we would like to apologise to passengers for any inconvenience experienced.”